The Personality Divide: Getting Better Results with Different
Types of People
By Patti Fralix
without saying that there are many differences in people, and that
in those differences are often our strengths. Unfortunately, too
often those strengths are not utilized because we expect the other
person to be like us, and get into unnecessary conflicts, expressed
and unexpressed, over those differences. How can different people
get along better at work and at home at home, maximizing the
strengths of both?
the answer is in understanding personality differences, and
communicating with other people based upon their dominant driving
forces. While personality differences are by no means the only
difference in people, it is the one that we often have the best
opportunity to understand quickly, and to manage our own behavior
with other people from that knowledge. Like many things in life, it
isn’t always easy, but it is often quite simple.
Personality as a discipline is not new. What is more recent is how
businesses are utilizing personality-profiling tools in the
workplace, especially in team building. The best teams are not
people who are similar, but people who are different, especially
related to personality. Too often, however, teams fail to capitalize
on those differences, having unnecessary conflict, and poor
are four dominant personalities, S, A, U and C, and each have
different driving forces, communication styles, and strengths.
While everyone has the four areas of personality, there is great
variety in the dominance or weakness of those areas, and the
resultant behavior. The four different personality types, and the
most likely combinations are:
The “S” person is driven by Specifics, and is process and
methodology oriented. This is the person who does not generalize,
and who justifies with facts, figures, numbers and specifics. Most
likely you know someone like this, who when asked what time it is
answers, “5:18,” and when questioned why they did not just say about
5:15 or 5:20 responds, “because it is 5:18!” To work best with this
style, do not generalize. Communicate in specifics and use data to
prove your point.
The “A” person is driven by Action, to get things done quickly, even
if it isn’t the right things! This personality is also bottom line
and results oriented, as well as task oriented. This personality is
often in a hurry, and usually late! Getting one more thing done too
often gets in the way of being exactly on time. This is the person
who becomes impatient in meetings that aren’t going anywhere, and
who loves teamwork if they are in charge of the team! To work best
with this person, get to the point quickly. They will ask for
detail if they want it.
The “U” person is driven by Understanding, both figuring things out
as well as being understood. This person is intuitive, visionary
and change oriented. This person does not need data to figure
things out or to justify, and is comfortable with ambiguity. This
is the person who talks their thoughts out loud, figuring it out as
they go, often confusing others who think they have made a
decision! This is also the one who others hear as argumentative,
“trying to get their way,” because they take too much responsibility
for explaining it better so others will get it! This is the person
who (hopefully) spends a lot of time apologizing because they are
better at telling others what they think than they are at
listening. To work best with this style, allow time for processing
ideas and thinking out loud. Also, expect them to question,
challenge and disagree.
The “C” person is driven by Connection, who is group, relationship
and team oriented. This person is the natural team player, the one
that others think of as nice, friendly and easy to get along with.
This is the person who is people oriented, who really cares what
other people think, and is democratic and diplomatic in their
dealings with others. This is also the one who does not deal easily
with conflict and confrontation, specifically because they are so
people oriented that they do not want to tell others what they might
not want to hear! This style needs you to check in with them often,
so they know that they are ok with you. Remember, connection is a
need for them, not just a want. Make sure they are on teams.
are many different combinations of personality. Some common
“S/A” person, the one who is both “Specifics” and “Action”
oriented. This can be a strength area, when the individual is
predictable but not rigid, and authoritative, but not
authoritarian. Unfortunately, too often managers have this profile,
and their strength areas are so strong that they appear to others as
the “know-it-all bureaucrat,” the one who tells others not just what
to do but how to do it, to the extreme. Managers, avoid this
behavior, do not be overly prescriptive, so that you do not lose the
spirit and talent of others.
“A/U” person, the one who is both independent and self-directed, and
therefore cannot be controlled. This is the rebel, the one who will
push and challenge the system. This is the individual who has the
hardest time with teamwork, and yet who is too often allowed to run
rampant, creating not just teamwork challenges, but morale
problems. This person is best working with a small group of hard
driving people in an entrepreneurial manner. They are also likely
to start their own business, hopefully hiring some “S” people, or
they will be out of business quickly because they do not manage
revenue and the bills don’t get paid!
“A/C” person, the one who is a good profile for talent management,
for this is the person who is good getting results working with and
through other people. If you hire talent and let them soar, it
should not matter “how” something is done, unless the work is legal
or regulatory in nature.
“S/C” person, the one who is good with specifics and process, and
who is also good working with others. This profile is common in
human resource positions, for traditionally human resources involves
employee relations, “C” work, and regulatory and legal activities,
teams include a combination of different personalities, playing to
their strengths and depending on others for their weaker areas.
Communicating effectively and maximizing the strengths of these
different personalities is the key to teamwork and results. While
this is not always easy, by understanding the differences and
communicating with others based on their dominant style, good
results and relationships can be accomplished.
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