Written by: Isabel Carranza-Gervais, Guest Writer Brainz Magazine
Understanding your own personality is important, but more importantly, is to be able to understand your co-workers and people you do business with. Learning how to communicate and work with different personality types can make any job easier and be more successful at it. Putting the time upfront can lead to great business relationships.
Reality is that not everyone has the same personality. Introverts don’t see things the same way as extroverts. High detail-oriented people don’t communicate the same way as a salesperson. Many things come into play with someone’s personality type, from cultural upbringing, age, religion, gender, etc.
I have worked in big medical corporations for almost 18 years and in the last five years as an entrepreneur, both in the digital marketing areas and with their own set of difficulties. One thing I have learned throughout my career from dealing with colleagues, vendors, and customers, is that no matter where you work or who you work with, there are always different personality types you will encounter. Some will be difficult to navigate or some that will seem easy.
Early on, I realized that in order to be successful at doing my job was to understand how to communicate with others. The sooner you understand this, the easier your job and relationships at work (and at home) will be. At the end of the day, we have to deal with people in our jobs, so we might as well develop the skills that will set us up for success.
The purpose of this article is not to outline every personality type, rather give you some quick tips on how to adapt to any situation easily. I have found that if you apply these quick three easy steps, you will be able to navigate any scenario.
If you are interested in learning about each type of personality, find a free online test - there are many to choose from. Many employers also have personality types of resources to help employees better communicate with their co-workers. Even if you think you know yourself pretty well, you would be surprised what some of these tests uncover about your traits, strengths and weaknesses, and how to relate to others on the opposite side of the spectrum as you.
This being said, it is impossible to ask people you deal with on a daily basis what their “personality type” is, so you know how to deal with them. So, I take a more realistic approach based on what’s been successful for me so far.
Let me preface it by, I am not a psychologist, but I am a digital marketer, and have always been fascinated to learn and understand what makes people do or behave a certain way. After all, marketing tactics apply psychology principles to appeal to people and entice them to take action, on a banner, blog, email, etc., you get my point.
Here are some tips that have worked for me during my career navigating different personality types. I try to apply them every time I collaborate with someone new (and sometimes with old relationships too – as people change) to help me assess how to better manage the business relationship and work together successfully.
What I mean by listening is to truly pay attention to what the other person is saying, how they are expressing themselves, how they are coming across, how are they making you feel? Is the situation easy to navigate, is there resistance, conflict, or just impossible?
By listening, you will discover if they are the type of people that want to get to know you, make small talk, or get right to the point. For example, people that are straight to the point (like me) can come across rude and uncaring when dealing with more sensitive types. This can be a recipe for disaster. Adjusting the tone of voice, delivery and words used can have a
completely different outcome. Being mindful and navigating the conversation where both parties’ needs are met, yet still be business-focus, without being rude or omissive, will result in a more pleasant interaction.
2) Assess (before reacting):
Don’t react negatively if the conversation started on the wrong foot, or on the other side overly optimistic. Stop and think about what you are going to say. It goes both ways; all the points I mentioned above. If the conversation or situation is turning to be difficult, this step is crucial to try to turn it around.
Emotional intelligence plays a big role at this point, in my opinion. Encountering aggressive/harsh personalities or someone that is hard to find common ground with, is always good to take a step back and think before responding and making the situation worse. Instead, being kind, present, and measuring the words that are coming out of your mouth to be respectful and changing the dynamic will be a more productive approach. Oftentimes by doing so, the person in the offensive will realize you are not there to fight and make the issue bigger.
This being said, you do need to assess if the situation has escalated to the point where HR or a manager needs to get involved. One thing is navigating a difficult situation, and another one is being abusive and bullying.
3) Understand & Response:
Instead of jumping into a quick conclusion, ask some quick non-intrusive questions to better understand where they are coming from. Perhaps they had a terrible morning, a situation at home is affecting their mood, they are overworked, or maybe they are just blunt. Whatever it is, don’t judge and try to understand the other person before responding.
Even if you have tried to redirect the conversation into a more productive and positive outcome, it is sometimes just not happening. At this point, it is good to understand why the other person is not easy to work with and step away. Perhaps you caught them in a very stressful time, and would be good to reconvene at a later time, if possible. Understanding the right time and place is important.
I remember one of my first bosses saying, other people’s priority is not my priority. I always think about this when I find resistance from a colleague or a client. My advice here is to respectfully state the facts of what is needed, the urgency of the project and reiterate the importance of working together to meet the deadline. Lastly, asking them when a better time is to meet. Giving people the importance of their contributions is important, as it makes them feel part of the “team” and their work will contribute to the greater good for the company or the project at stake.
Remember, we need to learn how to relate to others mindfully, respectfully, and purposefully. We cannot alienate people out of your work life just because our personalities clash. Instead, learn how to navigate them and turn them into a positive relationship. Spending the time upfront to develop quality relationships will always be better than spending double the time trying to fix bad ones. You might be surprised that people have more things in common than what they think they do, by just understanding different personalities.
Hopefully, you find my tips on how to better understand other personality types useful. No matter what the personality is, I believe that if you apply these three steps, it will give you valuable insights on the other person and, in return, a better business relationship.
Isabel Carranza-Gervais, Guest Writer Brainz Magazine
Isabel has over 20 years of experience in the digital marketing industry, with the last 17+ years working primarily in the medical field. In the last 5 years she has led a boutique digital marketing agency in San Diego, CA – Digital Marketing Integrated. Focusing on providing businesses with customized and targeted digital marketing solutions tailored to their business goals and objectives. Digital marketing solutions may include web design & development, social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Vine, Periscope, etc.), inbound marketing, online marketing, ecommerce and more.