Managing Someone with Low Thorough/Compliant

by | Feb 1, 2023 | Hiring Tips, 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.

The Thorough/Compliant row of the assessment measures how a person responds to rules set by others. Individuals unfamiliar with this personality trait may believe if an assessment result has lower numbers in this area it indicates this person is too big of a risk for their office. The risk comes because of the belief that low Thorough/Compliant means the person will not comply with laws. However, the results do not indicate a person’s honesty, work ethic, or compliance with the law.

So what does a low thorough and compliant trait mean? It is often associated with creativity and an independent mindset. As their manager, you must be comfortable managing an individual who will question you and the status quo but will also bring new ideas when challenged to do so. You will guide them to enhance their strengths and assist in the areas that need more support.

Low Thorough and Compliant Personality Traits:

Positive Traits / Strengths

Individuals with low Thorough/Compliant have a carefree attitude at work and at home. This easy-going approach to life allows them to adjust to any situation. They are creative, innovative, and out-of-the-box thinkers. They are prepared to take risks if it means they will find the best results. They are open-minded, strong-willed, and upfront with their thoughts and opinions. They expect the same from others, even when it comes to the occasional constructive criticism.

Growth Areas / Areas that Need Support

They may view rules only as guidelines to bend or break when necessary to obtain results. Working in overly-structured environments makes them uncomfortable. They are disorganized and distracted and prefer to avoid or delegate repetitive and detailed tasks to others. They are not overly concerned about details. They can come across to others as stubborn and defiant and can resent rules and restrictions.

Motivated By

Freedom from constraints in work and life motivates individuals with low Thorough/Compliant. They like to challenge the way things are in favor of something new and improved. They want to be a part of the process where they speak freely and assist in removing complex systems and processes to be replaced by more simplified ones. Independence is important to them whether working on job role-related tasks or working within a team.


They do not thrive in an environment of guidelines, facts, and details. They need to have the choice to express their opinions without having to prove the “why’s” behind them. Or they know a process is not working, but it falls on deaf ears because they don’t have “proof,” numbers, etc. They struggle in rigid work environments. The constant stress will cause the individual to become unengaged at work or eventually quit altogether.

Ideal Environment

Independence and flexibility are key when dealing with an individual with low Thorough/Compliant. They work best under managers who trust them to “do their thing” when assigned tasks or with work. They excel in an environment where they approach problems with new innovative solutions, delegate tasks to others where their energy won’t be wasted, and are measured on the results rather than the process they took to get to the finish line. They like finding the best possible solution with the preferred means, no matter how experimental or random it is.


All communication should be short, direct, and candid. Staying on topic, especially when it is business, works best. Stick with the “big picture.” Provide only a few facts and details, unless it is necessary to provide more. Meetings should focus on the overall results, not the specifics. Allow them the opportunity to speak about what is on their mind. Ask them questions to understand where they are coming from and to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

Benefits to a Team

The team benefits because they are capable of adapting to different types of situations. They solve problems with creative and innovative ideas. They embrace the chance to experiment on finding the best possible solutions and are willing to take ownership of the results and take responsibility.


They fear unchanging environments. Everything remains the same. They cannot speak their mind, or challenge rules or processes. They are uneasy having someone standing over their shoulder and micromanaging them. It causes anxiety to believe they are not trusted to do their job.

Management Tips

Below are some management tips to consider when managing someone with a low Thorough/Compliant:

  • At times, their line of thinking can be hard to follow and can cause miscommunication and wasted time. Consider having brief meetings to get updates and ask questions. Do not grill them. Discuss what you need to be clarified. Short, sweet, and to the point.
  • They bring new perspectives if encouraged and challenged to do so. However, they may appear reckless and inconsiderate to others when discussing their ideas. Be sure to get feedback from others and keep the conversation in check if needed.
  • They can handle constructive feedback as long as it is provided occasionally. However, regular performance reviews and evaluations may be viewed as harsh criticism that they may take personally. They may view this as micromanagement or that you do not trust them to do the job. Consider brief check-ins to evaluate progress and results.
  • They like finding new and innovative ways of doing things. Such as making a process simpler. However, they may not always have the facts and figures to back their claims. Consider having small progress meetings with them along the way. Encourage them to give you information to support their findings. This will come in handy, especially if you have to convince someone in the office who has a high Structure/Routine.
  • They need some help with time management and attention to detail. Due to wanting flexibility, they prefer to delegate tasks to others that require attention to detail or deadlines. Consider providing resources that offer flexibility but allow them to quickly and efficiently complete tasks without putting it off on others.

Combination of Personality Traits

Each of us has a combination of personality traits. Below are examples of how low Thorough/Compliant individuals can be affected when combined with other personality traits.

High Motivation/Drive independent, competitive, want choices and not to be told what to do. Feels frustrated by rules and regulations and prefers to follow their ideas and often works alone or in positions of isolated authority.

High Persuasiveness/Convincing Self-confident, persuasive, competitive. Typically does not experience self-doubt. Feels at ease in almost any social situation. Mix easily with strangers. They can become over-confident, leading them to act impulsively. (Note: self-confidence is not the same as aggressiveness)

High Structured/Routine Stubborn, single-minded. If they care about something, they will often dig their heels in.

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