The bossy co-worker who gets things done; the life-of-the-party co-worker who doubles as the office gossip columnist; the go-by-the-rules co-worker who insists on playing by the book; the best-friend co-worker who is steady and easy-going. What type of person are you at work?
Since the days of Hippocrates, smart folks have recognized four basic personality types. We all seem to have a default personality that we adopt under stress. However, what makes us all unique is the fascinating blend of all four types we each possess.
Strength in Weakness
While we each have a primary and secondary personality type, sometimes we have to perform a task that lies outside our default personality. This means we have to channel some “strength in weakness.” I’m not a very organized person, but in college I could churn out a Turabian-style research paper with the best of them. I typically score lowest in the process-oriented personality type. However, when my grades depended on it, I could process a term paper with the best of them.
When talking with personality assessment gurus, you hear terms like “high D” or “I’m an I” thrown about a lot. “D” is the dominant personality type and “I” is the socializer of the group. Yet, I’ve observed that our dominant personality type is not what makes us different from each other. Rather, it’s the mix of sub-dominant types. Nobody is all one and none of the other.
Blended Personality Type
Most everyone is a blended personality type. A “high D” take-charge person is still going to be greatly affected by whether he/she has a strong relational, process, or socializer secondary personality type. A “D” with a strong “I” secondary type will be a take-charge person who does all the talking.
A “D” with a relational secondary type will take charge, but will also consider other people’s feelings more in the process. Speaking of “D”, or dominant personalities, they get overrated. True “D”s only represent about 3 percent of the population. So, why do we spend so much time talking about them? Because they are large and in charge. Because of their very nature, one D in our lives can have a profound impact, for good or bad.
Most of us are Relational
Most people, about 69 percent, are primarily relational in personality. They make good team players and loyal friends. Unlike dominants and socializers, relaters are easy-going and don’t generally demand everyone else’s attention. Let us not forget our process oriented people. We couldn’t run the world without their systems and precision. They like lots of analysis and numbers.
Still, it’s like when God made us, He realized that we need a few take charge folks, a smattering of party people to make life fun, another relatively small group to make sure things are done right, and a whole bunch of us in the middle who are easy to get along with.
Since we spend 40 hours or more each week at work, it’s important to know your personality type and how you play with others. What type of person are you at work? Most of our workplace conflict is not about right or wrong. It’s about clashes in personality. Get the wrong personality type in the wrong spot, and sparks will fly. However, set up a team with the right blend of personalities, and you’ll have a well-oiled machine.