“Personality has power to uplift, power to depress, power to curse, and power to bless.” ~Paul Harris
What’s your type?
And I’m not asking what type you’d prefer to date. Let’s talk personality.
This next step in our “30 Steps to a Better You” series was covered extensively in my book, “It’s Complicated.” Knowing your personality type (and how that fits with the personality types of others) is an integral part of better understanding ourselves and improving our relationships.
Essentially, there are four basic personality types – Promoter, Supporter, Controller, and Analyzer. While there may be some overlap (you could be a promoter type with some controller tendencies) most of us tend to fall into one of those four distinct categories.
From the site “Maximum Advantage,” here’s a more detailed description of the four types:
The Controller: The Controller is easy to spot because they just want the facts and nothing but the facts. Because of this, many times they can be perceived as bossy and insensitive. The Controller is extremely goal oriented and their major motivation is to get things done. They’ll take a project and run with it. Many times they won’t even have a plan when they begin. They’ll just forge ahead with an attitude of “we’ll figure it out as we go.” The Controller paints with a broad brush and has little use for details, so don’t give them any more details than are absolutely necessary to get your point across.
The Promoter: You know the Promoter…they’re the life of the party and lots of fun. They love people and love to talk. Their natural sociability allows them to talk for long periods of time about almost anything. They have an attractive personality and are the life of the party. They are enthusiastic, curious, and expressive.
The Supporter: The person with a Supporter communication style typically has a low key personality and is calm, cool and collected. They tend to be patient, well balanced and happily reconciled with life. Supporters are the largest percentage of the population and they are typically competent and steady workers who do not like to be involved in conflict. When there is conflict they may be called upon to mediate the problem. They are good listeners and usually have many friends. One of their major motivations is to avoid offending anyone.
The Analyzer: These are the “facts and figures” people. They love to gather details and organize things. They tend to be deep, thoughtful, analytical, serious and purposeful. Because their communication style includes a need for details, they sometimes hesitate to make decisions if they feel that they don’t have enough facts. They love lists, charts, graphs and figures. Because they pay so much attention to details, they can sometime be seen as being pessimistic. Many times they are frugal or economical.
Now, what type are you? Linguistics and psychology expert Paul Endress offers a quick way of evaluating which one is your type by simply asking two questions. (If you find yourself struggling with the right answer, just enlist the help of someone who knows you well about what category they think you fall in using this same short quiz.):
1. Are you more people oriented or task oriented?
In other words, do you feel more comfortable dealing with tasks, schedules, objects, projects, and results? OR do you feel more comfortable dealing with people, groups and peers?
[ ] Task [ ] People
2. Are do you tend to focus more the large picture or on details?
Do you find yourself always wanting to be in charge, in the lime-light and finding things to take over? OR are you the more laid-back, relaxing, don’t mind, complying attitude?
[ ] Big picture [ ] Details
(You can also learn your type by taking this more detailed online quiz.)
If you’re task oriented and focused on “the big picture,” you’re a “Controller.”
If you’re people oriented and focused on “the big picture,” you’re a “Promoter.”
If you’re task oriented and focused on the details, you’re an “Analyzer.”
If you’re people oriented and focused on the details, you’re a “Supporter.”
Each type has its pluses and minuses. Controller’s get the job done, but can alienate others in the process. Promoters tend to be a lot of fun, but at times lack focus and don’t finish what they start. Analyzers are great at executing but get lost in the details, and Supporters get along with almost everyone, but struggle with making their own decisions, often to their detriment.
Once you know your type you can apply that to a multitude of things – from how you interact with others at work to who you choose to befriend or date. Controllers get along great with promoters and analyzers, but their thirst for order and organization often clashes with supporter types. Promoters, ever the life of the party, get along great with controllers and supporters, but find analyzers to be giant buzz kills with their attention to detail in the face of their good time. But even in the personalities you potentially clash with, by understanding your type (and theirs) you can improve on your communication skills with those types by better understanding your weaknesses and working around potential communication pratfalls. Promoters can focus on becoming better listeners instead of simply enjoying the sound of their own voice; supporters can learn to speak up for themselves; analyzers can become more patient with other’s emotions.
For this week’s homework, find out what’s your personality type by using the information above. Outline your strengths and weakness to better understand how you can improve how you communicate and work with others.
If you haven’t read the previous Step (#7) on how to assess your friends, click here.