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The 10 Sparketypes That Every Manager Needs to Support

This article was based on episode 171 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Get my guide to talking with your team about Sparketype when you become a member at

Don’t waste time trying to motivate your team with random rewards or threats of punishment. The old carrot and stick model of external motivation isn’t very effective. Instead, figure out what alights each of your team members and focus on tapping into their internal motivation. When people get to do work that innately feels good to them, they will run to work each day, thrilled to give it their all.

Jonathan Fields, host of one of the world’s top rated podcasts, Good Life Project, calls this a “Sparketype”. It's the “DNA-level driver” of actions that most deeply fulfill us. The Sparketype approach is outlined in his newest book, SPARKED, Discover Your Unique Imprint For Work That Makes You Come Alive. Jonathan spent thousands of hours researching motivation at work, and found that most people fall within 10 different Sparketypes. He shares with us what those Sparketypes are, how to utilize this knowledge to create a flourishing staff, and what every manager can do to more effectively lead from their Sparketype.


The Maven

A Maven gets super excited by acquiring more knowledge. Mavens don’t necessarily care about applying what they learn; The experience of learning itself energizes them.

The Maker

A Maker loves making ideas manifest, whether it’s in a physical, digital, or experiential form. The process of creating something from nothing is a Maker’s greatest motivation. However, Makers tend to lose steam when it comes to scaling and optimizing their work.

The Scientist

A Scientist gets excited when presented with a difficult, burning problem to figure out. Even if it takes a lot of time to puzzle through, Scientists don’t mind putting in the effort to get answers. Scientists tend to get melancholy when the exhilaration of the quest is over.

The Essentialist

An Essentialist strives to create order and clarity from chaos. Essentialists love systems and processes. They find a certain elegance in organizing.

The Performer

A Performer wants to animate and energize every moment. They strive to create an interactive experience for others. Performers try to infuse all of their conversations with energy, whether it’s in a boardroom, meeting, or sales conference. Performers are often stifled in the workplace.

The Warrior

A Warrior thrives on gathering people and leading them from Point A to Point B. This trait often shows up at a young age with Warrior kids who create neighborhood initiatives.

The Sage

A Sage loves to awaken insights in other people and groups. Unlike a Maven, they don’t learn for learning’s sake, but in order to share it with others. Mavens are all about transmitting inspiration and turning on other people’s inner light.

The Advisor

An Advisor gets pumped by mentoring others and helping them grow. They are adept at creating a sense of intimacy and trust. While Warriors are often part of the group that they bring together, Advisors work as outsiders.

The Advocate

Advocates get inspired by championing ideals.They are animated by standing up for ideas, individuals, or communities. An Advocate may notice an ignored coworker at a meeting, and try to bring attention to their contribution.

The Nurturer

Nurturers live to elevate and take care of others. They are deeply empathetic. Other people’s lives become as important to them as their own.


Jonathan’s research shows that people “come alive” by working from their Sparketype. He describes this feeling as having five dimensions:

  • we find a sense of meaning that what I’m doing matters

  • we enter a state of flow, getting lost in the task

  • we become energized to get the work done

  • we unleash our greatest potential

  • we feel like we are moving toward a purpose

The beauty of the Sparketype is that you can have any job or role and still find opportunities to work from your sparketype. You can be a doctor and a Maven, a graphic designer and an Advocate, or a manager and an Essentialist.

While it helps to focus on tasks or activities during your workday that align with your Sparketype, sometimes we need more opportunities to unleash that part of ourselves. In these cases, it may be wise to channel your Sparketype through a hobby or a side hustle. This is one way I re-energize myself as a Maker. (Check out my Instagram @mamieKS to see all the things I make including knitted projects, baking, painting and more.)

As managers, we can help our team members lean into their Sparketype so that when they come into work, they are their healthiest, most energized selves. When you help people to recognize what motivates them, you empower them to capitalize on their greatest strengths.

Figure out what gives each of your team members meaning, purpose, and drive by taking the free Sparketype Assessment. Then discuss how to make their Sparketype work within their role. It is guaranteed to ignite your team.


Get my guide to talking with your team about their Sparketype when you become a member of the Modern Manager community at Or, purchase an individual episode guide at to help you implement the learnings and continue to enhance your rockstar manager skills.

This article was based on episode 171 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Never miss a worksheet, episode or article: subscribe to Mamie’s newsletter.




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