10 workplace behaviors typical of a Type A personality

Walk into any office, and you’ll meet a variety of personalities. 

There’s the chill and friendly guy who’s always up for some jokes. There’s the introvert with their headphones permanently attached to their head. There’s the creative thinker with the messy desk…

…And then there’s the Type A person. 

I hate to say it, but a Type A personality can be really intimidating. Not many people can relate to their take-charge attitude and need to excel. 

That said, we also can’t deny that without that person, a lot of things would slow down to a snail’s pace. Because, whether you like them or not, Type A people do get things done! 

You’ll know someone is a Type A personality in the workplace if you notice these behaviors: 

1) They are driven and achievement-oriented

First one in, last one out. If you’ve got a colleague who fits this one to a T, they’re probably a Type A personality. 

Type As are driven and ambitious. They are focused on achievement, and according to WebMD, might even base their self-worth on that. 

We all have our own career aspirations, but for Type As, this drive is an intrinsic part of their identity. 

So, they’re all about benchmarks – getting to lead a team, promotions, awards, and any other quantifiable signs of professional advancement. 

They enjoy setting high goals and even higher expectations for themselves. That’s why they are a real asset to any workplace. 

2) They are highly competitive

This is one of the major hallmarks of a Type A personality – an unusually high sense of competition.

They want to be the best, period.

Back when I had a corporate job, I had a Type A boss. And let me tell you, it’s a double-edged sword. 

On one hand, you get pushed to be the best you can be. My boss demanded nothing less than excellence from all of us in our group because she wanted us to be the best out of all the teams there. 

I learned a lot and developed a strong work ethic because of that. 

But on the other hand, the pressure…at times, it was just overwhelming, especially for the non-Type As among us. I had teammates breaking down and crying in the bathroom because it was just too much. 

This brings me to my next point…

3) They are intense and serious

Oh yes, the intensity. Make no mistake, Type As are serious about their goals. 

In meetings, they’d tell you to GTFOH with your jokes. They’ve got no time for it. This meeting is about business, and anything that pulls focus needs to go.

In fact, even during breaks, it’s not unusual to hear them still talking about work. 

I remember one time when we went out for drinks with a Type A coworker, and it turned out to be just another brainstorming session. We were all ready to unwind, but there he was, still dissecting project strategies. 

Basically, the Type A mind is wired to stay perpetually in work mode. It’s exhausting for those who aren’t wired that way, but the thing is, even if you tell them to relax, they can’t. 

Not when there’s still too much to be done. 

4) They are highly organized

Do you want a project to go smoothly? For things at the office to proceed as planned? Better get a Type A personality to stand at the helm, then. 

Because these folks are organized to the next level. You see, Type As are all about creating systems that are efficient and effective – their two top buzzwords, by the way. 

So, at work, you’ll probably notice how they: 

  • Plan meticulously, down to the smallest details. They often have their days, weeks, and even months mapped out with precision.
  • Have all kinds of lists – to-do lists, checklists, goal lists…And they’re always updating them.
  • Master time management. They stick to their schedules religiously, and woe betide the hapless person who happens to throw a wrench in that. 
  • Max the hell out of digital organization tools for organizing tasks and tracking progress. 
  • Have a tidy workspace – everything is in its place, likely labeled and color-coded.
  • Delegate tasks to others and follow up constantly. Like I said, the system needs to be efficient! 

5) They want things done ASAP

Actually, make that yesterday. Chop chop. 

For Type As, time is always of the essence. In fact, Very Well Mind lists time urgency and impatience as one of the top traits of a Type A personality. 

So, they find it hard to wait while you’re finishing up a report. They might even snipe at you for being so slow (even if you’re actually working at a normal pace). They’d send follow-up emails within hours, not days. 

If you’re a colleague, this trait of Type As can be really annoying. But if you’re the boss, it’s a trait that brings lots of benefits. 

I know that when I became a team leader, it was the Type A personality in my team who could easily meet the deadlines and would even volunteer for time-sensitive projects. And it’s also probably because…

6) They are quick and decisive

This is something I really appreciate in Type A people. I don’t like admitting it, but I’m a waffler. When there’s a decision to be made, I tend to take my time and think about the pros and cons in anguish. 

But Type A people aren’t wafflers. They have the ability to quickly assess a situation and go with a decision. 

Sure, they might not always be right, but they don’t waste time in uncertainty. And that’s something I really admire and learn from. 

It pushes me to become more decisive myself, to trust my instincts a bit more and to cut down on the endless overthinking

If you have a Type A personality in your workplace, I suggest taking the time to observe them and imbibe a bit of their decisiveness. 

7) They don’t do roundabout speeches

Forget euphemisms and bad news couched in flowery language. Type As just don’t do that, especially in the workplace. 

Remember, for a Type A personality, time is of the essence, always. So why waste it trying to think of tactful ways to say something? 

That’s why they’re generally known for being clear and direct. They just want to get straight to the point. 

Unfortunately, this also gives them a reputation for being rude. An unfair assessment, if I may say so when they simply value clarity and efficiency in communication. 

If you’ve ever felt hurt by a Type A colleague’s manner, I suggest not taking it personally. (Unless it’s clear that they set out to hurt you intentionally, of course.) 

I’ve been around enough Type As to know that they just don’t beat around the bush, period. If you frame it that way, it will be easier to collaborate with them. 

You might even come to appreciate how much time you save because they get to the point so quickly! 

8) They have fidgety habits

So, we’ve established that Type A people are impatient. They might try to hide it in an effort to be more pleasant (although it’s a rare Type A who would do that), but believe me, you’ll know. 

Their fidgety habits will give them away. Nervous tics, tapping their foot rapidly under the table or constantly checking their watch…these are common behaviors that Type A people display. 

They might also have a habit of interrupting or finishing other people’s sentences. I know it comes across as rude (well, it is, let’s not kid ourselves), but the thing is, they’ve got a fast-paced thought process. 

Their minds are already racing ahead and ready to move on to the next point. 

Recognizing these signs in Type A personalities can help you understand their behavior better and feel less annoyed with them. 

9) They can multitask like it’s nobody’s business

Speaking of racing minds, that’s precisely why Type As also excels at multitasking. Consider these factors: 

  • They have high energy which they can channel into tackling multiple tasks/projects at once
  • Their goal-oriented nature pushes them to take on many tasks to quickly achieve their goals
  • They are masters at time management
  • They thrive under pressure

Given all of these abilities, it’s easy to see why a Type A personality can take on more than the more chill personalities in the office can handle. 

True enough, in my experience, I can say that they feel more restless when there’s nothing much on their plate. 

However, this constant striving for excellence and getting pulled in all directions can come with its own set of challenges, which is why…

10) They easily get frustrated and angry

Did you know that men with Type A personalities are more than twice as likely to get heart disease compared to Type Bs? 

The research isn’t clear if the numbers are the same with women, but it’s no secret that Type As, regardless of gender are more prone to stress and hypertension. 

Well, yeah. If you’re always worrying about work and treating everything with a sense of urgency, you’re bound to feel angry and frustrated more than the usual person. 

In order to get a handle on their moods, Type A people need to have some effective coping mechanisms in place, such as: 

  • Exercise
  • Meditation and mindfulness practices
  • Daily relaxation techniques
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Scheduled relaxation

Final thoughts

Type A people are high-energy, high-powered personalities. In the workplace, that’s considered high value. 

That said, if you are or you know anyone who’s a Type A personality, remember that balance is also important. 

Work is not the be-all and end-all of life – don’t forget to make room for fun and silliness so it doesn’t always have to feel so stressful! 

Roselle Umlas

I am a freelance writer with a lifelong interest in helping people become more reflective and self-aware so that they can communicate better and enjoy meaningful relationships.

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