Monday, February 24, 2014

Affinity 5: A Little Bit of Crazy

I don’t know if you have heard the saying, “Everybody has a little bit of crazy in them.” More importantly, I don’t know if you realize the saying has Bibilcal roots. Ecclesiastes 9:3c says, “. . . and madness is in their heart while they live. . . .” Ah yes, Ecclesiastes! I like to think of Ecclesiastes as the book of proverbs in its purest form. In this book King Solomon lays out all he has worked out about life and its mysteries. It can seem cutting at times, but it is the perfect book for putting all things into context.

Interestingly enough, although personality theory is mostly about strengths, how to leverage what is good about you, it is also about weaknesses and where you come up short and another person fits in. It is about the crazy in all of us. While it can be a good thing to be the one who knows the big picture all of the time, you aren’t going anywhere without the necessary details for a plan to come together. In other words, all cars can take you from A to B (all functioning cars), but not all cars will take you there in the same condition, speed, comfort and safety. That is how it is with personality. Each personality type has a strength and each personality has a weakness. Let’s take a look.

The Controller. The controlling personality is really good at using conflict, making fast decisions and adapting to change. They are not so good at listening, being patient with others or working on the details. What is the need of the controller? To be in control and taken to an extreme this can be a little on the crazy side. How about when a controller is given a situation where they have no control? Someone else is in control, running things and it is inefficient. The leader criticizes on the personal level and blocks you from accomplishments? This is when the controller starts to come undone. The tendency will be to explode, blame others, dictate or take over. Worst of all, they will suppress emotions and that’s when the real problems begin. Who was a controller in Scripture? Mark, Nehemiah and Saul. The controller’s focus is on results, they are task oriented and we need them – in control of themselves most of all.

The Stabilizer. The stabilizing personality is good at maintaining harmony, working in teams and taking a systematic, thorough approach. They are dependable and build relationships. Their weaknesses are in taking things too personally, initiating a task quickly enough and trying to avoid necessary conflict that will produce results. Stabilizers taken to the extreme will give in too easily, worry emotionally and take a get even approach. Because they are good at manipulating circumstances, they can cause serious damage without seeming to be the cause. Their driving need is for security, to be trusted and to have appreciation. They are the ones to take a large project and ensure it happens with the least cost, emotionally and physically. Who was a Stabilizer in the Scriptures? John, David and Isaiah.

The Analyst. The analyzing personality is all about getting it right. They are good at using facts, data, history and logic. They know what should be the precise outcome and the rules/steps to take in order to get there. In the extreme they tend to feel overwhelmed by a driving need to get it perfect, they don’t like to take a position and will lose sight of the big picture. Pushed too far, the analyst will become overcritical, give up easily, pull away or get caught up in the need to prove they are right. They are the one you need to get a quality, accurate and precise product, the key is to support their standards and principles. Who was an Analyst in the Bible? Matthew, Solomon and the Rich Young Ruler.

The Persuader. Persuasive personalities are not necessarily concerned about being right on facts, they are right on people. Persuaders use verbal skills, combined with optimism and social initiative to bring someone around to their viewpoint. They are good at stimulating others to action and they are seldom at a loss for words. Give them the reigns and they will convince an audience of cold fusion. Taken to the extreme, the persuader is bogged down in details, will fail to follow through on commitments and can become overly emotional. They often don’t set realistic timeframes. Push a persuader too far and you will get a verbal attack, an emotional dump or a cut and run mentality. The persuader is the one who makes the journey pleasant, who cuts tension and brings the personal skills. Just don’t belittle or limit them. Who was a Persuader in the Bible? Luke, Paul and Aaron.

The crazy in us. It is why God gave us each other, and each of us with our own sets of skills and not-so-skills. Understanding strengths and weaknesses in one another is the key to getting along and building the Body of Christ.