How Personality Type Affects Your Behavior!

By Lorie Rosenberg

enneagram of personality - nine distinct types and their interrelationships (reformer, helper, acheiver, individualist, investigator, loyalist, enthusiast, challenger, peacemaker) presented with colorful crumpled sticky notes, white chalk on blackboardIt’s almost on a daily basis that I wonder why some person said this or did that! And this is particularly true with in our current political environment. As a nation, we've become so divisive about how our country is being run. There are people on both ends of the spectrum whose political and social beliefs are totally at odds with each other.

I can also give you dozens  of examples of situations where I’ve been completely perplexed by the way people have acted, the decisions they’ve made, or the comments they’ve said to others. I know of a situation where friends have thrown out guests from their home just because of their political beliefs. And to me that's totally wrong. Even though you may have different beliefs, that's your right in this country and we should embrace our differences.

I believe as people, we routinely judge others based on our own values and beliefs. For instance, from my viewpoint, experience, and belief system, I typically act in a particular way based on years of discerning my individual values, evaluating a variety of situations, and acting according to my code of ethics.  However, this may be different from other people I know.

It’s how you act or not act on these judgments that is extremely important. You may not believe it’s right how people behave, but it’s not necessarily your job to be their moral authority...unless, of course, your child acted in a particular fashion and then it’s your prime directive to provide consequences.

When I was young, my mother used to ask me, “What do you think that person felt when you said that inappropriate comment? When she would say that, I would feel mortified that I had hurt someone’s feelings. That made me always want to be careful of what I say and think before I speak...so I don’t get myself in trouble or unintentionally hurt someone's feelings.

The lessons my mother taught me have given me very strong personal convictions  and values. But even more importantly it has been my personality type that has given me the framework for how I discern and act upon that information I take in.

You may be familiar with the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator assessments. This has been a way to determine personality types and has been used by many companies to help choose the right type of people that create dynamic, high-performance teams.

I began to study another personality system called the Enneagram, which is like Meyers-Briggs on steroids. After some research, I discovered why I behave in a particular way, and continually assess situations and base them on a particular behavioral code.

It’s because I’m Type 1: The Reformer. No getting around it. The minute I got to that personality description, I realized it was me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The quick four-word description of my personality type is: "principled, orderly, perfectionist, and self-righteous." I now understand why I think the way I do...and conversely why others don’t see things quite the same as me.

People say things and react differently because they are wired to do so because of their distinct personality type.

History of the Enneagram

There seems to be different opinions as to the origins of the Enneagram, but Oscar Ichazo has been designated as the father of the Enneagram Personality Type System that he developed in the 1960s.

This system is an amalgamation of a variety of ancient traditions that some say date back to 2500 BC in Babylon. However, it was Ichazo, born in Bolivia, that formally developed the system. In his earlier years, he traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Asia to further his studies on this discipline and to gather the knowledge he would need to create the Enneagram.

The Enneagram symbol he used to describe the 9 personality types has its roots in antiquity and can be traced back at least as far as the works of Pythagoras. The “Traditional Enneagram” that we know today only goes back to the 1960s when Ichazo was first teaching it at the Arica School he created to disseminate the knowledge he had received, although the philosophy behind the Enneagram comes from a variety of schools of thought including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, and ancient Greek
philosophy.

Your Personality Type

The Enneagram is a configuration of nine distinct personality types that are each represented on a point of the symbol on the previous page. One of the nine points characterizes your basic personality type, and describes you more accurately than any of the others.

Here are some points about the Enneagram:

  1. By the time we emerge from our early childhood, we have developed one of the personality types.
  2. Even though people change throughout their lives, they do not change their basic personality type. It is with them for a lifetime.
  3. The personality types apply equally to both men and women.
  4. The characteristics of your personality type may not apply to you all the time because you can fluctuate from healthy to average to unhealthy traits within a given type.
  5. No personality type is better than another. It’s a question of what you value about your type.
  6. You can fine tune your type to more accurately reflect your personality. Most people are a mixture of their basic type and one of two adjacent types, which are called wings. My basic type is 1, with a 2 wing.

The study of the Enneagram and personality types is important for many reasons. For people in business, it's important to understand that there are fundamental differences in the people you work with every day. When you employ people with diverse personality types, it gives you broader range of viewpoints on various aspects of your business.

It also allows you to embrace the idea that people behave in a particular way because of their personality type and that each person sees things differently from you. When you acknowledge this, it allows you to accept the viewpoint of others even if it's very different from yours. It's our differences that define who we are and how we see the world.

There are many resources on the Enneagram and I invite you to take a look at them and see what personality type you are!

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