Just the thought of meeting with Mike triggers my “fight or flight” response. He turns meetings into endless recitations of tedious details. He has no interest in people. He lacks intuition, rendering him unable to make decisions without reams of data. He talks only about work. And his voice…my god…it should be patented as a treatment for insomnia. You know what I’m talking about, right?
Actually, maybe you don’t. If you are one of the many precise, disciplined and conscientious “introverted thinkers” (as Jung called them) out there, you may hold an equally negative view of “Helping Inspirers” like me.
From Mike’s perspective, I lack discipline. My optimistic nature leads me to take dangerous risks. When I’m not interested in a project, it’s twice as hard to get decent work out of me. Sometimes, he just wishes I’d leave him alone…do I think work is some kind of cocktail party?
Mike and I are “opposite types”. I am what Quadrant Personality Theory calls an “Inspirational Helper”, which means I get energy from people, am comfortable with risk and value intuition as much as analysis. Our communication styles, passions and aptitudes are diametrically opposed. Because it takes effort, patience and understanding to collaborate, we regularly drive each other nuts. But we’ve also achieved great things together, bringing a diversity of strengths to our work.
Viewed objectively, Mike is dependable, analytical and persistent, regardless of the task at hand. He tackles challenges systematically, consistently finding solutions to big problems. He’s everyone’s go-to person for a challenging project. Lastly, his sense of duty and responsibility is unparalleled.
Quadrant Personality Theory, which was first pioneered by Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung in 1921, tells us that understanding self (both strengths and weaknesses) makes it possible to interact more effectively with others.
It also tells us that people fall into the following four personality types in roughly equal proportions:
Whatever your type, 75% of people don’t share your worldview. Their communication, decision-making and working-style preferences differ significantly from yours. What’s more, 25% of people are “opposite types” like Mike and me, who often struggle to work together effectively.
Understanding is the key to harnessing the power of diversity. Companies that do this best use personality testing as a matter of course to encourage effective communication, and get the best out of their talent. Good tests provide actionable information such as:
- Key strengths and weaknesses
- Potential blind spots
- Communication tips for your opposite type
- Development suggestions
- How to motivate and manage each type of personality
- Avoid bursts of emotion, which make Mike uncomfortable
- Give Mike time to gather his thoughts and express his feelings
- Stick to facts and data if you want to be persuasive
- Never exaggerate, even for effect
- Avoid humour in serious situations
- Allow Mike to keep his personal life very private
Do you know your type? Do you have a strategy to deal with your “opposite”? If the answer to either of these questions is “no”, it’s time to Google “personality testing”.
Sources and additional information: http://www.colorfulleadership.info/papers/4-quadrant.htm http://www.insights.com/