This is Part 3 of our 3-Part Series on books that can help you improve and strengthen your leadership skills by recognizing and managing personality types.
Knowing how your employees respond to expectations can help you lead them more effectively. Leading more effectively can help you to accomplish your own goals. Identifying and managing personality types can change how your employees respond to you. That’s the premise of Gretchen Rubin’s new book, The Four Tendencies. Rubin discovered these distinct personality types while doing research for her earlier book, Better Than Before, which is about creating lasting habit change. Changing habits can create self-awareness, resulting in managing personality types differently and a better understanding of how you are perceived.
The Four Tendencies focuses on how to make your life – and others – better by knowing your tendency in any area. It also has significant applications to the work place. Think about it – the office is all about managing and meeting expectations. Knowing how you and your teammates respond to situations can be a game changer.
Here are the personality types Rubin identified:
- Obligers are people who meet outer expectations, like work deadlines. But they do not meet goals that they set for themselves, like writing that novel, running a marathon, etc.
- Upholders take both outer and inner expectations just as seriously.
- Questioners tend to resist outer expectations until they’re sure they are worthy of doing. They can take a long time to make decisions because they like to research all options.
- Rebels tend to resist both outer and inner expectations. No one can tell them what to do.
Not sure what type you are? Take the quiz.
Managing personality types will heighten your awareness of various perceptions. Knowing your own type and those of your colleagues can help you see these changes in the workplace:
You Can Grow Professionally—And Personally
Rubin writes that many people wish they were a particular Tendency or ask her which one is the best. But she says, “The happiest, healthiest, most productive people aren’t those from a particular Tendency. But rather they’re the people who have figured out how to harness the strengths of their Tendency, counteract their weaknesses, and build the lives that work for them.”
Let’s say you’re an Obliger. That may mean that you kill it at work, meeting your deadlines and the CEO loves your work ethic. But maybe you dream of starting your own business or traveling the world. Once you understand your type and that you need external accountability, you can start making those dreams happen. Join a mastermind group, find an accountability buddy, or take a class to write up your business plan.
You Can Motivate Your Team
There are probably a variety of people with different “Tendencies” on your team. Knowing what each person responds to can help you be a more effective leader. For instance, if you recognize that some of your employees are Questioners, you’ll want to provide concrete reasons for asking them to do something. Show them how their contribution affects the business and the bottom line. Get the most out of the Questioners on your team by fueling them with knowledge.
You Can Foster Tolerance Among Staff Members
When we understand the Tendencies of others, it may help us be more patient with them. We suddenly realize that a coworkers’ behavior isn’t a reflection of their relationship with you, but something hardwired within them. For example, a Questioner isn’t asking questions to undermine the boss or challenge authority. They truly need to understand the reasoning behind doing a particular task. Rebels respond best to having the necessary information, understanding the consequences, and then choosing their own path. Rubin suggests managers phrase a request to a Rebel like this: “The client gave us a budget and a month’s time to complete this project. If the client is pleased, this relationship might become permanent which would mean more projects and money for all of us.”
Various personality types can perceive expectations differently, but you can adapt your communication style to meet the needs of your diverse team.
Now that you have learned to be a more effective communicator with your team, consider how to take care of your people and the bottom line.