Sunday, February 16, 2014

Affinity 4: Analysts, Persuaders, Controllers and Stabilizers

Personality types are as old as the Classical time period.  Hippocrates is credited as the first to document personality types, as early as 400 BC.  Paul refers to personality types in Romans chapter 12 (90 AD) as spiritual gifts with distinct attributes separating them one from the other.  He gives instruction to each type with the overall command to work together as a single body.  We are to understand one another, and work together.  This is seen throughout the Corinthian letters also.

Modern day Psychologists have looked at the problem from multiple sides, as attested by the multitude of Personality tests and profiles.  Most go along with Hippocrates using his four categories, Choleric, Phlegmatic, Sanguine and Melancholic, though they have chosen a variety of differing names.  The name I’ll be going with align with Hippocrates as such: Choleric is a Controller, Phlegmatic is a Persuader, Sanguine is a Stabilizer and Melancholic is an Analyst. Here is a common four-quadrant layout for the Personality Types (Figure 1). 

Figure 1. Four Personality Types

In 1921, Carl Jung broke down personality types into 16.  During World War II, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, developed a questionnaire method for determining personality in correspondence with Jung’s research.  What came out is what we know today as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI).

The MBTI are broken into four categories: Introvert/Extrovert, Sensory/Intuitive, Thinking/Feeling and Judging/Perceiving.  When you take a MBTI test, you assess how you rate in each category by choosing preferred activities.  For example, if you are more introverted versus sensory you will select reading a book versus going to a party.

MBTI gives an indication of where you fit within the four quadrants. Figure 2 provides a look at how the MBTI categories work with the four personality types.  The left side of the diagram, the Analysts and Stabilizers tend to be Introverts.  The Right Side, Controllers and Persuaders are Extroverted.  The top (Analysts and Controllers) are more sensory and Judging.  The bottom (Stabilizers and Persuaders) tend to be more Intuitive and Perceiving.  Thinking and Feeling is also a split between the AS and CP sides. 

Figure 2. MBTI associated to Four Personality Types

When you find out what your MBTI is, you will have an understanding of what your primary and secondary personality traits are.  For example and INTJ will have the primary personality of a Stabilizer with the secondary drive of Controller.  An ESFP will find themselves in the Persuader/Analyzer categories of personality and so on. 

The driving need of an Analyst is to be right.  The driving need of a controller is to control things.  The driving need of a persuader is to be liked.  The driving need of a stabilizer is security and trust.  Each drive in each personality is unique and the combination of drives along with the variability of MBTI-ness within each category allows for a wide variety of personal-ness. 

Personality is a spectrum. We reflect what we value in any given situation.  You can be anything you need to be within the personality spectrum at any time. The classification reflects what you chose to be in a majority of situations.

Avoid the pitfall of the personality study. It’s okay to classify core drives, as long as you free a person to act accordingly in a given situation. We are all different from one another. Common drives do not preclude uniqueness among the kinds. It’s simply a reflection of the patterns in your brain. Three lobes – three personalities, with the fourth personality composed of the intersection of the three. If my brain favors the left lobe, I’ll be more analytical. If my brain favors the right, I’ll be more controlling. If my brain favors the lower lobe, I’ll be more feeling. Stabilizers tend to the center, the intersection of the three.