The Reason You’re Not Meshing with Your Co-Workers

What’s your type? Your personality type, that is.

While no one enjoys evaluating themselves (especially when looking at strengths and weaknesses), you get a better handle on who you are and help others better understand your expectations.

We’ve all heard of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s the basic concept to treat others the way you would like to be treated.

In “The Platinum Rule,” Dr. Michael J. O’Connor and Dr. Tony Allesandra pose an alternative solution: Treat others the way they want to be treated. Instead of focusing on what you want and assuming everyone wants the same, they suggest taking the time to understand what they want.

It’s about understanding what drives people and recognizing your options for better understanding and engaging them. No one operates the exact same – no one – and it can be difficult to determine how best to approach those with personality types that are different than your own. The book divides behavioral preferences into four core styles: Relater, Socializer, Thinker, and Director.

Some people find they’re one type, a combination of a couple or sometimes all four. Most people have a dominant and recessive style. Use the breakdown and chart below to discover which personality types fit you. Then, look at it from another perspective: Within your circle of colleagues, where does everyone fall?

Knowing how those around you handle certain situations can give you a leg up when time comes to communicating expectations.

“Can’t we all just get along?”
Likes: togetherness, harmony, cooperation, support
Dislikes: confrontation, making decisions
Strengths: maintaining peace, listening, friendliness
Weaknesses: internalizes feelings, not always reliable
Clashing Personality: Director
How to communicate with a Relater:
Voice and show your appreciation for all they do for others. Check in to see if they feel comfortable in their role and tasks. 

“Can’t we all just have fun?”
Likes: people, creative freedom, praise, fun and relaxing atmospheres
Dislikes: structure, limitations
Strengths: inspirational, cheerful, enthusiastic, adventurous
Weaknesses: easily distracted, too nonchalant
Clashing Personality: Thinker
How to communicate with a Socializer: Be mindful of and open to their ideas. Invite them to new projects that seek innovative drive.

“Can’t we all just go by the rules?”
Likes: organization, routine, caution, step-by-step procedures, working alone
Dislikes: chaos, pressure, change
Strengths: precision, analytical, creative, deadline oriented, trustworthy
Weaknesses: perfectionistic, antisocial
Clashing Personality: Socializer
How to communicate with a Thinker: Be patient in conversation and with their work. Be logical with ideas and details. With change, help them think of the big picture – why it’s necessary and the steps to get there.

“Can’t you all just do what I say?”
Likes: control, results, fast-paced atmosphere
Dislikes: unnecessary details, poor performance
Strengths: decisive, multitasks, diffuses chaotic situations
Weaknesses: aggressive, impatient, listening
Clashing Personality: Relater
How to communicate with a Director: Speak your ideas quickly and clearly. Show that your goals align.

your personality type

Types that have at least one of the above traits in common typically work better together. Those that don’t tend to clash, which breaks down into two pairs: Relaters/Directors, Socializers/Thinkers. This is because people that embody these traits tend to think and operate on opposite sides of the spectrum.

For example, let’s say you’re a Relater and your boss is a Director. You may find your boss is abrupt and weak at listening. This clash makes sense since, as a Relater, you thrive on details and asking questions.

The same clash happens among Socializers and Thinkers. Socializers love human interaction, taking risks and working quickly, while Thinkers prefer to work alone, stick to routine and take their time to ensure accuracy.

When you’re aware of other’s personality styles as well as your own, communications will become clearer, relationships will strengthen and collaborations will prosper.

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Abby Downs

Abby Downs is a St. Louis native and professional writer. If she doesn’t have a pen in her hand, it’s a camera. When she’s not busy combining these two loves, she can be found binge-watching 90s sitcoms, trying new cheeses and planning her next big adventure.