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In people-oriented businesses such as insurance and banking, it is critical to establish rapport quickly with prospects, clients and colleagues. You can do that sooner and more effectively when you understand why people act as they do. Studying personality types reveals how you perceive others and how they perceive you. Matching your style to theirs makes you more relatable, so you can interact more comfortably.

You can define “personality styles” in endless ways, but one of the most-respected resources for this is the DiSC Dimensions of Behavior, which identifies four personality types:

 

Driver

Called this because they are driven to succeed, these employees believe results and winning are everything. They are risk-takers and good problem-solvers. Their desk may be crowded, but it’s ordered into piles.

Drivers prefer learning on their own, and since they are action-oriented, they are often bored in meetings and impatient with others. They can seem rude or pushy because they talk fast, present their opinions as “how things are,” and may be demanding.

Be straight-forward with them – they speak directly and expect you to do the same.

 

Analytical

These folks are well-organized, systematic and deliberate. They love facts and figures. Sometimes seen as “uptight” or overly-cautious, their desk may be empty except for their current work, and they probably clear it every day before going home. Analyticals relate well to deadlines and prefer working on their own.

They may seem cold or distant, but they’re simply focused elsewhere. So skip the chit-chat and get to the point. Give them detailed information, not generalities or opinions.

 

Expressive

High-energy, enthusiastic and impulsive, expressives are “big picture” people good at brain-storming. They tend to talk a lot, often using dramatic language and exaggerations. Their desk is a mess, not only with work. They like working with others and can be very influential.

Expressives are good at starting things, but you will probably have to prod them to complete projects.

 

Amiable

Sometimes called “people pleasers,” amiables are generally soft-spoken and non-threatening. They can be very loyal employees. Their work space is highly personalized, with family photos, knickknacks, posters or other “atmosphere” items, but they know exactly where things are on their desk.

They like working in groups but can be hesitant to offer opinions, preferring to listen and absorb before speaking. On the other hand, they make decisions quickly.

Play to their “people” side by noticing their personal effects and engaging in friendly small talk.

 

Of course, nobody is entirely one type.

Humans are complex organisms, and there are other factors at play, whatever your predominant personality style. You might:

  • Be an introvert or an extrovert.
  • Focus on information itself or prefer to analyze it.
  • Make logic-based decisions or consider “human” factors, too.
  • Prefer to make decisions promptly and move on or wait and see what additional information might become available.

 

Why know all this?

Some employers include personality testing in their hiring process, to glean insight about job candidates and existing employees. You can also use it as an immensely fun and instructive team-building exercise, or encourage working groups within your firm to get together and informally learn more about each other’s behavioral tendencies.  What they learn can be seriously valuable, but approaching it from the lighter side will encourage participation and self-revelation.

It’s amazing what you will learn — about yourself as well as co-workers. You’ll be able to work better internally and work better individually with clients, vendors and others outside your firm.

When you can sense someone’s personal style and at-work “comfort zone,” you can establish stronger, more successful relationships. You can be more understanding, too – that guy down the hall (or that client) who drives you nuts? Now you know why. The problem isn’t him, it’s how you view and respond to him.

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