There are no two people in the world who are exactly the same. Either nature will have a large influence or nurture will take over. Hence, even twins can be differentiated according to their own unique intrinsic and extrinsic features. In this article, the focus will be on the personality types with special attention being paid to the type A and type B personality types.
Before going in depth with each, a clear understanding of what personality is, must be established. Personality is “Personality is a dynamic organisation, inside the person, of psychophysical systems that create the person’s characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours” (Allport, 1961). In a nutshell, personality defines who you are and differentiates you from other people.
The importance of understanding personality in the workplace
Understanding personality is important as it may help in understanding one’s preferences and the preferences of others (Mosley, 2016). The different personality styles are useful in acknowledging various aspects of our everyday lives, such as:
· How we lead;
· Resolving conflict;
· How we communicate with others;
· Decision making;
· How to generate sales;
· How we manage stressful situations among other factors.
When hiring employees or appointing managers, it is crucial to look at the types of personalities that these individuals possess. Hence the importance of conducting activities
such as psychometric tests, assessment centres and interviews during the hiring process. Take a look at the organisation’s environment and how business is conducted.
Here are some questions business leaders need to ask themselves when make such big decisions:
· Will this prospective employee thrive in our company?
· If not, how can we make it conducive for them to perform at their optimum?
· Is this the right place for them?
When looking to appoint or promote an individual to being a manger, it is important to know whether or not that individual has the necessary personality traits needed to lead in the type of organisation they work in. This is where training and assessment becomes more important. The success of any organisation always drills down to the type of leadership present in that environment.
What is the type A personality trait?
A person with the type A personality likes to be in charge and be in control of their environment and their lives. They’re normally not very detail-oriented, choosing to delegate details to others. They’re usually very goal-oriented and practical in their solutions. And arriving at their solutions and goals will entail a no-nonsense, bottom-line approach (Hire Success, 2020).
You may have come across information referring to this personality type, not knowing that that is what it was. Below are some alternatives names that a type A personality can be referred by:
· Jung referred to type A personalities as “Sensor”
· Myers-Briggs referred to type A personalities as “ENFJ, ENFP, INFJ, INFP”
· The Enneagram refereed to type A personalities as “Adventurer/Achiever”
Each personality type has its own strengths and weaknesses (Hire Success, 2020). Each thrives differently in certain environments over others. Below are some strengths and weaknesses that are characterised by type A personalities.
Embraces change Stubborn
Works well independently Tough
Multitasking Easily angered
Highly competitive Insensitive
What is the type B personality trait?
Someone with the type B personality is a very outgoing, energetic, and fast-paced individual who likes to be around people and enjoys being the centre of attention. They’re good relationship builders, and most people like them right away. Their driving need is for approval, so they try to like everyone in hopes everyone will like them too. Compliments, acknowledgement of their achievements, words of admiration, and even applause from groups will be the most important thing you can do for them.
As was done above, there are some alternative names that are commonly used to describe the type B personality. These are listed below:
· Jung referred to type A personalities as “Intuitor”
· Myers-Briggs referred to type A personalities as “ENTJ, ENTP, INTJ, INTP”
· The Enneagram refereed to type A personalities as “Helper/Romantic”
Fun-loving Sometimes unrealistic
Persuasiveness Easily bored
Motivator Impulsive procrastination
Dreamer Trouble being alone
Self-confident Sometimes arrogant or cocky
How to manage the different personalities
Knowing different personalities and their traits is extremely beneficial in the organisation, when understanding the type of person, a leader is and in understanding the type of person a subordinate is. In certain environments, some personalities may be seen to be ‘lazy’ or ‘too over-excited”. While this may be the case sometimes, it is not always the reason why an employee is “not performing well”. Neither is it the case that a manager or boss is “not a good person”.
Different people are motivated by different things. Not everyone wants to work for a large amount of money and not everyone just wants to work for recognition. Understanding what drives people to act in certain ways can help in understanding how to get them to that position. Alnasir and Alfulaij (2014) highlight some motivators that drive the two personality types. These are listed below:
Type A motivators Type B motivators
Money Public recognition
Independence Latest styles or trends
Challenges Being the centre of attention
Everyone is different even with our similarities. This article focused on the type A and type B personalities but there are other personality types that are there. There are some websites that allow you to take free personality tests which can be found online. A famous one is www.16personalities.com. Get to know yourself more and understand those around you after understanding the different personalities around.
Thandeka Madziwanyika is a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.
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