Saturday, May 4, 2013

Understanding Different Personality Styles | Navigating the Personal and Professional World

I recently attended a workshop under the direction of public speaker, Drew Dudley. Drew introduced my group to the four personality styles, which are 1) Analytical 2) Driver 3) Amiable and 4) Expressive. Essentially working in team requires people to work with a diverse number of people. This is common, however I started to think about how these personality types translate into peer relationships, and more importantly personal relationships. I've included a link to an article that is entitled, How to Negotiate with the 4 Personality Styles - and let's be honest anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows that negotiation is pivotal to maintaining a relationship that is prosperous, but also harmonious.

We often consider the notion that it is important to understand the personality styles of those we work with, as our purpose is to create an effective team. Although we forget about friendships and personal relationships, as if they require less understanding or tact. I started to think about my conceptions of people, or rather misconceptions. I started to begin to realize that conflict or a preconceived notion that there was in fact a conflict may be based off our interpretation of other people's personality. Meaning that I assumed there is a conflict in which I did something to offend or upset someone.

For example, a person who is analytical can come across as cold or ineffectual. That might not be the case, as an analytical person is self controlled and serious. They take time to develop established relationships, which is confusing to Expressive person as we see an Analytical person as possibly disliking us. In that sense it is very hard for an analytical person to develop new relationships, as being reserved sends an Expressive person mixed signals - we assume that the individual doesn't want anything to do with us simply because they are unwilling to immediately open up to us, which is ridiculous to assume someone would. I can identify where some of my analytical friends struggle to develop new relationships, outside of their pre-existing ones. In fact, I can remember how long it took for me to develop friendships with these individuals to a level where they felt comfortable enough to involve me in the intricate parts of their lives. I'm grateful that this happened, regardless of the time it took for it to happen as I consider some of my analytical friends some of the best friends I have.

Another personality trait is Amiable, which is classified as being the Supporter. A person who is an Amiable is not assertive, but responsive. They are the soft-hearted person who wants to be everyone's friend. They tend to be over-sensitive and their good nature can easily be taken advantage of. Amiable's make great friends, however one must be careful not to influence their beliefs or decisions as an Amiable is easily persuaded. Drivers are another great example of someone who is often "misunderstood". Drivers are often called the doers or implementers. Drivers are focused on getting things done. Drivers are time oriented, as opposed to Expressive's who are people oriented. Drivers are firm, and controlled. Drivers do enjoy relationships, and are often confused as being Analytic's. However, this is untrue as a Driver prefers to get to know someone before determining whether they are interested in developing a relationship with that person. It's almost like a screening process that goes on to determine whether they will open up to you or not. 

"We dislike people, because we see character traits in others that we dislike in ourselves" (Drew Dudley)

An example of this is that I'm often annoyed when an Expressive person constantly raises their hand to ask questions, or enjoys over involving themselves in group discussions or lectures. Why do I dislike when people do this? Because I myself do this! It's important to understand your personality style and fulfil your personal needs, such as my need to be expressive - but to do it in a format that does not dominate the conversation or alienate myself from the team or group. It's about knowing yourself, and controlling yourself.

At the same time, a person who is analytical could benefit from being openly more expressive as to help foster and promote new relationships. Obviously, people don't fit perfectly into four categories as many people have traits that translate into various quadrants. 

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