Managing Someone with High Structure/Routine

by | Sep 28, 2022 | Prescreening | 0 comments

By Mara Miller

When it comes to your team’s success, your role as their manager is vital. Business goals, priorities, training, communication, and understanding of each individual’s different personalities all play a part in creating a solid team. To make that happen, you need to identify and understand the personality traits that make each person tick to help you lead them more effectively.

High Structure/Routine Personality Traits

Positive Traits / Strengths:

An individual with high Structure/Routine is described as a “creature of habit.” They are predictable and reliable. You can count on them to provide the same level of work performed each time due to their repeated work patterns. They will look for easier ways to complete tasks because they want to get back to what they want to do: help others. They are people-oriented and build relationships with those that have made an effort to get to know them, such as family, co-workers, and friends. They help their team and clients alike by being empathic and lending an understanding ear. They strive for a harmonious and steady environment with little to no conflict. They are the ones to look for the easiest way to complete tasks.

Growth Areas / Areas that Need Support:

Due to their predictability, they tend to resist change and need time to adjust. Without the adjustment period, you may experience resistance. They may procrastinate on implementing the changes and insist that the “old way” was better. This procrastination will throw off production unless handled appropriately from the beginning.
They will need help in establishing priorities, goals, and deadlines. Sensitivity to feedback can be interpreted as harsh criticism. They base self-worth on their ability to please others. They struggle with saying “no” and do what they can to avoid what they perceive to be conflict or confrontation. You may hear “sorry” frequently when apologizing is not needed.

They may need more handholding or guidance than what you may be used to in the past. Seek constant reassurance about work performance.

Motivated By:

Glory and money do not motivate them. They would prefer to stay out of the spotlight. Security and sincere appreciation are the driving factors. They want sincerity from management. Not “lip service” or a “compliment sandwich.” They will know the difference. They want to know that management keeps promises. They thrive in a role where they can be part of a supportive team.


They like to take their time in work and decision-making. They do not thrive in environments of constant deadlines or goals, competition, decision-making for other people without input, being the center of attention, and confrontation. In times of stress, they tend to “shut down.” Even though their emotions are in turmoil, they take on an attitude of indifference or aloofness. Do not take this “indifference” as they do not care. They care a lot. Maybe too much.

Ideal Environment:

A team environment is where they thrive the most. Everyone works together. They receive recognition from the team and management for loyalty, dependability, and a sincere appreciation for acts of kindness and security in both situations and environments.

Tasks can be started and completed one at a time. Helpful processes and follow-up support assist in providing a safety net for them to keep them stress-free and out of the dark. In addition, one specialized area to focus on for someone who thrives on routine.


Whether you are emailing, texting, messaging, or speaking to them in person, you must come across as calm. Don’t be pushy or demanding. Try to be personable and build rapport. The sooner they feel comfortable with you, the sooner they will open up to you. Show a genuine interest and appreciation for them as loyal employees.
Encourage them to voice their concerns and opinions. They will typically stay quiet to keep the peace instead of being what they feel is “confrontational.” Allow them time to prepare what they will say to get their point across effectively. They may need help getting started with new projects. Allow them time to ask questions. Provide them with specifics and clarifications for tasks.

When giving feedback, do so privately by thoughtfully explaining feedback with empathy, patience, and understanding. If instituting change in the workplace, be patient with them, explain your reasoning, and give them time to adjust.

Benefits to a Team:

Your team can benefit from someone with high structure/routine. Their motto is “do things in a caring way.” They support the team and its goals. They ensure everyone on the team feels like they belong. They are the peacemaker when conflict arises. When working on a team project, they focus on the plan once established. They consider the elements of the total project, while others may be looking at the big picture.


They fear instability in their life and disappointing others. They ask for constant reassurance and guidance for fear of not doing their job correctly.

Management Tips:

Below are some management tips to consider when managing someone with a high structure/routine.
Patience is essential. Consider the approach taken in discussions. Don’t be pushy or aggressive in tone or body language.

  • They need a stable work environment. Take time to explain upcoming changes. Answer questions and allow time to adjust.
  • Needs constant reassurance they performed work responsibilities correctly. Provide clear instructions, expectations, and realistic deadlines.
  • Provide performance reviews with constructive feedback. Due to sensitivity to criticism, give feedback privately and explain it with empathy, patience, and understanding.
  • They are people-pleasers and may try to take on too much to make everyone happy. Meet weekly to review tasks and additional responsibilities, projects, etc. assigned. Help on priorities and delegate responsibilities when needed. Review whether they are using their time effectively and wisely.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Encourage thoughts and opinions, but allow time before speaking.
  • Has trouble detaching and being productive in emotionally charged situations. Provide training on handling difficult conversations with customers/team members.

Combination of Personality Traits

Individuals have a combination of personality traits. Below are examples of how high structure/routine can be affected when combined with other personality traits.

High motivation/drive: keep a more rapid pace while being routine-oriented.

High persuasiveness/convincing: tend to be more optimistic and impulsive and believe more in their ability to influence others.

High thorough/compliant: ability to organize themselves, fact-check, and make long-term plans. Then they are capable of following through on them.

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