Adding Discernment with Personality Profiles

Table of contents for Discerning People’s Character

  1. Safety in Discernment
  2. Benefiting From Discernment
  3. Adding Discernment with Personality Profiles

You can increase your discernment in business relationships and personal interactions through an understanding of the basic personality types.

(This is Part 3 in this Post. Please use the above links if you have not yet read Parts 1 and 2.) There are a couple of well-known charts or profiles that explain personality types. Becoming aware of the tendencies in other people’s personalities can help you discern more clearly, for example, which people tend to be manipulative or strong-willed, which would greatly affect your business dealings. Or, these profiles can also help you be more aware of your own tendencies so you know which personalities are more difficult for you to deal with in long-term relationships. I trust these 2 lists will increase your ability to have wisdom and discernment in your business and other interpersonal relationships.

This is a great definition from Emotional Competency.com explaining how the categorization of personality traits is beneficial to discernment.

Personality traits are intrinsic differences that remain stable throughout most of our life. They are the constant aspects of our individuality. Each individual behaves according to certain distinctive patterns throughout a variety of situations…Also, you have probably observed that these various behaviors stay with the person consistently over time and throughout a variety of circumstances. These persistent behavior patterns, called personality traits, are stable over time, consistent in a variety of situations, and differ from one individual to the next.(1)

This first list of 4 Personality Types is one of the most well-known and is commonly used for career planning or staff relations/management.

I found a great, simplified summary in a excerpt from a book by Tim Bryce for helping young adults adapt to the workplace. It sounds like a great book. See the footnote below for more info on Tim and his book. Here is Mr. Bryce’s summary of the 4 personality types using the letter system:

Type “A” Personality – Is a highly independent and driven personality, typically representing the leaders in business. They are blunt, competitive, no-nonsense types who like to get to the point. They are also strong entrepreneurial spirits (risk takers). As such, they embrace change and are always looking for practical solutions for solving problems.

Type “B” Personality – Represents highly extroverted people who love the spotlight. Because of this, they are very entertaining and possess strong charisma (everyone likes to be around them). Small wonder these people are sales and marketing types. They thrive on entertaining people and are easily hurt if they cannot sway someone.
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Type “C” Personality – The antithesis of Type “B”; they are introverted detailists as represented by such people as accountants, programmers, and engineers. They may have trouble communicating to other people, but are a whirlwind when it comes to crunching numbers or writing program code. They tend to be very cautious and reserved, and will not venture into something until after all the facts have been checked out.

Type “D” Personality – Is best characterized as those people who resist any form of change and prefer the tedium of routine, such as in clerical assignments. They are not adventurous, resist responsibility and prefer to be told what to do.(2)

When discerning personality types, keep in mind that while it may be obvious which personality type you yourself are or the people with whom you interact, each person can have some characteristics of the other personality types.

As for using these basic categories to discern people’s character, realize, for example, that the Type B charismatic personality which is good in sales, is a very persuasive person; it is easy to fall for his or her charm and make decisions based on the person’s charisma rather than what is actually best for you. Similarly, in doing business with a Type A personality, you need to be up to the challenge of their bluntness and forcefulness. They tend to bulldoze over people to accomplish the goals they visualize. If entering into business or other interaction with Type A personality, is it a person who can temper those tendencies enough to seriously consider your goals and proposals?

Mr. Bryce makes a helpful work-related observation in his book that you may want to consider when choosing business or other long-term relationships:

It is not uncommon to find people with a blend of personalities, particularly A-B and C-D. But these basic personality types explain why some people work well together and others do not. For example Type-A clashes with Type-D simply because one is more adventurous than the other, and Type-B clashes with Type-C as one exhibits an extroverted personality and the other is introverted. Conversely Type-A works well with Type-B, and Type-C works well with Type-D. The leveling factor between these different personality types is Common Courtesy… (2)

Here is a second Personality Trait list. Between the two, you should have a good basis for discerning your own tendencies and those of the people around you.

Extraversion encompasses such more specific traits as talkative, energetic, and assertive.
Agreeableness includes traits like sympathetic, kind, and affectionate.
Conscientiousness includes traits like organized, thorough, and a planner.
Neuroticism includes traits like tense, moody, and anxious.
Openness to Experience includes traits like having wide interests, and being imaginative and insightful.(3)

This web article by the University of Oregon also provided a link to the following personality quizzes if you are interested.

You can fill out a free questionnaire and get instant, personalized feedback at www.outofservice.com.(3)

(1) Personality Traits by EmotionalCompetency.com

(2) Excerpts from the book, “MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD – A Handbook for Entering the Work Force: a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life. Tim Bryce, Web Author as well as Director of a management consulting firm specializing in Information Resource Management (IRM). He is available for lecturing, training and consulting on an international basis.

(3) Measuring the Big Five Personality Factors by Sanjay Srivastava .

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