The 4 Different Personality Types
My co-founder recently talked about being a socially awkward founder. Supposedly, I'm a "natural" people person. I've learned to become natural through understanding how to effectively communicate with people. It's not that I'm a natural, it's that my parents taught me about personality types when I was young.
They read books about personality and broke down the content to me. This post is that information broken down in an easily consumed format. If you would like to read more I have listed books, with affiliate links, in the reference section.
To understand how to communicate with someone effectively, it's important to understand the concept of personality types. After understanding the high-level personality types, you can triage people within 30 seconds and understand how to communicate with them easier. Note, this is not NLP. That is a discussion for another day.
Skip this if you don't care
People types have been around a long time. Originally called the four temperaments by Hippocrates, they establish the four archetypes of people's personalties. It was expanded by Myers-Brigg personality test which is overly complicated.
At any given time someone can be any of the four, but people typically feel most natural in one. The archetype that people fall into is easy to recognize once you understand the four and you can change your posture and language accordingly, once you identify what personality you are dealing with.
Before proceeding, it is important to note that some of the language used to describe the personalties may sound negative. The language that is used should not be looked at in a negative way. One of the personality types is not better than the other three. Each type is just different, and different approaches should be taken to communicate to each of them.
The way I will present the personality types is with the Merrill-Wilson breakdown. There is also Meyers-Briggs (more complex) and the classic Four Temperaments. The Merrill-Wilson has the best ROI. Simple to understand and identify fast.
The four personality types are: Driver, Expressive, Amiable, and Analytical. There are two variables to identify any personality: Are they better at facts & data or Relationships? And are they introverted or extroverted.
- Driver - Fact-Based Extrovert
- Analytical - Fact-Based Introvert
- Amiable - Relationship Introvert
- Expressive - Relationship Extrovert
Note: Most people will have major and minor type. Identify the major type and talk to that type.
Most sitcoms and dramas have each of these personality types represented. With each breakdown of the personalities I will give you an example, that should help give you a full understanding of the character type.
Drivers are very strong personalities. Typically they have a go-get-it-done or whatever-it-takes personality. They can seem very dominant and are quick to take action. The negative is they can sometimes come across as stubborn or arrogant. Sometimes the personality type can come across as brash, running over others in order to get things accomplished.
Most people reading this blog post from HackerNews will fit with this personality type. Analytical types are constantly assessing, determining pros and cons, making lists of to do items. Analytical types are constantly asking questions, almost to the point of getting too much information. Others see them as talented with brilliant ideas. However, they can suffer from analysis paralysis, over analyzing situations too much. If you have ever made a list of "doing things the right way" you are an Analytical.
"Natural" people persons. They enjoy socializing and talking. They are great story tellers and often over commit themselves by attempting to please people. They also are good at communicating vision, getting others exited about ideas and issues. However, they sometimes cannot be relied upon to get things done.
The most calm, flat-type personality. Amiable types are laid back and are hard to excite. They seem to constantly be relaxed and desire a peaceful environment over anything else. They will go out of there way to to upset people. In fact, their indifference can often upset the people they are trying to appease. They will often wait until the last minute to make decisions and will often go with what everyone else is doing. They are deeply emotional individuals that want harmony.
If you want to know more about effectively communicating with each personality type, I have included affiliate links to the books my parents used to teach me these concepts. Although, these books are helpful on first read, I read them once a year to remind myself how to effectively communicate my ideas with each of the four different personality types.
Written: June 11, 2012