How to Do Business with Different Personality Types

personality-typesEditor’s note: This is a guest post from Lisa H. (aka RunningBear) of Getting to Zen

If you charge for your work, then you know the dilemma between charging hourly versus charging by the project. There are arguments for and against both. For example, if you charge by the project, you could end up doing a lot more work than the project is worth and if you charge by the hour, you many lose clients to the variability of the cost. Knowing the personality type of the persons you are working with can not only help you in deciding how to charge for your efforts but make your working relationships a whole lot smoother.

The project

When most of my clients ask me to design a web site, I quote them a price, design the site and post it for review a few days later. For the most part, the design elements (layout, font, colors, pictures) are left to me. And so when Tom, whom I had designed four club web sites for in this way came to me and asked me to design one for his company, I quoted a price and off I went.

The players

Tom was happy with the final design, however, Sara, who I had not met and seemed to be in charge of the project, was not. She gave me a few pointers and with that I designed a second site. The same thing happened. Tom was happy with it and Sara once again was not. Now, instead of designing one site for the quoted price, I had designed two and would have to design a third to satisfy her.

The drama

After a phone conversation with Sara, I realized that she wanted the project to be more of a collaborative effort. Not only did she have a specific way that she worked, but she had a specific vision of how she wanted the site to look. Sara wanted to select the layout, fonts, colors, images and image were used and then get input from everyone else in the company.

The awakening

After speaking with Sara, I knew that even after the third site was created there could be several more changes to it. I had already put in double the work I had expected and was beginning to feel taken advantage of.

The epiphany

And then it occurred to me that Sara wasn’t trying to make the project difficult. We worked differently and she was just being herself. In that instant I knew I would needed to change my approach to the work. The next day I sent an email to the company telling them that from now on, I would charge hourly. Problem solved.

The resolution

This way Sara could ask me to make as many changes as she wanted to and I would not mind because I knew that I would get compensated for making them.

What I learned is how important it is to know the personality type of those who you work with. According to the SELF profile by National Press Publications, there are four broad types of personalities in the business world.

I have provided a snapshot of each of them below.

Do you know which one you fit into most? How about your coworkers?

“S” Personalities

Type: creative, enthusiastic, sociable, impatient, gregarious involved

Strengths: original, conceptual, warm, approachable, flexible

Weaknesses: unrealistic, devious, impractical, undisciplined, uncontrolled

Preferences: adventure, fun, excitement, getting to the point

Allow sociable people the flexibility to be creative. They seek recognition. Reward their work with enthusiasm. Make sure they get lots of credit and respect their need to be social.

“E” Personalities

Type: task-oriented, results-focused, action-oriented, workaholic, hard charging

Strengths: pragmatic, assertive, directive, competitive, confident, open to options

Weaknesses: domineering, arrogant, status-seeking

Preference: The bottom line

Take advantage of this personality types need to be in control and clean up messes. When business gets bad, they are the ones to call on.

“L” Personalities

Type: emotional, caring introspection, melancholy, sympathetic, diplomatic

Strengths: persuasive, probing, loyal, warm, sensitive, supportive

Weakness: Impulsive, procrastinating, subjective, overcautious

Preference: no threat or conflict, avoids making decisions or risking offending others

Treat this personality type fairly, supportively and openly. Compromise and strive for consensus. They are team players and want what is best for everyone.

“F” Personalities

Type: analytical, logical, self controlled, detail oriented, aloof, skeptical, conservative

Strengths: perfectionist, well-organized, objective, relational, conceptual, persistent

Weakness: withdrawn, sullen, dull, shy, passive

Preference: facts, figures, proof, thoroughness

Acknowledge this personality type’s expertise. Give them factual data and be consistent. Provide them with well-thought out plans of action.

While reading through the personality types you may have found that you fit into more than one category. This is common. We all have traits of each of the personality types; however, one is usually dominant. Remember, no one personality type is better than the other, they are just different. Keep this article in mind the next time you encounter someone, it will make your relating to them a whole lot easier.

Lisa H. (aka RunningBear) is the founder of Getting to Zen-a personal development blog dedicated to those in pursuit of authentic happiness through purposeful living. You can sign up for her RSS feed or follow her on Twitter.

Image courtesy of Ghostboy.

7 thoughts on “How to Do Business with Different Personality Types”

  1. Hi Karl,
    Thank you for allowing me to share this with your readers. Knowing someone’s personality type helps not only in business, but in personal relationships.

  2. Great article, Lisa! I also write about different office personality types and how to successfully work with them. Although the four types I detail in my book, the Cynic, the Complainer, the Controller, and the Caretaker, differ a bit from yours, I completely agree that it’s important to recognize what makes coworkers churn and vary your communication style based on their individual personalities. Thanks for the post!

  3. Hi Kaley,
    Thank you. I wish I had known about these personality types a lot earlier in my career. It would have made some of my working relationships a lot easier to understand. Cynic, complainer, controller and caretaker; It is funny how these different types continue to repeat themselves. :-)Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Hi Liza. Great work here. This article is really useful and I do agree with the things you mentioned to be considered, the project, players, drama, epiphany, awakening and of course the resolution. With this being analyzed, you could work better with anyone whatever his/her personality may be.

    Tom Melendrez

  5. That’s very useful to know, thanks so much for sharing! It does help to understand people’s personalities and working styles so you wouldn’t assume someone is just being difficult or trying to make work difficult for you.

  6. Hi Tom,
    Thank you. Great! Yes, as soon as I came to the realization that the person I was working with was not just being a pain, but that was her personality type, it has been smooth sailing ever since.

  7. Hi susan,
    Thanks. And the thing of it is that it works for all relationships, not just the working ones. In fact someone in my class, told me that once she learned these peronality types, she related to her husband a lot better. 🙂

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