Different personalities and how to work with them.
You are unique, but so is everyone else…
Do you sometimes feel like the people around you do not understand you at all…?
If so, you’re not the only one.
Considering the number of factors that influence the way our personality and behavioural patterns develop over time; it is almost impossible to fully understand it. Or at least, it is very, very unlikely. This applies to everyone, no matter your gender, nationality, upbringing, environment, or any other aspect of your life.
After all, we are all ‘one of a kind’…
You might ask then – is there a way to somehow bridge these gaps of misunderstanding? Luckily, there is. Although imperfect, there are many tools designed by psychologists, philosophers, and scientists of all kinds, built for the sole purpose of creating a connection where such connection is due. And most of them rely on self-understanding.
Because if you understand yourself in all your glory and disgrace, you are more than likely to understand and appreciate others in theirs…
This ‘type’ of thought.
The idea of ‘personality types’ dates back to Ancient Greece, where Hippocrates in 460BC coined the term ‘persona’, which in his opinion could be divided into four major categories. Of course, since this initial hypothesis an abundance of knowledge, scientific research, and experiments have been accumulated. Thinkers like Wilhelm Wundt, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung were but a few of the contributors to the idea of human psychology we are aware of today. Ever since this thought of ‘the innate nature and predisposition’ of everyone was pursued, a copious number of different tests have been developed.
Now, in the twenty-first century, with the great power of knowledge available ‘on demand’ through the internet, we can access these eye-opening tools, and understand ourselves better than we ever could before.
Personalities vary, but there are similarities.
Over the centuries of research, the amassed data has been compiled and assessed creating streams of available analysis of ones’ personality type. Although these tools might vary between one another, whether in the number of ‘possible choices’ or focus on one life aspect over the other, there is no doubt that the variety cannot be fully catalogued. We are just too different.
Luckily, thanks to thorough research and wise choices of emphasis, we can participate in these tests together and gain results that will (in all their imperfection) bring us closer to the understanding of one another.
This also means understanding how we work, live, and interact with each other.
And there is much more to that than one could expect…
‘Jung’s Personalities’ theory explained.
As mentioned before, due to the vast number of sources and works that have been done on the subject, I am forced to choose one for the sake of explanation and provision of an example. That is why, please pay in mind that this is but one out of many options for the ‘personality types’ division and should not be considered the best one.
In short, Carl Jung created his typology on the idea of two groups: personality attitudes and functions. When it comes to personality attitudes, Jung decided to divide people’s nature into one of an extrovert and an introvert. Moreover, each of the four functions comes under either of the two groups: rational (or judging) and irrational (or perceiving); and will be considered the base for the four personality types.
Imagine for a moment, that on a piece of paper you draw two perpendicular lines. Each of the quarters, which these lines have divided the paper into, symbolise one of the four personality types. The right side of the vertical line is the ‘extroverted side’, whereas the left side represents ‘the introverts’. This division enables individuals to consider whether they are more focused on the outer (extrovert) or the inner (introvert) world. Now let us look at the horizontal line and apply the second division – the two upper squares are defined by the rational (a.k.a. judging), whereas the bottom two represent the irrational (a.k.a. perceiving). This way, we have divided the four squares into a tool, with which one can try and figure out their personality type.
Let us look at the four types, and understand how one should address these different personalities to make the most of the relationship.
Four personalities and what do they stand for…
Let’s start with the top two quadrants on the board, which you’ve just drawn.
The top left represents an ‘introvert thinker’ – an analytical mind. This is the type of personality that thrives when well informed and prefers to work behind the scenes. They are very thoughtful, task-focused, and work great under pressure.
When it comes to the top right corner, one can consider this type to be a ‘thinking extrovert’ – a task-oriented leader. The representative attitude of such individuals is high activity, willingness to work with others, and keeping their focus strictly on the factual data. They are likely to share their opinions bluntly and can be convinced to a different approach only with supportive evidence.
The top two quadrants are likely to work efficiently as a team since their focus on the details and facts takes precedence over empirical knowledge and social interaction.
Below the horizontal line, we can find the two remaining types.
The bottom left quadrant represents the ‘introverted empathetic’ person – a team player. Their focus is shifted from thinking and analysing to feeling, which makes them great at keeping their calm and reflecting on the situation through intuition. They favour consensus and harmony, and would much rather work in a positive, cooperative environment than in a competitive setting.
The bottom right corner is reserved for the ‘empathetic extrovert’ – a people’s person, who values their social circles and entertainment much higher than task completion. These easy-going, highly enthusiastic individuals thrive when put in a team-working environment with a high ability to explore different solutions.
The bottom two quadrants are likely to complement one another when put into a cooperative environment.
What about you…?
At this point, I am sure you would like to know where this puts you.
Well, do you know which quadrant is yours already…?
Often, two types will appeal to your nature more than others, with one feeling particularly appropriate. Take a moment and think which one it would be…
To make it easier, consider these few general adjectives matched with the four types.
Introvert thinker: cautious, precise, questioning, and formal.
Extrovert thinker: competitive, demanding, determined, and purposeful.
Introvert empathetic: caring, sharing, patient, and relaxed.
Extrovert empathetic: sociable, dynamic, enthusiastic, and persuasive.
By now, you should have a general idea of where you are on the scale. You might also be able to spot where your family members or friends would fit. Please keep these in mind, while I get to the subject of freelancing…
Due to a high level of uncertainty and ‘freedom of choice’ being one of the highest valued needs, freelancers are likely to be associated with the right side of the diagram. It takes a lot of dedication, resilience, and self-reliance to manage the challenges of self-employment.
This does not mean, however, that you are not fit for freelancing if you’re not an extrovert. Thanks to the copious number of online resources and easily accessible tools, you can thrive as a freelancer whatever your personality is.
It will prove to be of great value to yourself to acknowledge and address your type’s strengths and weaknesses. The best way to go about working on your ‘Achilles’ heel’ is to delegate them. Consider finding a freelancer to work with, or decide to outsource that, which causes you trouble. Either way, become aware of your situation, as the only way to overcome a hurdle is to identify it.
As you might notice by now, there is plenty to be said on the topic of personalities; trying to address their differences demands much more than an article. That is true, but it might not be as difficult as it may seem. The trick is to understand and recognise our and each other’s needs.
By becoming more self-aware, you will be able to empathise more with others and improve your working relationship with them.
So, think about it…
How can you make sure you understand your co-workers’ needs…?
Whether it’s a personality test, a team-building activity, or a simple chat, realising each other’s attitudes and needs will strengthen your team and pay off in the long run…
If you liked this article…
This article is the first in a series of 2 exclusive articles written about personality types and the workplace. The second one is being released next week, keep an eye out to make sure you don’t miss it!
In the meantime, check out this similar article; ‘How do high-performing plan their day?‘.
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