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Understanding the characteristics of the type A personality

Talent Assessment | 6 Min Read

Understanding the characteristics of the type A personality


Personality traits are attributes that define an individual, their behavior, thought patterns, and emotional intelligence. One of the most common types of personality found in the workplace is type A. Having a basic understanding of the type A personality is critical to understanding the behavior of these professionals. It helps manage these individuals effectively and fully utilize their skills


What is the type A personality?

Individuals with type A personalities are generally driven, hard-working, and determined to succeed. Other type A personality characteristics include decisiveness, forcefulness with their ideas, strong work ethic, and competitiveness. People with type A personalities prefer having control over every aspect of their lives, and though they are competitive, they are always happy to delegate tasks to others.


Common characteristics of the type A personality

  • Take charge
  • Highly competitive
  • Fast-paced
  • Impatient
  • Goal-oriented
  • Adaptable to change
  • Ambitious
  • Stubborn
  • Dominant
  • Multitasker
  • Practical


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What it means to have a type A personality

Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses, and the type A personality is generally independent and ambitious, and when committed to a cause, there’s no one more passionate than them. Individuals with a type A personality are also adept at multitasking, project management, and taking charge. These individuals can be a force of motivation and inspiration. While some may find these individuals driven and reliable, others may label them impatient and overly competitive.


Identifiers of the domineering type A personality

  • Impatient
  • Highly competitive
  • Achievement-oriented
  • Domineering traits
  • Organized
  • Multitasker


Type A personality traits: Pros and cons

Benefits of having a type A personality

  • Multitasking: Type A personalities are highly goal-oriented, which often leads to them taking on a variety of responsibilities at the same time. Multiple tasks and deadlines don’t overwhelm these individuals.
  • Achievers: The ambitious and driven nature of the type A personality creates a drive for success, and if used correctly, these traits can help them achieve great things in almost all aspects of their lives.
  • Proactive: The type A personality is always conscious of approaching deadlines. One of the few areas where they can pay attention to detail is when it comes to meeting deadlines. These traits make procrastination highly unlikely for type A personalities.
  • Leadership: Several people with the type A personality are known to be assertive and bold, which helps strengthen their decision-making skills. These traits also mean they are not afraid to take a stand or step up to leadership positions.
  • Work well under pressure: Type A personalities can handle stress well and make and execute decisions quickly and confidently. This means that they can function well even in high-pressure situations.


Drawbacks of having a type A personality

  • Professional dissatisfaction: Several type A personalities prioritize their career and professional growth. This trait can help these individuals move towards their goals, but in several cases, it can also lead to dissatisfaction with their job when they are unable to reach them.
  • Burnout: It is very easy for someone with the characteristics of the type A personality to become a workaholic and be very hard on themselves if they don’t reach their goals. Such situations can quickly turn into job-related stress and even burnout.
  • Stress: Type A personality is often linked to higher rates of tension, anxiety, and stress. Additionally, people who showcase these traits frequently lack the emotional skills to cope with the pressure.
  • Aggressiveness when working in teams: The assertiveness of the type A personality and confidence in their own decisions can also come off as aggressive or domineering, especially when working in teams.


How type A personalities can impact behavior in the workplace

A, B, C, or D – all personality types impact workplace behavior, but when it comes to type A personality behavior, understanding the characteristics and traits of this personality type can help channel any misguided energy.

Type A personalities create a sense of urgency around themselves, which may only sometimes be comfortable in teams. Type A personalities also quickly become hostile at the slightest hint of confrontation. However, if managed properly, type A personalities can help teams meet deadlines and deliver optimum results. It is crucial to understand how this personality type can affect everything around it in order to manage it.


Type A personality behavior patterns

  • Competitiveness: Type-A personalities are critical of themselves and can be highly competitive. Their goal-oriented nature drives them towards achievements that may not bring them any sense of accomplishment. In correlation, type A personalities are also characterized by too much involvement in their work and a tendency to overreact.
  • Impatience: Type A personalities are also under constant urgency, struggling against the clock. This leads to quick impatience with unproductivity and delays. Their urgency could also lead to unsuccessful multitasking.


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How to fully utilize the skills of candidates and employees with type A personality

Recognize the triggers

Understanding the main traits of the type A personality can help identify their triggers. For example, people with a type A personality are organized, competitive, and focused on deadlines and time management. So, putting type A personalities in the same team with highly disorganized people should be avoided as it could lead to conflicts.


Manage breaks

To ensure that type A personality individuals are performing their best, it is important to help them manage their stress. Ensuring that they go out for regular breaks or creating a space for them to relax away from their screens are simple ways to make sure they take breaks.


Maintain a healthy competition

Competitiveness should be encouraged in the workplace, and tasks can be goal-oriented, but it is essential to ensure that competition does not become unhealthy. Tailoring the goals to individuals and their pace and not penalizing teams if they fail to meet their goals are some ways that can help take the stress out of competition.


How Mercer | Mettl assessments measure workplace personality

Mercer | Mettl offers a comprehensive range of tests and evaluations considering core personality aspects when evaluating individuals. The content of personality tests offered by Mercer | Mettl assesses dark personality traits, positive traits, values, preferences, motivations, cognitive abilities, behavioral traits, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, and much more.



Type A personality traits can be a benefit and a drawback, based on how they are managed. With the proper personality assessment, it becomes easier to recognize and analyze type A personality traits in individuals, which can go a long way in getting the best out of type A personalities and avoiding workplace conflict.



1. What is the behavior pattern of type A personality?

2. How can the behavior attitudes of type A personality affect relationships in the workplace?

Originally published March 8 2024, Updated March 8 2024

Written by

Harsh Vardhan Sharma, with 6 years of content writing expertise across diverse B2B and B2C verticals, excels in crafting impactful content for broad audiences. Beyond work, he finds joy in reading, traveling, and watching movies.

About This Topic

Personality assessments are a method of identifying candidates whose characteristics match the role and organization’s requirements. Personality assessments help HRs make effective people decisions by placing people in positions suited to their disposition.

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