If you had the opportunity to have one superpower that would aid your professional development, what would it be?
Do you wish you had a special pill that you could take like on the movie 'Limitless', where you are able to achieve exponential outcomes in a short period of time? Would you like the ability to read minds so you are able to pre-empt issues and mitigate risk? Well let’s all be realistic here, none of those options are possible but I will tell you one thing that you, an everyday human, can do and that’s to understand the personality type of your co-workers. There have been many studies that have been conducted that have resulted in many different variations of the four personality types. For the sake of this article, I will be looking at the four personality types that Merrill-Wilson developed which are: Driver, Expressive, Amiable and Analytical.
You are probably asking yourself right now, what type am I? Let’s get started!
Driver: You are a straight shooter, confident and know exactly what you want. You like people to get to the point with no fluff and you are outcome focused. You don’t spend ages mulling over a decision and you are able to voice yourself in an assertive and direct way.
Amiable: You run at the first sight of conflict but you are well balanced and witty. While you are relatively quiet, you exude a calm nature and can be diplomatic in a difficult situation. If asked to make a decision on a matter, you may need a lot of time to think about your answer and even then, you probably won’t answer and want more time to think
Analytical: You are fact, data and statistic driven. You aren’t loud or pompous and can appear to be quite short with your responses when in a conversation. You will make a decision based on the right methodical answer and not on gut instinct. You are reserved and enjoy not taking the limelight.
Expressive: You like shiny things and you love to talk about how shiny things are and how they make you feel. You can be very loud at times and more often or not, you like to be the centre of attention. Your personality is strong and can be infectious when in a particular mood. You are humorous and never like a situation to be dark or ominous.
It’s one thing to be able to identify what someone’s personality type is and another to be able to understand how to interact with them. So, here’s how:
Let’s say, you have a really good idea to increase the overall wellbeing of staff at the company that you work at by offering free yoga classes once a week. You take your idea to your manager. How do you present it to them?
If your manager is a driver: Explain why you are there and let them know it will only take a couple of minutes. Don’t ramble but present your idea with all costs associated. Explain that this could improve the culture and leave it at that. They won’t take long to make a decision so just be patient.
If your manager is amiable: Ask them how their day is going and if they have had any stress for the week. Explain to them how you and the team have been feeling and how you have noticed that morale could be lifted in the workplace. Tell them that you have had this really good idea about how yoga classes could assist with this issue. Throw in a joke and have a laugh. Tell them that there is no rush and they can do some research and get back to you when they are ready.
If your manager is analytical: Bring stats. Show the forecasted investment for the financial year. Share the statistics you have found with regards to how yoga will improve overall wellbeing. Put together a graph or mini presentation. Be slow and articulate with your pitch and don’t wait for an answer straight away. Let them know that they can think about it and get back to you soon.
If your manager is expressive: You are walking into that room with a presentation that is so slick, innovative and eye-catching. You play background music to lift the mood and hit play on the presentation. It has a similar feel to Google headquarters and the people, equipment and surroundings are flashy and cutting edge. You use buzz words, are loud but professional and let them feel that it is their idea and what a great idea it is!
While the above is a guideline, it is a good indication of ways that you can attempt at getting along with all types of personalities you may come across in the workplace and how to utilize your superpower!