The DNA of a great intranet manager

Mannequins. Credit: Jeshu John

Are there common skills and personality types which make certain people more likely to succeed at intranet management? Does the shift from intranet management to social intranet and digital workplaces roles require a different skill set or personality type?

Having recently taken several personality tests and spent time analysing my own work style,  I decided to analyze four role types and how they relate to intranet managers. I hope you find this useful.

It’s easy to focus on the results of such test and read too much into them or critique the validity and the science behind them – I suspect different personality types respond differently to the actual test results. For me, I try to reflect on what stands out. What resonates internally or reflects feedback from others. How can I use it to grow? Personality tests also remind you that you might see, experience and engage in the world differently to others and should pause to reflect on this. I think its best to see any such tests a guide only.

(Intranet) Personality Types

They are numerous personality tests our there, some, such as Myers Briggs, you might even have done. If not, I’d recommend as its free, quite thorough with an interesting overview. They discuss 4 roles which these 16 personalities fall into:

  • Analyst
  • Diplomat
  • Sentinels
  • Explorers

So how might these relate to intranet management?

The analytical intranet manager:

These personalities are driven to understand and create, and have no problem switching between speculative musing and frank, solutions-oriented approaches to whatever problems are at hand.

The analytical intranet manager is an intelligent thinker, a rational intellectual. They’re a natural problem solver who thrive in musing how to solve the problems they face.

Their strengths lie in analysing and in a world of problems and data, they are in their element. They are always questioning and so have a key role to play in discovering what is needed to improve the intranet / digital workplace. They can debate well and win arguments, critical for stakeholder buy-in.

However, they can become focused on too much on the analysis and neglect the actions required to make things happen. They might also come into conflict with their more action orientated, pragmatic colleagues.

The diplomatic digital workplace leader

Like a gardener planting in fertile earth, Diplomats seed the world around them with progressive change and gentle beauty.

Diplomatic digital workplace leaders are people focused and seek harmony. Great for improving communication and collaboration initiatives as well as working with internal clients and users to understand needs. Natural teachers, they are good at getting editor communities trained up to use tools and supporting adoption of social tools.

However, they will struggle with injustice, so combative office politics, perceived unfair treatment during budget season or being forced to change priorities will no doubt cause discomfort. Being more feeling and people focused, they might struggle with tough decisions and more practical activities.

The social intranet sentinel

These personalities are meticulous and traditional, excelling in logistical and administrative fields with clear hierarchies and rules as well.

Sentinels are practical types, for whom character is key. Solid and dependable, they are excellent team players, managers and leaders. In large complex organisations they can make progress through the traditional channels, ensuring the required administration gets done.

At times conservative, they can struggle with more loose and creative types which might appear impractical or too radical. Perhaps less able to manage disruptive practices, they will look to focus on traditional collaborative methods and ways of work, rather explore new ways of working.

The enterprise social network explorer

Comfortable with uncertainty and minimally concerned with preparation, these personality types simply adapt and overcome as events present themselves.

Flexible, action orientated and looking for the next new thing, these dynamos can inject life and energy into their platforms. They will happily pilot and experiment with opportunities and so help get and keep things moving.

With so much energy, they might lack commitment. A strength if evidence suggests they should change course, but a weakness if something new and more interesting emerges at the expense of completing whats required. Not fans of compulsory activity or norms of how things are done, in the wrong environment they might be seen as too radical or quickly become frustrated.


Ultimately, success in a role comes down to many factors, personality type being just one element. Some types will succeed where other types might struggle and all types will meet the opportunities which present them in different ways.

Of course it raises other questions:

  • How do these types interact in teams?
  • If you’re managing a team, do you have a diverse group of people?
  • Are they able to effectively contribute?

Hopefully however, knowing your own (and colleagues) preferences, working and learning style and how to manage any possible gaps or blind spots should ensure you can develop and make the best of any role. Adapting yourself to the role, working to your strengths and perhaps even looking to partner with others whose personality type will compliment yours are ways to finding success and enjoyment in your role.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

About Dan Leonard

Based in the Netherlands, I've been working on intranets and digital workplaces for over 12 years. Mainly in financial services for Learning & Development, HR and Corporate Communication functions. I am interested in the skills required by Intranet Managers and Digital Workplace Leaders now and in the future.

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