Discover Yourself – Cultural Implications on Personality Types

Personality Assessments and Culture
One important issue in the area of personality research is how universal personality traits are. Is it really true that people from Germany are more organized than most, or that people from Canada are more polite? Are US Americans naturally better leaders? These questions are part of a field called cross-cultural psychology, which is about examining how universal personality constructs are. For those interested in personality testing, it’s worth learning about the degree to which information from personality tests can be applied to people from other cultures as well as our own.

Personality Assessments and Culture

Most personality tests are developed in Northern America or Western Europe, and this affects how questions are conceptualized and framed. It might seem like a personality test should work equally well for different people across different cultures, but sometimes that is not the case. The first step in applying a personality test across cultures is to translate the test into another language, but this is already a challenge. The exact translation of particular words can cause difficulties, such as trying to decide how exactly to translate a question about happiness – which could refer to contentment, joviality, positive outlook, or overall life satisfaction. Depending on how exactly the word is translated, it affects how people answer the question. This means it is often hard to compare results of personality tests across cultures, even when the same test is used. This can be done correctly, however, if approached very carefully.

A further problem is with the way that personality tests refer to certain conditions or experiences. If a test asks someone whether they “feel under the weather”, for example, this idiom will not be equally understood everywhere and will be interpreted differently by people of different cultures. Therefore, personality tests are designed to be as clear as possible while still capturing the essential features of experience that are relevant to personality.

Cultural Limitations of Personality Tests

More recently, personality assessment tools from other cultures have been developed and shared internationally, such as the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory which was developed in Hong Kong in the 1990s. This test is specifically aimed at assessing personality among Chinese people by referring to specific constructs which are important in Chinese culture but are not addressed by Western personality tests, such as harmony, modernization, graciousness versus meanness, and face.

In clinical terms, one construct that is present in the CPAI but absent in most Western scales is somatization, which refers to the tendency to manifest psychological symptoms through physical pains, ailments, or disabilities. Somatization is a fairly rare symptom in Western psychiatry and psychology and so is often not included on clinical scales, while it is relatively common in China and so an important factor to measure when looking at personality in this culture.

The reason that we find different expressions of personality, and especially different expressions of mental illness and distress, in different cultures is due to social norms around the expression of emotions and experiences. In China, there is still a degree of stigmatization of mental illness and a general aversion to describing negative psychological experiences. Therefore, when people feel bad they are more likely to say that they have a headache or that they are tired.

In Western cultures, where there is more of an emphasis on psychological self-examination and sharing, people would be more likely to describe themselves as depressed or unhappy. This means that the same experience (such as low mood, lack of motivation, lack of energy) might be described as a physical affliction by a Chinese person (“I have a headache”) but as a psychological issue by a US American person (“I am feeling depressed”). This shows that personality can’t be studied as removed from culture – because culture has a huge impact on not only the formation of our personalities but also the way that we talk about our experiences.

How Culture Affects Personality Tests

Beyond the methods and wording of personality assessments, there can also be big cultural differences in personality types. For example, consider the question: “Do you prefer to work on your own or as part of a group?” In cultures which emphasize individualism, such as the US, people will be more likely to answer that they like to work on their own. In cultures which emphasize collectivism, such as Japan, people will be more likely to answer that they like to work as part of a group. This is both because norms of each culture suggest that one answer is more appropriate than the other, and because people will likely have more experience in working in a style which is concordant with their culture.

This gets at part of the fundamental issue with personality testing, in that it may be true that more US Americans like to work independently and more Japanese people like to work in a group. However, this doesn’t mean that there is something inherent in being born in a particular place which means that a person will develop a certain personality type. Rather, it means that culture affects personality by making some choices more common and acceptable than others.

All Personality Types Can Be Found In All Cultures

Another important thing to realize about personality differences across cultures is that this refers to trends, not exclusive categories. For example, the people in one country may tend more towards introversion and the people in another country may tend more towards extroversion. This means that there will be a higher percentage of either introverts or extroverts in a given country – however, there will always be a mix of both personality styles in any large enough group. Similarly, there are some differences between the distribution of personality traits between men and women – but we could never say that “all men are like this” or “all women are like that”. When working with personality data, we are identifying traits, not rules.

To learn more about how personality assessments can help at work and elsewhere in life, and how the Insights Discovery profile has addressed these cultural assessment issues, visit www.discoveryourself.com. And next time I’ll be discussing how to use insights from Jungian psychology to work more effectively as a team, so check back soon for that!

Discover Yourself – Effective Listening

management and psychology
In business, learning to listen to others is a crucial skill, especially when working in management. Whether we’re speaking with our employees, our clients, or with the upper management team, we must strive to hone our communication skills in terms of both conveying information and taking information in.

Today we’re going to discuss an approach called effective listening, also known as active listening. We’ll also share some practical tips to improve active listening skills.

Do we really listen?

Most people think that they are a good listener. A study by William Haney from the 1970s asked over 13,000 people from various organizations to compare their listening skills with others who they worked with. The results showed that virtually every person thought that they communicated as well as or better than almost everyone else in their organization. Of course, this is not how averages work! In reality, a study by Husman and colleagues from the 1980s found that most people listen at just 25% efficiency. Other studies since then have found that we only take in about 25 – 50% of what we hear.

There’s obviously a big gap between us judging ourselves to be excellent listeners and the reality that we hear less than half of what is said to us. We tend to overestimate our listening skills in part because communication takes place between at least two people, making it difficult to gauge whether we are communicating effectively without input from the other party. Another issue is the lack of clear objective criteria for assessing whether communication has been successful. Overall, this ubiquitous overestimation suggests that while we all agree that listening is important, we also don’t generally feel a need to improve our own listening skills.

Why effective listening matters

This gap between how we perceive our listening skills to be and how our listening skills actually are can cause serious issues in the workplace and elsewhere. Managers should strive to understand the employee perspective as well as the information being shared, even if the method used to convey this information is somewhat less than crystal clear.

Effective listening not only helps to diffuse conflicts and deal with problems, it also helps foster a greater understanding between managers and employees. It allows us to hone in on the subtle cues that help us assess a person’s strengths and weaknesses, thereby allowing us to formulate positive responses that will be most effective in encouraging and motivating them.

What is effective listening?

What exactly is effective listening, and how is it different from regular listening? A study in the Harvard Business Review analyzed the behavior of nearly 3,500 participants and found common patterns of behavior among the most effective listeners:

  • Effective listening requires active engagement, not just silence. Asking questions establishes a two-way dialogue with the speaker. If we sit in silence, it is hard for the speaker to know if they are being heard. But if we engage and asks for clarification or for more information, that demonstrates to the speaker that their message is clearly understood.
  • Effective listening makes the speaker feel positive. When a person feels listened to in a positive way, their self-esteem rises. In effective listening, we should be supportive and convey confidence in the speaker, even when we don’t necessarily agree with what is being said. The aim of effective listening is not to challenge the speaker or their ideas, but to understand their perspective through the creation of a safe environment.
  • Effective listening is cooperative. While it’s important to not listen in silence, it is equally crucial to pose questions in a way that is not combative or interrogative. We’re not trying to win an argument, but to cooperate in building a consensus of mutual understanding, even when there is disagreement between ourselves and the speaker.
  • Effective listening is proactive. The fact that effective listening is cooperative and not combative doesn’t mean that we can’t provide feedback. In fact, one of the hallmarks of effective listening is providing suggestions to the speaker. When we feel listened to and respected, we become more receptive to suggestions than when those suggestions come from someone who has been combative or argumentative.

In summary, the HBR study found that effective listening is about more than passively absorbing information – it is about letting the speaker bounce their ideas off of us and creating an environment of mutual respect and cooperation.

Methods to listen effectively

Let’s take a look at some practical tips we can use to improve our effective listening while bearing the above points in mind:

  • Maintain good eye contact. Doing so allows us to signal to the speaker that they have our undivided attention.
  • Don’t interrupt. Let the speaker explain in their own time without jumping in while they are talking.
  • Don’t just wait for the next opening to talk. It’s very common to become preoccupied with looking for the next opportunity to speak. Instead, we should always focus on the present and what’s being said.
  • Don’t judge or require justifications. It’s okay to ask clarifying questions, be we should be careful to avoid putting the speaker on the spot to defend their position or otherwise suggest we need to be persuaded to listen further.
  • Use open body language. Maintain forward-facing posture towards the speaker, nod as they speak, use confirmation words like “uh huh,” and smile.
  • Repeat back to the speaker. One popular management technique is to confirm with the speaker. When they have finished, we can say “So if I’m understanding you, you’re saying that…”

Effective listening is critical for becoming a better manager. By implementing these techniques in our everyday communication, we can foster a more productive working environment among our employees, clients and peers.

Learn more about how using Insights Discovery can help you become a better listener, at www.discoveryourself.com

Check back soon for more posts on psychology and management!

Discover Yourself – MBTI vs Discovery

Advantages of Discovery over MBTI (Myers-Briggs)
In our last post we compared two kinds of psychometric assessment that are used in business contexts: Discovery and Disc. Today we’re continuing that theme by comparing two more assessments, looking at Discovery and MBTI. MBTI is one of the most popular forms of personality assessment used by the public, and it is in many ways similar to the Discovery. However, there are key differences between the assessments too. Let’s look at how the two compare so that you can decide which is right for your business needs.

Jung: The basis for both MBTI and Discovery

Both the Insights Discovery assessment and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment (MTBI) are based on the work of psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Jung proposed that there were four key cognitive functions (thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition), each of which could be presented in an introverted (self-directed) or extraverted (world-directed) form.

From these key cognitive functions, a set of personality types can be defined. The idea is that different people will tend to primarily use one type of cognitive function in their interactions with the world, so therefore you can assess which function people use most often in order to describe their personality. Both the MBTI and Discovery take this approach. It’s important to realize that when completing either of these personality assessments, which are typically done in the form of multiple choice questions, that there are no right or wrong answers in either case. Both assessments are non-judgmental of the worth and value of different personality types.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The MBTI is one of the longest-running popular personality assessments, having been in use for more than 70 years. It uses a questionnaire to break down personality into 16 types, with each type given a four-letter designation. These four letters represent the four type preferences, each of which are dichotomous (i.e. they are opposite to each other on a scale):

  • Introverted (I) / Extraverted (E)
  • Intuition (N) / Sensing (S)
  • Thinking (T) / Feeling (F)
  • Perception (P) / Judgment (J)

The idea is that each person will have one aspect of each of these pairs that they tend to use to interact with the world. Introverted means someone more turned inward, who is thought-oriented, and who prefers time alone, while extraverted means someone who is sociable, who is action-oriented, and is attuned to the world around them.

Intuition is the use of your own previous knowledge and experience when gathering information from the world, and being future-oriented, while sensing is more reliant on information that is available in the present moment from the senses, making sensors present-oriented.

Thinking and feeling refer to decision-making functions: thinking is the use of a detached, rational approach that requires weighing data to reach a causal and consistent understanding of the world, while feeling is the use of empathy and association to understand how a situation could appear from the inside, aiming to reach a consensus view that meets the needs of everyone involved.

Finally, a distinction is made between people who have a preference for using their judging functions (thinking or feeling) or for using their perceiving functions (sensing or intuition). People who rely on using their judging functions tend to prefer certainty and like to have matters settled, while people who rely more on their perceiving functions like to keep an open mind and be able to react spontaneously to new information.

For example, one MBTI type is the INTJ which breaks down as follows: introverted (I), intuitive (N), thinking (T), judgment (J). These four letters designate the key aspects of a personality. The two options for each of the four letters can be combined to designate the 16 personality types of the MBTI.

Insights Discovery

As you can see, there is a lot of information contained in an MTBI type. However, the types can be difficult to understand and to remember due to the abstract nature of the four letter designation. The Insights Discovery tool takes a different approach, even though it is based on the same fundamental principles of Jung. The Discovery tool uses the concept of four colors to describe four different styles of personality (precise cool blue, caring earth green, sociable sunshine yellow, and confident fiery red). Within these four broad color types, personalities are assigned to one of 72 subtypes based on Jung’s cognitive functions. Following Jung’s theories, these types include looking at unconscious or less conscious aspects of cognitive processes – unlike MBTI, which focuses only on conscious processes.

Each of the four color descriptions is based on a combination of Jung’s attitudes (extraversion or introversion) and his rational functions (thinking and feeling). However, instead of being given a letter or a name for each combination, the Discovery tool uses the names of colors to make the concepts easier to grasp. Another advantage of the four color approach, as well as being easier to remember, is that it is easier to compare relationships between different color personalities. For example, it’s much more intuitive and easy to understand how a relationship between a cool blue and a fiery red will go than trying to imagine the relationship between an ESTJ and an INFP.

The color concept also allows for crossover between different color types to match the complexity of human personality. For example, the motivator is a description in Discovery for someone who is a mix between fiery red and sunshine yellow, and the coordinator is a mix between earth green and cool blue. These types can be tracked to Jungian functions too if required (the motivator is a term for extraverted intuition and the coordinator is a term for introverted sensing).

Finally, a key difference between MBTI and Discovery is that Discovery information is given in a report that is specially tailored to the needs of businesses, such as giving information about how to best manage a particular personality type. The MBTI tends to give brief general information in its profile, while the Discovery profiles are in-depth and specifically relevant to the world of work.

Our next post will do another comparison of personality assessments – looking at Insights Discovery and Strengthsfinder systems. So check back soon for that, or learn more at www.discoveryourself.com or www.scottstedtalk.com

Personality Types

One way to help people understand their personalities and the personalities of others is to use psychometric assessments which sort people into different personality types. Today we’re going to dive into the basics of one assessment that’s often used in a business context to help managers and co-workers understand each other better: The Insights Discovery system.

Insights Discovery is based on the work of psychologist Carl Jung, and sorts people into four colors, then eight personality types and ultimately into one of 72 unique wheel positions. Let’s talk about each of these distinctions so you can understand more about the Insights Discovery System, and how it can dramatically improve communication.

The Four Colors: Approach and Goals

The four colors used in Insights are cool blue, earth green, sunshine yellow, and fiery red. Each of these colors represents two key related pieces of information: the individual’s outlook on life and the way in which they make decisions. This also impacts the way in which a person is perceived by others.

Cool blue is displayed by someone who is very exacting, who wants everything they do to be to a high standard, who is cautious and thoughtful. They are deliberate in their actions and work within a formal structure. In a group they strive for understanding, and they can be perceived by others as thoughtful and analytical but sometimes distant and unemotional.

Earth green is displayed by someone who is caring and encouraging and who values stability and supporting others. They are happy to share with others and are patient when teaching a new skill. Their ultimate goal is harmony and in a group they foster consensus. They are seen by others as agreeable and relaxed but can also be seen as  mild and docile.

Sunshine yellow is displayed by a person who is fun and loves interacting with others. They value socializing and they are enthusiastic around others, particularly when demonstrating a skill. When working in a group, they desire recognition. They are dynamic and spontaneous, which can lead others to see them as disorganized.

Fiery red is displayed by someone who is action driven, and who is certain and confident. They enjoy a challenge and are often competitive and determined to succeed. This determination means that their goal is achievement and overcoming challenges, however, their single-minded focus can sometimes lead others to see them as impatient.

From Four Colors to Eight Types

Of course, no person is entirely described by one of the colors above: We are all a mix of different traits that we will display differently based on our environment and mood. And, a person can be a mix of different color categories too. From this comes the idea of eight personality types, where in addition to types based on the four colors, there are four more types which represent a blend of two colors.

These eight types map onto the work of Jung, who defined personality as four aspects (sensation, intuition, thinking, and feeling) along one axis (extroversion versus introversion).

The Eight Types: Style and Qualities

The eight types of Jung can be related to the four colors to understand both what a person’s motivation is and how they work in groups, plus understand their underlying personality type. The types are as follows:

Director (fiery red)
Extraverted Thinking
A director is a person who is focused primarily on results. Their biggest priority is to get the most important task they have done to a high standard and on time, and they are not afraid to make big decisions and to implement those decisions assertively. These qualities make them excellent leaders, but they need to be careful so they don’t come across as pushy or impatient.

Motivator (fiery red and sunshine yellow)
Extraverted Intuition
The motivator has the same drive to get results as the director, but this is tempered by an emphasis on positive thinking and a sense of fun. This person has high levels of enthusiasm and can get a group motivated to take on a task or to overcome a challenge. Their ability to enthuse people into implementing plans makes them well suited to roles where they inspire their staff to achieve their goals.

Inspirer (sunshine yellow)
Extraverted Feeling
The inspirer’s greatest strength is their people skills, as they enjoy being around others and have a good understanding of how to motivate and inspire them. But they are not just cheerleaders – they are creative types who can find people-oriented solutions to problems that other people might not think of. Their skill at persuasion can make them good sales people as well as creative team members.

Helper (sunshine yellow and earth green)
Introverted Intuition with Extraverted Sensing
The helper has the sociable aspects of the inspirer but also a more grounded, caring aspect. Instead of wild creativity they have a more solid, supportive, practical approach. They enjoy helping others most of all, and they are willing to be flexible and to see others’ points of view. Their skill at sharing ideas make them excellent mediators as they are good at helping a group to build consensus.

Supporter (earth green)
Introverted Feeling
The supporter is someone who prefers to stay out of the spotlight and to facilitate the work of the group. They are excellent listeners and can empathize with others, so they make good counselors. They are highly loyal to their team, and they like to work supporting others and group rather than just driving results on their own.

Coordinator (earth green and cool blue)
Introverted Sensing
The coordinator is highly organized and puts an emphasis on planning and time management. They have a practical approach to what can be achieved and what steps will be required to implement a plan. They make excellent administrative staff and project managers.

Observer (cool blue)
Introverted Thinking
The observer is detail oriented and cares about everything being correct and defined to a high standard. They are strong at analysis and at meeting rules or guidelines, making them well suited to testing or compliance roles, and really any role that required analytical, practical thought. Often a great fit for legal, financial and technological pursuits.

Reformer (cool blue and fiery red)
Extraverted Sensing with Introverted Intuition

The reformer wants both high standards and strong results, which makes them extremely determined. They have a strength in monitoring performance and discipline, making them well suited to roles where decisions might need to be made based upon logic and data, rather than people and relationships.

If this initial overview has piqued your interest and you want to know more about Jung’s personality types, check back soon as that will be the subject of our next post.  You can also learn more at www.scottstedtalk.com, or www.discoveryourself.com

The Gift and the Curse of a boss who leads with Fiery Red energy!

Fiery Red

Have you ever had a boss that you hate, but sometimes you love them? Well, this love/hate type of feeling you may have for your boss has the potential to turn into far more positive interactions with them, and less negative interactions with them where you walk away feeling horrible and small. How can you achieve this? All you have to do is read up on the Fiery Red energy and master it!

What is Fiery Red energy?

The Fiery Red energy is like no other energy color out there. The red color selected for this energy kind of spills the beans on what personality types this energy is referring to; the fiery part of the name also gives it away.

A person, who leads with Fiery Red energy is always on the move, doesn’t have time for nonsense or small talk, and quite frankly, they do not have time for you either. If you want to get along with, or should we just say, co-exist, with a boss who leads with this type of energy, you must know what else to look for. Take a look at the classic warning signs your boss might be leading with Fiery Red energy:

  • Tends to avoid emotions
  • Really needs you to get right to the point
  • Needs to be clear on actions
  • Needs you to be brief when speaking to them
  • Needs you to be bright
  • Needs you to be gone
  • Are competitive
  • Are demanding
  • Are determined
  • Very strong willed
  • Purposeful

At this junction in the article, you probably have figured out if your boss is this person. Knowing the classic warning signs of this energy, can put you ahead of the game, and even teach you how to communicate effetely with your boss. Some vital positive outcomes that can be had from this invaluable knowledge is:

  • You better understand your boss now
  • You don’t hate them anymore
  • You don’t feel like you are walking on egg shells every time you need to speak with them
  • You feel better about work in general and your job too

The boss who leads with Fiery Red energy is not perfect, like most of us, and they can do things that get in the way sometimes. Or, they can do things that you didn’t expect that work in your favor…

What is there to love about the boss who leads with Fiery Red energy?

Believe it or not, the boss who leads with Fiery Red energy can actually be extremely useful in that they will fight tooth & nail for you, and shield you from any nonsense coming down from upper management. If you have a boss who leads with this color of energy, it is unlikely they will have you doing mindless work that is not going to help the overall goal, which is always the completion of the next big project. Also, if another business segment within your organization is ripping your team or speaking in a not so flattering matter because of a mistake you made, this energy type will defend you and the team almost every time. However, expect them also to rip you face to face when they get alone with you for those mistakes.

What is there not to love about the boss who leads with Fiery Red energy?

Now that you understand the Fiery Red energy a little more, there is a flipside to this color. If some of their strengths are overused, or abused, this energy can get in its own way and hinder the team’s chances for high performance. For example, on the start of a new day, it is quite possible that after only 10 minutes of being clocked in, the boss who leads with Fiery Red energy will already have left a trail of devastation behind them. With the secretary in tears and other teammates asking themselves, “What did I do wrong?” A boss leading with this energy is prone to lash out, displaying some of the following characteristics when faced with pressure from work.

  • Aggressive
  • Controlling
  • Driving
  • Intolerant
  • Overbearing

Does your job need a person who leads with Fiery Red energy there?

Absolutely! After you gain this person’s trust, you will have a strong ally for life at the workplace. Once the trust part has fully been established, the Fiery Red energy leading boss will understand that your relationship with them is worth making compromises for, and that your points of views are surprisingly valuable and worth listening to.  Having this strong personality type as the boss or just as a team member is a great move. With this person around, you will know your team has a “rock” that knows how to get things done!

Every organization needs a good mix of color energies; especially a Fiery Red color. If you’d like help in identifying this person (s) on your team, schedule me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker, I will come to your group and address the difference of personalities in a truthful, fun, and easy to understand way.  Follow me on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter to share my blogs with the color energies you work with!

Step outside of your box – Stop hiring yourself

Sunshine Yellow

Imagine yourself in the position of a hiring manager deciding between two potential new employees. One is obviously more qualified, but the other reminds you of yourself in the way they interact or even take a seat. You weigh the qualifications of both and assess which would be the most valuable addition to your team.

You might be surprised to hear that research shows that in this scenario the latter applicant is more likely to get the job. Studies have brought up the idea of a “cultural fit,” an unwritten category of the hiring phase in which an employer looks for someone who matches them on a socially desirable level. Sometimes even making the decision just based on who they can see themselves having a beer with! This does not necessarily lead to the wrong hires in every case, but it raises concern that a biased haze could be preventing a team from growing to its fullest potential.

We, as leaders, have a habit of building teams made of individuals who remind us of ourselves. That doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, especially if you’re constantly reminded of your hard work ethic, enthusiasm, and level-headed judgment. However, this mindset when applied to hiring insulates your group from gaining the insight and experience that can only be obtained through employing a diverse range of staff. Lacking the awareness that you are cloning current members of your team also robs you of gauging where your group excels—and where fine tuning needs to be done.

Getting down to it

For example, your current team may be proficient in achieving client satisfaction with completed projects, but lacks the organization required to meet deadlines. Gathering a group of similar individuals may mean your group consistently delivers good work, but aggravates your failure regarding promptness. This sequence of events would noticeably damage your credibility, and your business will suffer as an end result.

We can consider this problem in a more visual way. An emerging idea dedicated toward helping professionals build the most well-rounded team possible is the concept of “color energy.” Take a Sunshine Yellow type, for example, a real go-getter who invigorates the staff with visionary ideas and provides a fresh outlook on projects and assignments. A Sunshine Yellow, however, can fall prey to disorganization, a habit of jumping from project to project without giving each its due and closing on those with loose ends. You can mitigate the flaws of the well-intentioned Sunshine Yellow with a Cool Blue type who is more guarded against new visions but performs copious amounts of research on current projects. Fire Red personalities are hustlers, rarely short on confidence, but potentially on patience. Thankfully, we can count on Earth Green leaders to act as pillars of support for the group, providing guidance and mentorship—although they, too, may be a bit traditional in their ways.

Mixing creates the strongest teams

A balanced team is not a blinding yellow or endless blue, but rather a spectrum of vivid colors and personalities. As a hiring manager, your job is a two-step process. One: judge each applicant’s skill set and weaknesses objectively—as you normally would. Two: make an honest and critical analysis of your current team. Where do we have gaps and who can fill them? You may be inclined to recruit an individual with years of experience with analytics, but if your team already has a handful of those professionals, it may be best for you to hire the applicant with accounting experience. Similarly, you may consider yourself a Yellow Sunshine and be turned off by the sight of a deflating realist. But the success of your team may depend on the grounded Cool Blue who can keep them from flying too close to the sun.

This is not to say that hiring an employee who would be an ideal tennis partner is a bad idea. Your job as a responsible employer and business owner, however, is to put the interests of your team first. The work socials come after that.

To get assistance on how to hire a well-rounded team, contact me, Scott Schwefel of Insights, and get me on the schedule as the keynote speaker for your next team-building event.  To see what I’m up to and get notified of my new blog posts, follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  For a sneak peek of what you can expect for your next company event, find me on YouTube!

How To Make Supporters Feel Valued And Appreciated

insights-colour-quadrant-earth-greenSometimes when people have a problem, they seek out a person they know that will show understanding and won’t criticize them.  If you have a person in mind that you go to when support is needed, this person could very well have a high amount of Earth Green energy, thus making them the Primary Insight Type the Supporter.  In this last blog in my series of the Eight Primary Insight Types, I’m going to talk about how to make sure Supporters feel valued and appreciated within your organization.

Supporters prefer a controlled environment with minimum change where they can focus on mastering their skill.  Once their skill is mastered, you will be amazed at the consistency in which they do their tasks.  Because of this love of consistency, Supporters appreciate it when they are given ample time to adjust to change.  You can expect copious amounts of loyalty from Supporters, a positive quality to have in anyone in your organization.  Supporters mainly get their name from their ability to forge and maintain strong relationships.  They go above and beyond for those that they care about.  When someone they care about does come to them with a problem, Supporters try to find a way to relate to the issue and do what they can to see all sides and create harmony.  Supporters make great mediators.

So, what’s the best way to show your appreciation for someone who is a Supporter?  Support them with affirmation and reassurance that they are doing a job well done.  When approaching a Supporter it’s all about your ability to relate to them.  Remember that they don’t like change and to not overuse their good nature.  Motivate Supporters by giving them plenty of time to complete projects and make decisions on their own.  When interacting with a Supporter, take the time to listen to them and let them finish their thought.  Supporters are great listeners and expect the same out of the people they are having a conversation with.

Are you wondering how to improve communication and efficiency within your organization?  For your organization’s next training or team-building event, consider the impact of helping your employees understand each other.  With improved communication, messages are transmitted clearer, which creates fewer questions, thus increasing accurate and efficient work output.  To get this kind of experience for your employees, contact me, Scott Schwefel of Insights, and get me on the schedule as the keynote speaker for your next team-building event.  To see what I’m up to and get notified of my new blog posts, follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  For a sneak peek of what you can expect for your next company event, find me on YouTube!   

The Importance Of Allowing Inspirers To Express Their Creativity

idwheelDo you have an employee in your organization that has an infectious zest for life?  The Primary Insights Type, Inspirer, is someone who is usually positive and naturally encourages people to keep on their path of achieving their goals.  The Primary Insights Type I’m going to talk about in this blog is the Inspirer.

The Inspirer has a high level of extraverted Sunshine Yellow energy.  When friends and coworkers are having a difficult time getting started on a project or feel they have lost momentum, they turn to their Inspirer to get them back on track.  They do a great job of talking people up and giving coworkers the confidence to achieve their goals.  Inspirers are genuine in their flattery, thus forging strong relationships easily.  Inspirers are the type of people with so many connections that others may wonder how they maintain the amount of friendships they have.  While maintaining a large amount of relationships may seem difficult to others, connecting and relating to people is what energizes Inspirers.

Inspirers are also very intuitive individuals.  Because of this, they work best in an environment that allows them to express and use their creativity as well as a social environment that allows them to think big.  Each idea, thought, and bit of inspiration is important to them, so it’s essential they have the freedom to explore each of these avenues.  After all, you never know if an Inspirer’s idea could be the next big thing!

Does the above description sound like someone you know but you’d like to relate to more?  Learning more about Inspirers and all of the Eight Primary Insights Types will encourage efficient and effective communication across your entire organization.  When people are self-aware as well as aware of how best to communicate with other personality types, information becomes much more clear and tasks are done quickly and right the first time.  It’s the same as sending an email vs. picking up the phone; sometimes it’s much more effective to have a real time conversation!  To learn more about how to improve communication within your organization, contact me, Scott Schwefel, for your next company event.  In my keynote address, I go over all personality types in a fun, relatable, and applicable way.  Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to get notified of my weekly blogs and to find out how I’m helping companies all across the world communicate more effectively!    

Directors: How To Capitalize On Their Leadership Talents

imagesThe Primary Insights Type I’d like to talk about today is the Director.  The Director is Insights Discovery’s Fiery Red color energy.  When teams need someone to get a task done and push it through to the end, they look to the Directors they know to ensure goals are accomplished.  In this blog I’m going to talk about how to keep the Directors in your company interested and excited about your goals and how to make sure they remain a powerhouse and asset to your team.

Directors love change and new challenges.  They possess a high level of extraverted energy, which means Directors are best suited to managing tasks that require high-level thinking and important decision making.  If you task your Director with a project which requires hours of research, you will most likely push them into boredom as they love the excitement of making deals, decisions, and managing teams.  When given a task, Directors face it head on.  While examining all solutions, they may find several avenues in which to grow the project.  Directors are happy to take ownership over the project as they prefer loose direction and will move towards expanding their project where necessary.

When working with a director, be honest, forthright, and stand up for what you believe in.  Directors feel let down when they aren’t given the facts.  They let people know where they stand with them, return the favor and let them know where they stand with you.

Who do you know in your company that is task oriented and always gets the job done?  Do they usually turn the project you give them into something more than what was originally intended?  If so, you have the amazing force of a Director within your company walls.  To learn more about how to harness Directors and to learn more about this Primary Insights Type, contact me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker for your next team-building event.  I explain personalities in a fun, safe, and easy to remember and apply way.  To learn more about me and what I do, connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter where I post my weekly blogs!   

How To Recognize Observers

idwheelThis week I want to talk about the Observer, the fifth blog in my series on the Eight Primary Insights Types.  Observers are assets to any team and it’s important to make sure they are understood and appreciated.  In this blog I’ll address how best to recognize Observers.

Observers are intellectuals who are also intuitive.  They are meticulous in their work and like to get things done right the first time.  Observers take their time to gather data, facts, and obtain logical arguments.  Their work doesn’t end there though.  Once an Observer has their plan in place, they take the time to test it out and evaluate the outcome.  Therefore, when you set an Observer on a task, you know it will be done to perfection.

Like this Insights Personality Type suggests, Observers prefer to examine their surroundings from the outside.  They tend to surround themselves with like-minded individuals who like plenty of time to absorb themselves in intellectual pursuits in a peaceful environment.  Don’t rush the Observer on your team.  Allow them plenty of time to think and research their project.  Your patience will ensure you get their best work.  Observers, like anyone, like to know they are appreciated, however they may question your sincerity if you gush your thankfulness.  Observers are modest, so a simple “thank you” may be all they are expecting.

Do you have an Observer in your organization?  If you’re receiving meticulous and detailed output from someone, you most likely are lucky enough to have an Observer on your team.  Get to know them and you’ll be amazed at the depth of knowledge that’s behind their Cool Blue exterior, they could be the one to bring your company to the next level.  If you want help in how to relate to the Observers in your organization, contact me, Scott Schwefel, for your next team-building event.  I will use the extensive research behind the Insights Discovery model to touch on each personality in a fun and memorable way.  Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter where I post my recent blogs!