Aristotle wrote that knowing yourself is the beginning of wisdom. In any relationship, whether it be work or professional, we need to feel that we have “enough” control over our lives and ability in getting our needs met. A life skill is being able to assert what we need and to “train” others to treat us with the respect and consideration that we deserve. To do this we have to believe that we are deserving, capable and worthy of getting respect. We need to be aware that if we don’t mindfully train people to treat us with respect then by default we may be doing it unconsciously. Thus, the question must be asked: If I am not getting the respect or consideration I want – how am I training people to treat me? For example if one is “too” nice, he or she trains people to take advantage of them. What we experience in our relationships, whether it be work or personal is a co-creation. When there is a conflict, each plays a role in the situation non one wants. Yet we are all too often blind to how we impact others while acutely aware of how the other person affects us.
Throughout History from the Greeks to modern day, there appear to be four primary personality types. Although there are differences in ways they are described with some approaches having more depth and others describing similar aspects of personality in differing ways .. there is a striking thread that is common to each.
Below are the four quadrants that people fall under:
Expressive, creative, Free Spirited orientation.
Relationship people orientation _________________|_____________________ Driver, results orientation
(Soft Skills) | (Hard skills)
Analytical, detail, task orientation
Most of us are a combination of two. I bet y0u can pretty much pinpoint where you are on the grid. For instance, I fit more in the relationship and expressive quadrant which is ideal for my work as a coach, trainer, writer and speaker/teacher.
We can’t know our selves until we know others and we can’t know others unless we know ourselves. The maxim “know thyself” goes as far back as Socrates and is as important today as it was then. Psychologist James Hollis stated, “The prevailing source of conflict between individuals arises from differences in personal typologies” With the knowledge of your template and insight into others template you can better relate, parent, manage, motivate, mentor, develop and work with others who are different than you. Had I known this when I was a sales trainer, I could have doubled the universe of people I was effective with. Also by understanding our own template of how we view relationships, work and our communication style, we are in a position to have greater empathy, handle conflict more productively and be better able to form more collaborative working relationships as well as more rewarding personal ones.
A hallmark of psychological maturity is being able to fully accept yourself. This enables us to be able to better accept others. When we are healthy, we are able to be flexible in dealing with others and willing to own how we impact those around us. If we slight or hurt someone, the appropriate response is to feel remorse and work at making things right. Judging someone means we don’t understand them. Typically we screen out the data or qualities that don’ match our judgement and act in ways that make the other person behave to justify how we already feel. When we are able to let go of judging and be more “accepting” we can better deal with behaviors that may be unacceptable or counterproductive rather than blaming or shutting someone down.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow discovered – when our relationship needs are met we are freed to pursue higher levels needs like meaning and purpose. For workplaces to be more productive and to be able to foster higher performing teams and ‘Peak Performance; ” a supportive environment allows individuals to work at higher levels of complexity”. Kurt Fischer PhD ( Harvard)
With most conflict arsing out of simple differences in personality type, I am convinced that we all can “learn” how to better get along with each other. The next blog posting will address how each type deals with stress and how each may “trigger” the other into anger anger or withdrawal. Stay tuned!