How Task Oriented People and People Oriented People Differ

by TessaSchlesinger

by Tessa Schlesinger. Generally popular people are people orientated and effective people are task orientated. Which are you.

When I was young, in another life, I discovered that I was task oriented as opposed to people oriented. I felt really bad about it because, at that time, society seemed to be setting a bias towards people orientated people - as if there was something hopelessly deficient about task orientated people. It seemed to me that since then there has been a general mindset that people oriented people are superior to those that are task oriented. I guess that's because task oriented people tend not to have wonderful people skills.

It’s now four decades later and the enamorment has not stopped. No, instead it has grown beyond to a point that those that are task oriented are all but shunned by society because people skills have become the holy grail of the 21st century.

There are several issues with this point of view. I mention them later.

Are you task orientated or people orientated
Are you task orientated or people ori...

Being task oriented is defined as using one’s cognitive abilities to resolve problems, create processes, design solutions, and invent new gizmos. Most of the world’s inventors, great artists, brilliant minds, etc., were not people oriented. They were task oriented. Einstein was an extremely unpleasant man when it came to interacting with others.

When one eliminates task oriented people from the work force because they are neither team players nor people oriented, systems begin to break down. As much as it is necessary for there to be people oriented people around to take care of the nurturing aspect of humanity, life on earth needs people who can take care of the tasks that require other skills.

There are very few people who are both task oriented and people oriented. One tends to be one or the other. So, generally speaking, while all those people oriented people will make clients feel really good on a one-to-one basis, over a period of time, governments lose their way, companies will lose their market share, and the balance that ties the two together in a working equilibrium will dissolve into a breakdown of the system – be it politics or business. That is, of course, where we are, right about now.

Task oriented people need, once more, to be recognized for their ability to create answers to pressing problems. They need to be able to work in peace without the constant fear that if they don’t say pretty please to someone who is ultra sensitive that their job will be lost. Office politics have a lot to do with people oriented people. Task oriented people aren’t involved in office politics are they’re loners by nature. They get the job done and aren’t interested in the people.


Task-Oriented vs People-Oriented: A Common Source of Conflict
Task-oriented people generally “think” about things (including relationships). People-oriented people generally “feel” about things (including tasks).

Management Styles Task oriented vs people oriented.
Project managers do indeed seem to be one or the other, based on my 30 years experience. My view: Either without the other is an incomplete package.

These days politicians say what they need to in order to tell the people what they want to hear. That is because they’ve been taught from day one that it’s more important to placate the people than to solve the issues.

Very often, however, the people do not always see the big picture. Let’s talk about that some more. Say, for example, there’s a tsunami coming. Jack has just built an enormous hotel that has cost him $10 million. His advisors hear about the tsunami and they know that the force of it will probably cause a lot of damage in the downstairs halls and rooms, but that the building is strong enough to withstand the impact of the waves when it hits. They realize that much could be saved downstairs by moving it – and the people – to the upstairs room. However, all of them are people oriented. They don’t want to make Jack feel bad…

Okay, that’s not a good example, but you get where I’m going, don’t you?

Sometimes, in order to resolve problems and create solutions, it’s task oriented people that are needed, not people oriented people. Sometimes, being too people oriented causes a lot of damage in the medium to long term. Perhaps, if we had more task oriented politicians, government would be better. What do you think?

Updated: 02/20/2013, TessaSchlesinger
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katiem2 on 05/23/2013

Great Read!

TessaSchlesinger on 02/16/2013

Jean, yes, you would be introverted. Typically, introverted have closer more qualitative relationships with people while extroverts have many superficial relationship with many people. They do have close relationships, of course, but they prefer to have many superficial relationships rather than three or four very close relationships which is the way introverts work...

JeanBakula on 02/16/2013

I do find energy and satisfaction from being alone, although I do need some interaction with people. I would rather be alone than with people I don't like, or who bore me. I guess I lean toward introverted then.

TessaSchlesinger on 02/15/2013

Jean, that's because extroverted people mistakenly assume that introverted people don't have social skills aren are 'shy.' So when they find introverted people talking to them quite easily, they think that they are extroverted.

Being introverted or extroverted has nothing to do with social skills. It has to do with where one derives one satisfaction or energy in life. If one draws it from other people, then one is extroverted. If one draws it from within oneself, then one is introverted.

JeanBakula on 02/15/2013

I was also thinking that although I consider myself sort of introverted, many of the people who don't know me that well think I am a "people person." I can be that way if the people interest me, like if I read tarot for them, or we are working on a project together. So I think I have a little of both, or am 2/3 introvert, and 1/3 extroverted.

TessaSchlesinger on 02/15/2013

Brenda, you're absolutely spot on. And studies are finally showing that up. It's the introverts (task orientated) people that are the thinkers, the inventors, the creators, the doers - not the extroverts, who are the talkers!

Hollie, task orientated people absolutely work with other people to accomplish the task. I am highly cooperative as are most task orientated people. We're not unreasonable - I don't think.

HollieT on 02/15/2013

This one's a conundrum for me, Tess. Primarily, I'm a task oriented person, but I believe that all tasks require the cooperation of people if they are to be undertaken successfully. It doesn't matter how you look at it, whatever task you have been given will require some form of mutual agreement and cooperation with others. So I engage. It all becomes easier from there.

However, that doesn't mean that I'll go with the flow whatever the ethics-hence, the amount of times I've found myself in so much hot water! :)

BrendaReeves on 02/15/2013

You are talking about introverts vs extroverts. What the extroverts don't realize is that all great inventions, medical cures, and art come from us introverts.

Wournos on 02/15/2013

Very true. I'm a task oriented person. Finding job offers that more or less require a people person that also possesses task oriented skills deflates my good mood.

Tiggered on 02/14/2013

I definitely know what you're talking about. This is one of the major reasons why I moved towards self-employment.
I bet it's somehow related to introvert/extrovert divide too.

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