Think your AI skills aren’t sharp enough to climb up the corporate ladder? Worried you might be too much of an ideas person? Or do you feel like you just spend too much time lingering around colleagues’ desks and not enough in front of a spreadsheet?
Never fear. You might have accidentally built yourself the perfect resume to enter the C-Suite one day.
A quiz developed by Slack and polling company YouGov identified five workplace personalities, which encapsulate the typical post-COVID worker. But those who become bosses in the future might look a lot different to those who have come before them.
Detectives, who apparently make up a third of the Western workforce, describe themselves as organized, independent, and outcomes-oriented.
Driven by a sense of purpose at work and job security, they’re more likely to sprout up in the Western hustle culture. They make up around a third of the U.K. and U.S. workforce and skew older.
“Because they love data, they can be a little bit intimidating,” said Dr Lynda Shaw, a business psychologist involved in the study.
If you’re a networker, you’re the life of the office. You thrive off face-to-face communication and lean on those intangible skills for progression in the workplace. Networkers get most of their motivation from building relationships with colleagues and are more likely to hate working from home.
They’re also empathetic. Shaw describes networkers as having an ability to “collect data” based on how a colleague is feeling, and have the emotional intelligence to address it.
“They are very natural at collecting both professional and personal data,” says Shaw.
Together, detectives and networkers make up nearly two-thirds of the Western workforce, based on the findings. They’re a much smaller cohort in Asian markets.
The road warrior
A new breed of worker that has cropped up since the COVID-19 pandemic is the road warrior. These are the folks who came into their own during lockdowns, when communication came through messaging, phone calls, and video chats, and problems often needed to be solved independently.
They’re also most likely to be unhappy with hastening return-to-office mandates sweeping the workforce. And because of their independence, Shaw says, they can be quite “feisty.”
And if you listen to New York University business professor Suzy Welch, these workers are probably the least likely to rise to the top of the boardroom.
“The young people who choose to have that life—that go into work maybe one or two days a week or never, and work entirely remotely—they may have a version of success that is not our version of success,” Welch told Insider.
The problem solver
The problem solver is easier understood as that person in the office who has already found a use for ChatGPT and is using co-pilots to help them do their job.
They’re the early adopters of all sorts of technology in the office. Like the “Detective,” the problem solver is data-driven but also finds hacks and workarounds to make their jobs easier.
“I expect to see the problem solver be an integral part of an organization because they’re going to be the people that adopt artificial intelligence much faster and find ways to make their jobs much easier,” Chris Mills, Slack’s head of customer success, told Fortune.
There’s a deficiency of problem solvers across the West, compared with Asian workplaces. That might not be a surprise with surveys showing workers aren’t being taught vital AI skills by their bosses.
Expressionists’ behavior is more in line with networkers, as they show a desire to communicate with colleagues and don’t appear to be as concerned with job security. The main difference is how they communicate, with a preference for informal messaging. That can come in many forms, like emojis, gifs, and memes, or just jokes.
Unsurprisingly, young workers are most likely to regard themselves as expressionists, but there aren’t many. Less than 10% of workers across the U.S. and Europe identified themselves as having traits in line with an expressionist.
The informal nature of expressionists can rub older colleagues up the wrong way. Alex Mahon, the CEO of the British TV station Channel 4, said Gen Zers didn’t have the skills to debate since the pandemic.
“They haven’t got the skills to discuss things, they haven’t got the skills to disagree,” said Mahon.
A new type of CEO
Workers are always nervous about how their communication style may impact their chances of a promotion. According to Shaw, those that are able to do it well might become your boss in a few year’s time.
“I know CEOs and business founders who are accountants and lawyers by training. I also know some who are very people-orientated and totally focussed on gathering intelligence from their employees or customers and clients,” Shaw told Fortune.
“In the future, I believe leaders will increasingly be those that demonstrate empathy and a better understanding of people, which bodes well for the expressionist and networker personalities.”
Shaw isn’t alone in her prediction that more sociable workers may have an easier time making it into the C-suite. Whether it’s because of the proliferation of automation or a declining number of people able to do so, demand for bosses who can communicate is on the rise.
The need for bosses to have social skills has risen by nearly 30% since 2000, according to an analysis of 5,000 CEO job descriptions published in the Harvard Business Review last year. Jobs asking for experience managing financial and material resources, meanwhile, have plummeted nearly 40%.
Even AI is increasingly becoming the domain of the creative, communicative worker. Prompt engineers, for example, can make huge salaries coming from diverse backgrounds to instruct large language models on how to pump out the correct information.
When Genefa Murphy was hired as chief marketing officer at the online learning platform Udemy in June, a big emphasis was put on how she would translate the company’s goals to her employees.
She thinks social skills are quickly becoming just as important as technical ones as AI takes over the more arduous side of many peoples’ jobs.
“I think it will always be a balance, but we do see that those types of skills are surging, for sure,” Murphy told Fortune.