Today, I want to talk about leading people with different personality types in the military. As a leader, you will deal with many different types of people in the military.
I learned a long time ago that everyone is wired differently. Bring 100 people into one room and you will have a wide variety of different personalities. Some people are laid back, some are analytical, some are hard charging, and others are extremely funny.
To be an effective leader, you have to have a basic understanding of the different personality types, so you can communicate effectively with each person that you lead. In other words, it’s different strokes for different folks. You can’t lead everyone the same way and do it effectively.
Depending upon who you ask, there are four MAJOR personality types. Most people have a predominant personality and a secondary personality. The predominant personality might make up 50 to 75 percent of their personality, and then they typically have some combination of qualities from the other personality types.
Here are the four major personality types.
Red (The Lion)
Red personalities are risk takers. They are strong leaders, strong willed, impatient, competitive, rational, driven, purposeful, aggressive, restless and touchy. People with this personality type are typically the high achievers in sales and in business.
Blue (The Beaver)
Blue personalities are deep thinkers. They are anxious, moody, pessimistic, quiet, deep thinkers, analytical, detail oriented, precise, reserved and systematic. This personality type often works as engineers and accountants.
Green (The Golden Retriever)
Green personalities are laid back and easy going. They are controlled, reliable, careful, thoughtful, even tempered, calm, informal, easy going and easy to get along with. This personality type can work in any job. Sometimes they are perceived as lazy because they are so easygoing.
Yellow (The Otter)
Yellow personalities are the social butterfly. They are the life of the party. They are expressive, sociable, optimistic, animated, fast paced thinkers, outgoing, talkative, carefree and lively. These folks can be great entertainers, story tellers and practical jokers.
Leading Each Type of Personality
When you are leading someone with a red personality type it’s important to be short and to the point. Stay on topic. Be logical. Realize they like to be in control of the situation and that they are naturally competitive and driven. Give them a task and stay the heck out of their way after you do that.
When you are leading someone with a blue personality type, focus on the details. The blue personality types love the details. Give them stats, charts, graphs and as much details and information as you can. This type of person is typically a deep thinker, and enjoys processing the numbers and stats in their mind.
When you are leading someone who is a green personality type, try not to be confrontational with them. Remember that they are laid back and easy going. Try to be laid back and easy going when you approach them. Be thoughtful and considerate when you talk to them.
Finally, when you leads someone who is a yellow personality type, please realize that they are people people. They are outgoing and love to have fun. They have tons of great ideas, but they get distracted easily. Don’t give them too much information or try to stress them out. If possible, make the task that you are giving them fun.
I look back over my military career and boy did I make a lot of mistakes when it comes to different personalities. I am naturally a red, so I like to be short and to the point. I am driven, competitive and a natural achiever. I set high standards for myself (really high) and I expect everyone else to naturally do the same thing.
If there is one thing I really regret, it’s that I didn’t take more time to work on my people skills. I pretty much treated everyone the same. I held everyone to the standards and goals that I set for myself. In most cases, the people with the red personalities loved it, but often times the other personality types had a hard time keeping up.
Had I know what I know now, and applied this knowledge, I could have done a much better job to improve my people skills and relationships.
The bottom line is that everyone you lead is different. Your job as a leader is to find out the personality type of each person that you lead and then come up with ways to communicate and interact with them effectively. It will take some time and patience, but working on your people skills and finding out how each person is “wired” can make a big difference with the productivity and morale of the people you lead.
What do you think? What is your personality type? How do you lead the different personality types? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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