Leadership Blog

A kaleidoscope of personality

Thursday, November 10, 2016 | Category :
    • Leadership
    • Avo Vision

People are essentially a fascinating bunch aren’t there. Park yourself at any mall on an afternoon and you can watch people interacting with others. You will begin to notice similar types of behaviours, some smile and chat easily, others listen intently with interest, you’ll notice some being very direct and forceful in their manner and still others reacting in a precise objective way. Now take a leap to another city on another continent and you’ll notice the same types of behaviour. What you would be seeing is a wide variety of people who behave in similar ways… who may even seem to have a similar personality.

Take a little skip down history lane and you will see that man has been trying to understand personalities and categorise them as far back as the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. Of course at the time there were only four basic personality types that were identified and named, these being; Sanguine (sociable), Phlegmatic (easy going and relaxed), Melancholic (analytical and thoughtful) and Choleric (ambitious and driven).

Since then we have developed theories, refined research and given these basic types many different names, but essentially you can still group people into four primary personality types or combinations of these types. We must acknowledge however, that the field of psychoanalysis is much more complicated than this, or indeed than the space one article allows. You cannot simply plop a human into a category and think you understand them. Humans are complex beings and so is the development of their personality. Nor can you put a person through a test and map out their entire personality, this is impossible (despite what your high-school guidance counsellor may have said). Even though you can track down many diagnostic tools that measure or identify these personalities, know that you should use them with a degree of caution and that you should possibly invite a little expert assistance.

With all of that said, the Avocado Vision team can assure you that these personalities are definitely playing out in your working environment (and in fact, you are one of them!). Well, so what? Why should you care? More importantly why is this useful to know? Well people like you to connect with them in a way that seems normal to themselves. You can’t exist in isolation to giving someone an instruction, requesting information or indeed any of a myriad of ways you interact with each other is made much simpler if you are able to understand how to communicate with that person, and by association develop a rapport with them. Once that’s done, communication is much more efficient and effective!

Let’s take a look at each personality group and see how you can engage with them a little better.

  • Driver, Controller or Dominant Personality
    These are very confident, ambitious and driven personality types who want to feel in control of situations and are driven to succeed at whatever they are doing. They communicate in a very direct manner and are short and to the point, often coming across as aggressive or arrogant (which they don’t actually intend). They work fast and efficiently, (regularly breaking rules to do so) and want you to be just the same.
    This group can be pretty overwhelming people to deal with, so you may need to shore up your confidence when engaging. They need you to be direct, short and to the point, bottom line focused and not shying away from what seems like conflict. Start at the end – give them the result or request first, then the summarised points and if necessary field questions on the detail.
  • Communicator, Promoter, Influencer
    These are your sociable personality types who love to connect and engage with people and who are usually unconsciously, looking for affirmation from others. They talk easily, are positive and enthusiastic and love to be in the limelight. Sometimes other personalities see them as a little overwhelming and self-absorbed (but they don’t see themselves like this). They work with lots of energy and fun and prefer it if you work the same way.
    It can seem really difficult to get a word in edgewise with this person because they talk so much about so many subjects at the same time. Be fun, energetic and social with them. When communicating be ready to jump from topic to topic with them, don’t worry too much about the order of your communication just go for it. But develop your ability to subtly steer it back to what you want to talk about and summarise clearly. Notice them, what they do and what they have around them and then compliment them openly (but genuinely), make them feel like you like them.
  • Analytical, Compliant, Perfectionist
    These are the analytical and thoughtful personalities, who like to gather information and analyse it before deciding what to do. They prefer to spend time thinking before talking, and when they do talk, its usually about things or theories but certainly not about emotional stuff. They like to do things ‘right’ (or perfectly) and prefer to work slowly and accurately within set structures and boundaries
    These personality types can be quite intimidating to interact with, they are not socially open and prefer to only talk about the topic on hand. They want you to produce perfectly accurate, detailed and meticulously laid out material for them to read through from beginning to end. When engaging with them, start at the very beginning and work steadily and methodically through all the detail until the final point (exactly the opposite of the Driver). Listen to their criticism, make a note of it and move on to the next point, don’t let it get you down they are just busy processing the information. Don’t come across as defensive or aggressive or too talkative just go slowly, evenly and steadily.
  • Amiable, Planner, Steady
    Usually this group is easy going and have relaxed personality types who are happiest working in a routine, stable and harmonious environment. They don’t like to ‘rock the boat’ or have the ‘boat rocked’ for them. Having people in their lives is very important, they will listen intently to them rather than talk and have a deep inner desire to care for, help and support them.
    What might unnerve you with this personality is a lack of momentum, things only progress at a methodical pace with a typical Steady personality. When engaging with them, be gentle. Start with understanding one another on a personal level, show interest in them, they will do the same for you. Work logically through your conversation with them. It can be quite easy to walk all over these personalities so don’t overwhelm them and do make sure that they are happy with what you have agreed before moving on.

When you want to make the best of an interaction with another person remember two points;

Firstly, you are a personality don’t be surprised when someone approaches you from a different perspective. Weird for you but normal for them. Secondly learn how to adjust. Ideally you want to become the chameleon, you have to adapt to each of the different personalities if you are the one that wants to influence the communication.

It’s like your Mamma always said “Try walking in their shoes”, you may be surprised at how effective this can make you in your business!


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