Have you gotten annoyed at your colleague for being too loud or rambunctious? Or impatient at your employee for not getting to the point quick enough? How about thinking that your boss is a lunatic for wanting everything to be exactly the way he/she wants it (even if it makes no sense)?
I certainly get annoyed at my employees when they talk too slow, or when they don’t get a task done exactly the way I want it. And I’m sure I agitate them when I talk too fast, expect too much, and for being anal about the tiniest details
People are inherently and genetically different. When we truly understand the people around us, we will become successful entrepreneurs, dedicated employees & friendlier colleagues. It’s when we try to make people think like we think and act like we act, that we end up firing employees, quitting jobs (and probably getting divorced).
About a month ago I was lucky to hear inspirational speaker Allison Mooney talk to a room full of entrepreneurs at an EO event. She divided all human beings into 4 personality types:
These folks are enthusiastic, funny and loud; They are extroverts who love talking; they speak before they think. They are best at networking, socializing & having fun. They are forgiving, unorganized and easily distracted. In business, they are the innovators, the idea-people & very creative. They tend to work fast (or not at all), so they can focus on doing what they enjoy most – having fun.
I put myself in this category. Us Powerfuls are assertive, decisive and productive; we are the do-ers, the human machine and the ones always taking control. We are the risk-takers who never give up on our goals. Powerfuls are internally strong and definitely need things done our way. We are all about working hard, getting to the point and accomplishing goals. For the Powerfuls, “now” is never soon enough. Our goals are never-ending.
These people are meticulous. They think before they talk. They create structure, order and compliance. They are organized, neat, graceful and procedurally strong. They are perfectionists who hate making mistakes. Their shirts are ironed, their socks always match, and they love making lists. Without the Precise, our businesses would be chaotic and unorganized; our homes would be messy. They put work before play, and usually won’t stop until they get it done right. I see some elements of Precise in myself too, particularly in how I run my business.
These are the most calming of us all. Peacefuls are easy-going, diplomatic and patient. They hate conflict & do everything in their power to avoid confrontation. They are steady, comfortable in their own skin and grounded. They don’t have highs or lows, and are often-time hard to read. Happy, sad, angry, frustrated, excited – it all looks the same on them. You certainly won’t see them get as excited as the Playfuls or Powerfuls do. My business partner and husband Sim is a Peaceful. He is the epitome of calm and steady, and definitely brings balance to my life in the fast lane.
But how do we deal with people opposite of us? The reality is, we need all four personality types to run a successful business.
We need the creative people to come up with the ideas, and the critical thinkers to analyze, document & plan. We need the executors to make it happen, and the calm, rational folks to put things in perspective.
Give People What They Need
What do all four personalities need from us? Mooney describes it concisely:
The Playfuls need attention, affection & approval.
The Powerfuls need credit, loyalty and appreciation.
The Precises need space, quiet and sensitivity.
The Peacefuls need respect, value and harmony.
Treat Not How You Want To Be Treated
Do we actually treat people the way they need to be treated? Or do we treat people the way we feel they should be treated?
Just a couple of days ago, Sim and I were boarding a plane to New York. A guy (let’s call him Jack) in the row in front of us opened the overhead bin. He saw a jacket and small bag inside. He started repeating the F word over and over, until he finally turned to the older man (say, Bob) sitting in the aisle seat across from him and barked “for God’s sake, can you move your stuff into another bin so I can put my carry-on in here?” He kept rubbing his hands as if he was trying to clean off the germs.
Bob looked up at him and said in a super calm voice “Sure, of course. Would you like me to help you with your carry-on?” Jack grunted a “no thanks”. When Bob finished moving his stuff into another bin, he complimented Jack on his shirt and struck up a friendly conversation about what Jack did for a living. I turned to Sim and said “wow, this man is definitely very successful.” My instinct was, there is no way for someone to react so exceptionally well without years of practice in managing and dealing with people. Bob knew exactly what Jack needed, and he reacted with sensitivity & gentleness – which worked like a charm.
(We discovered a few hours into the flight that Bob was indeed a very successful Venture Capitalist).
When we understand people’s personality, we can give them what they need. This enables us to build trust, respect and long-lasting relationships…which ultimately converts into loyal clients. In fact, we can get along with just about anyone, when we know who they are & how they need to be treated.
Which of the 4 personality types are you? Are you a mix of 2 or 3 personality types? I’d love to know how you deal with the people with opposite personalities!