Do you ever meet someone and you instantly like or dislike them based on their personality? Before they speak, you know you want to befriend them or get as far away as possible. Is there something wrong with them? Is there something wrong with you? What if we lived in a world where everyone’s healthy dominant personality type was celebrated? What if everyone’s natural way of “being” is okay? Whether the rest of the world does this or not, it’s our choice to do that for others. We can respect another’s natural tendencies and celebrate their unique nature without compromising our own. Many tests exist to find out your dominant personality type or types. The best programs include ways to appreciate each personality as well as explain them.
Our natural or dominant personality type
In the book Positive Personality Profiles, Robert A. Rohm teaches people those very things. He explains that your dominant personality type or types emerge your most relaxed state, and that natural state is something to honor and understand rather than change. Think of a newborn tiger and a newborn deer. Each has its own nature and no one expects a tiger to act like a deer or a deer to act like a tiger. You approach animals or avoid them based on what you know about their temperament. The same is true of people. To have a better relationships, figure out how others think and feel, not to change them but to get along with them and understand them better. No dominant personality type is better or worse than another, especially when you understand and appreciate situations where each personality type or combination of personality types shines.
The four personality types
For this discussion we use four personality types. Think of a circle divided into four equal quadrants. Each personality type represents one quadrant of the circle. Each has its own unique qualities and qualities related to the quarters connected to it. For example the top half of the circle represents outgoing people and the bottom represents reserved people. The outgoing people are generally fast-paced, optimistic, and energetic. The reserved people prefer a steadier pace, and focus on patience and caution. Outgoing types tend to take the lead and look at the big picture while the reserved types tend to work behind the scenes and take care of details.
In balance, outgoing people learn to steady themselves and reserved types learn to speak up and ask for what they want or need. Out of balance, outgoing people become overbearing and reserved people become uncommunicative.
Task and people orientation
Vertically the circle splits into a task and people orientation. Task oriented people like planning and working on projects. They tend to like high-tech and working alone. Task oriented individuals excel at organizing, especially details. They can, however, forget about the human factor if it conflicts with finishing a task, but give them a project and they get right to work and keep on working until the task is complete. Those with a people orientation prefer high touch to high-tech. They focus on relationships, being aware of others’ needs and desires and developing friendships. In balance, task people learn to be empathetic while completing a task, and people oriented folks learn to plan their work and work their plan.
When you create the final model that includes all four basic temperaments, they are represented by the letters D, I, S, C.
D’s are outgoing and task oriented.
I’s are outgoing and people oriented.
S’s are reserved and people oriented, and
C’s are reserved and task oriented.
D types tend to be dominant, driving, determined and decisive doers.
I types tend to be inspired, influencing, impressive, interactive, and interested.
S types are generally supportive, stable, steady, sentimental, and shy.
C types are cautious, calculating, concerned, careful and contemplative.
It’s rare to find someone who thinks of themselves as solely one type. Nearly everyone is a combination of two or more types with one type being dominant. When I learned this, it changed everything for the better, including my marriage.
A lesson in opposites
I married my opposite in temperament. I am outgoing. My husband is reserved. I am a combination of mostly I with a good dose of D. My husband is mostly C with a large amount of S. When we learned about the personality types, we understood why I want make decisions quickly and move on and why he wants time to process. He understands why I crave social interaction, and I understand why he’s happy to sit in a corner by himself at a party or skip the whole thing but happily drive me there and back so I have company on the drive. We focus on how we complement each other rather than how we potentially irritate each other, and we understand ourselves better too.
I know why I get active when I’m upset. He knows why he has to sit in silence or read a book. I understand that while my husband loves me, he doesn’t need to tell anyone about that. He understands that my telling others what he does for me is a great compliment. Learning this taught us a respect for one another I didn’t know a couple could have. Our 25 year marriage is stronger than ever because we know so much about each other’s personality, not as a character flaw, but as a complement to our own personality. What a gift!
Taking the knowledge beyond our home
This knowledge helps any situation. As PTA President, it helped place people where they could shine and enjoy volunteering. As a big picture person, I surrounded myself with detail people who helped me stay on track. My favorite story was the day I called someone I knew was an type S personality who shied away from being in charge of anything. She much preferred supporting the team rather than leading it. I told her I had an open committee chair for her, and she immediately told me she didn’t want to be in charge. I explained she would be a committee of one working behind the scenes, doing her work at her own pace. She had two yearly deadlines and she would never have to speak at a meeting. She gladly accepted and did an amazing job for the next two years. When people work in their strengths, everyone wins.
Every personality type can shine
This series about the personality types hopefully shines a positive light on each personality. Knowing about personality types can help you understand people’s reactions are based on their personality, not on you. By being respectful of that, you can make friends with those who have different personality types and learn so much from them. Learning about others can be a joyful experience and learning to get along with them brings even greater joy. Play along, and we all benefit.
You can read along with part two, part three and part four here. Please share this post so more people benefit and subscribe to get all blog posts and extras sent directly to your inbox. Just fill in the subscribe box on this page. Join our Facebook and Twitter and to read more, check out my books Everyday Heroes of Motherhood and Happiest Holidays. As always, thanks for reading, thanks for being you and have a great day.Click here for ways to support the Moving Toward Better mission.