This week at work we had a staff training session that was focussed on identifying differing personalities and how they liked to be communicated with, and working accordingly.
We were split into groups and had to conduct a series of role plays. One of the tasks was to draw a stick figure of yourself and write some points on how you felt you communicated with people. We then had to turn the paper over and draw the figure again, but this time we were given a pile of post it’s and had to go around and put notes on other people’s stick figures, to say how we thought they communicated. The task was to see how many of your own ones mirrored that of your peers, and it was really interesting. I got some really conflicting points, and as the new girl, it was clear who I had taken the time to talk to and who I hadn’t really got into a dialogue with yet. The people closest to me in the office described me as confident, approachable and a good listener, while the people I hadn’t spoken to had one resounding comment. Shy.
I’m not really shy at all, however in a group situation if I don’t feel confident I tend to take a step back. I can be quite opinionated but often don’t feel comfortable saying what I think in front of strangers, and I tend to be very defensive when it comes to criticism. My nearest and dearest know this about me and I am working on taking constructive comments less to heart, but for this reason I tend to sit quietly when out of my comfort zone.
Another task that we were given was to go through a tick sheet and tick any words that we felt described our personalities. The words were divided up into four sections, but we were specifically told not to think too much about it, simply ticking words that we felt were pertinent to us.
When we were done we totalled up each category and found that we were specific to one type of person. Personalities were directors, presenters, strategists and mediators. Which do you think I fell into?
Directors: like to be in control. Results orientated. Quick to set goals and work hard to achieve them. Strengths are that they can make decisions quickly, do what is necessary to succeed, natural leader and highly creative, but their weaknesses are that they are lone rangers, can be judgemental and dominating.
Presenters: love to talk, excellent communicators, crowd pleasers, empathetic with other people, and are an ideas factory. Their weaknesses however are that they may not always be taken seriously, like to be appreciated and they don’t manage either time or money well.
Mediators: the person that everyone likes. Good listeners, sense of humour, predictable, open and honest. Their weaknesses are that they don’t like surprises, may be difficult to get to know and are overly sensitive to criticism.
Strategist: likes people, but not in large groups, clear communicators, like to think things through. They tend to be critical, slow to action and worry a lot.
It turns out that I sit firmly on the fence between two of these personality traits; one more in a work environment and one more in my personal relationships. Did you guess? I fell quite clearly between the presenter and the mediator which I found to be strange as some of the qualities completely contradict one another. The lady running the class said this was quite natural and a lot of people found that they fell clearly between two ‘types’ of personality.
But it made me think a lot about how we aren’t little islands in the sea, and how the way we like to be treated in our personalities affects the way we interact with other people. I had a bit of a confidence knock in the winter of 2011, and my personality seems to have changed a little. I tend to be a lot more nervous nowadays, second guessing things that don’t need worrying about and stressing unnecessarily. I am however fairly confident that once I have been to America I will get my groove back and return to the more fun, less worried person I was in the summer. It’s very unlike me, but 2012 feels like a lucky year, so I look forward to it!
How would you define your personality? What traits from these groups do you think you show?