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Human beings are unique and individual and we also have similarities. Whilst we can all have different qualities, quirks, thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes, it is possible to group people by different personality types.
One method of grouping personality types, which is taken from Transactional Analysis, is known as Personality Adaptations (Vann Joines, 1986). These suggest that personality can be divided into six ways of operating in the world. However, because people are unique and individual it is unlikely they will fully fit any one adaptation but they will easily get a sense of which one or two are most relevant.
The adaptations are:-
Enthusiastic – Overreactor
These are the people pleasers. They are caring and usually generous. They like attention and are the life and soul of the party. They feel bad if they do not get enough attention. They like groups of people and are good team players. Their focus is on other people and so are good at noticing others people’s moods/needs. They can feel upset when people are unhappy. They are in touch with their feelings. They can over react and be volatile. They can be seen as immature, self centred, and vain. They hide anger for fear of hurting others.
Responsible – Workaholic
These are the perfectionists. They are smart, neat and organised, liking order and structure. They are very good at detail and spotting mistakes. They are reliable but can tend to over-detail. They can be tense and overly inhibited and often have rituals. They are good thinkers but tend to obsess instead of feeling. They rarely give themselves an opportunity to relax and have fun and can be very critical of themselves and others.
Brilliant – Sceptic
These are the sharp thinkers. They are hyper-vigilant, noticing what is going on around them and are highly tuned to non-verbal communication. Though intuitive, they sometimes misread others and can be paranoid. They will often be critical of others. They don’t like surprises, and can be jealous, envious and suspicious. They equate criticism with shame. Their main issue is trust, and need to learn to check out their perceptions rather then assume that they are true.
Creative – Daydreamer
These are the withdrawn creators. They like time on their own or with a few people – disliking groups. They are often in creative jobs. They tend to daydream. They are hard workers and like to be left to get on with things. They are very loyal and are calm in a crisis. They express little emotion and are deep thinkers. They dislike small talk and can appear cold. Their response to threat is to keep a low profile and withdraw even more.
Playful – Resistor
These are the rebels. If they feel they are being controlled they will dig their heels in and get into power struggles. They often make contact by arguing. They are energised when starting something but get easily bored – not finishing things. They are often playful and like to have fun. They like groups, but prefer others to initiate. They like attention but often get it in negative ways – substitute fighting for intimacy.
Charming – Manipulator
These are the smart thinkers. They are fast thinkers – needing to be a step ahead of others to feels safe. They like high stimulation, action and excitement. They are charismatic and fun to be around but can be very manipulative. They can swing from being the centre of attention to withdrawing – when they get bored. They can be seductive but then abandon before they are abandoned. They get lots of attention for the drama they create. They struggle to trust that anyone will be there for them.
These personality adaptations can be extremely useful to understand others and ourselves. Once we have an understanding we can see how we may misunderstand or get into conflict with others, and with further learning we can develop new ways to communicate with others to enhance our relationships both personally and professionally.
Written by Leilani Mitchell
These are my random ramblings today; tomorrow I might change my mind.
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