Have you ever found yourself asking one of these questions? (To yourself or maybe even to me?)
- Why study personalities?
- Isn’t this just another way of stereotyping people?
- If people are “unique” why try to label them?
- How would this really help me?
Great questions. Obviously I am passionate about understanding personality types or I wouldn’t write books about and travel all over to teach workshops and give seminars. I have seen the difference that this knowledge has made in my own life, and that is why I continue to study and teach about personalities.
The funny thing about stereotypes is that often they are rooted in truth. And yes, people are unique….but research and experience also tells us that there are some general patterns that tend to be true. If you understand these patterns and look for them in yourself and in others, you just might be able to understand people better.
So how does this help in “real life” situations?
I feel very fortunate to work in a business/industry where for the most part I get to choose the clients I work with. As a Red/Yellow, I could decide that I only want to work with other Red/Yellows…people who think like me. But not only is that limiting in a practical and financial sense, I have the ability to understand other personality types, so why not work with different people? Instead of seeing other personalities and wondering how I can make them understand my strengths and my needs…why not embrace their unique strengths?
Last weekend I worked with a couple who were both very Green. As a Red, I could have become very frustrated by some of the lack of information or decisions made late in the planning process. Instead, I chose to see their strengths. They were easy going. They were nice. They cared about the guests who were there with them and were flexible enough to change things when it seemed to be in the best interest of others. I can work with that.
I have almost no Blue traits whatsoever. It would be easy for me to shy away from working with Blue clients. But what if I could embrace their “Blueness” (figuratively speaking, of course) and learn to love all the extra questions, the bullet pointed lists, and the extra attention to detail? That shouldn’t overwhelm me…that should make me grateful.
One answer to the “Why Personalities?” question is simply that focusing on understanding others helps make me a better person.
How about you? Why did you finish reading this article? How does this help you in business and in life?