Understanding your unique strengths and weaknesses through the 4 personality types
Fist take the Personality Purpose Test here to know where you fall between the 4 personality types
Understanding the 4 personality types and your strengths and weaknesses is paramount to getting out of your own way.
I am a Driver Expressive and in a former life I was in a job that required attention to detail, was very monotonous, consisted of detailed work, and was very quiet and alone. I love science and enjoyed so much of it BUT it did not line up with my strengths at ALL. Not surprisingly I found myself unhappy and unfulfilled and I didn’t really understand why until I had to brake this down for my coaching clients.
You may be in the same trap I found myself in. If you are not exactly where you want to be at this moment, or keep asking yourself
“What is my problem!?!”
Chances are you are getting in your own way, you are trying to do or be something that is not aligned with who you truly are, that does not match up with the unique gifts that YOU and only you possess.
There are many different classifications for personalities out there, and everyone has their preferences. I find that many of the different classifications systems are based on the four major types that stem from Hippocrates, way back in the 4th century BC in Greece. I reference Florence Littauer’s book, Personality Plus in this article, and base most of my understanding of the personalities from her work. I suggest you check out her book because it is the best one I have read that explains, in easy anecdotal terms, the personalities and how to manage them.
I prefer to use adjectives instead of the terms used in the book howvere, which are based on the Greek physician Hippocrates’s humors. I find it is much more likely that I will remember what an ‘Expressive’ temperament is like than a ‘Sanguine’ temperament.
The four personality types are: Driver, Expressive, Amiable, and Analytical. There are two variables to identify any personality:
Are they better at facts & data or relationships? And are they introverted or extroverted.
For a more in-depth explanation of each of the personality types check out my last post HERE where I outline them each in detail. Here we will be focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of each and how you can use this knowledge to leverage your skills and get out of your own way so you can get S*%T done. But I will summarize with a graphic:
How can you use this information to Get Out of Your Own Way?
Once you understand your dominant and secondary personality type you can begin to look at the strengths and weaknesses associated with those temperaments and take stock of the three key weaknesses and strengths that you possess so you can harness them to your advantage.
Take your Personality Purpose Test here
Both Expressives and Drivers see their strengths quickly and identify with them immediately however, they can hardly bear to evaluate their weaknesses. One of their greatest faults is their feeling they don’t have any. On the other side of the spectrum Analyticals and Amiables, because of their pessimistic natures, have to think awhile before accepting their positive qualities but may embrace their weaknesses to a fault.
If you find your dominant personality (or perhaps secondary personality) is an Expressive one, here are some places to look for ways you can harness your inner strengths and for ways you may be holding yourself back:
Expressives are often a bit naïve, and don’t take themselves seriously, which can result in an attitude of complacency. They may not accept that they have faults or that their faults are not bad enough to demand action.
Expressives are endlessly positive and optimistic and are amazing at making friends and inspiring people. They can captivate and motivate others with their dazzling and exciting optimism. They are great at generating enthusiasm and momentum and are often very creative and colorful. They have an amazing ability to make anything fun and to make people laugh.
Expressives want to be liked above all else. Praise and other people’s opinions are more important to an Expressive than any other temperament. They seek out praise, thriving on it, which can lead to despair and emotional turmoil when they do not receive it. This can negatively affect the way Expressives chose to interact with others, how they make decisions, and how they interact in relationships.
They excel at jobs and activities where they are front and center, interacting with people and using their creativity to drum up new ideas. (they will need an Analytical or a Driver to see the ideas through however).
Lack of follow through is a common trait of an enthusiastic Expressive. They often get really excited about a new project but loose interest part way through because they get bored, it gets hard, they are too disorganized, or too immature and don’t stick it out to see it to the end. They also lack patience and will plow forward without much planning or thought for consequences.
Expressives are also rather forgetful and absent minded. This stems from a place of self-centeredness. They are often so wrapped up in their colorful stories that they would rather talk than listen resulting in a poor attention to detail and an inability to focus or remember key facts such as other people’s names.
Too talkative. They often interrupt others and have a hard time focusing on others’ comments and suggestions. They are also very uncomfortable with silence and have to fill it with mindless chatter.
Expressives – How to use this information to your advantage
Realize that creativity and enthusiasm are your strengths and motivate others to help you organize and follow through.
Know that you are likely to lose interest when things get hard or boring and plan accordingly…have an accountability partner, make a reward for getting halfway through a task etc.
Know that you are charming but resist the urge to always be the one talking. Give others room to talk and maybe you can learn something.
Focus is not your strength and details and facts suffer because of it. Make a concerted effort to write things down and repeat them out loud.
Your strength is in your charisma and optimism and a need for attention. Don’t get into a job or field that requires you to be quite, detailed, or working solo.
Get help! You hate plans and detail oriented tasks so get someone to do that part for you.
Have fun. You are great at it!
If you find your dominant personality (or perhaps secondary personality) is an Analytical one, here are some places to look for ways you can harness your inner strengths and for ways you may be holding yourself back:
Analyticals are very deep and thoughtful, appreciative of beauty and intelligence. They are often very creative and inventive and great with numbers and linear thinking. They are very orderly and organized and are often perfectionist. This perfectionism leads to procrastination because they spend too much time in the planning phase afraid of getting something wrong.
They put unrealistic demands on themselves and others. They demand perfection which can push others to rebel against them and can push Analyticals into a downward spiral into depression.
Analyticals are very thoughtful and compassionate and make great listeners. Their ability to empathize is a great strength, and being a thoughtful listener can make others feel well supported.
Their emotional nature, however, is often moody, and they can sometimes control people with their moodiness without being aware. They also take everything personally. Because Analyticals plan out every thought and comment to a tee and they assume others do as well therefore, a flippant comment from an Expressive or Driver can feel to an Analytical like it must have a deep and hidden meaning. They often go out of their way to be hurt, or to feel left out or unimportant.
They tend towards pessimism and can therefore turn positives into negatives and thus people avoid inviting them to things or asking their opinion. They often hold onto and remember wrongs and negatives, keeping a score card if you will.
Analyticals are often brilliant and tend towards genius. They think they are unique or above classification which can lead to a sense of superiority. They can also be very judgmental however, they are most likely their own harshest critic.
Because of their inborn negative inclination and their perfectionism, Analyticals often have low self-images. They also feel insecure in social situations. They say things that sound humble like “I never get anything right” but really they are saying they are insecure and asking for a compliment that they will more than likely reject.
Analyticals excel at jobs that require attention to detail, careful planning, and linear thinking. They are also very good with finances and are very economical. Budgeting and staying with a budget are easy for an Analytical.
Analyticals – How to use this information to your advantage
If you are an Analytical chances are you don’t believe it. You hate being put in abox and believe you are unique and unclassifiable. Your are unique! But you are also an Analytical, and there are more like you! Embrace that fact and understand that there are others who are not at ALL like you so lighten up on them okay? And on yourself while you are at it!
You know that you have a tendency towards moodiness and depression so be mindful of the times you feel like descending into darkness and take a step back and ask yourself if it is really as bad as you think.
You are amazing at organizing, and focusing on the details so put your skills to work in the projects and plans you have for your life, work, career.
Understand that it will never be perfect so just finish it already!
You are an amazingly thoughtful and deep thinker, use this power to help others to be heard and don’t use it to dwell on your, or their, short comings.
Get help! enthusiasm and excitement are not your strong suit so get someone else to help drum up support for you and sell your ideas to others.
Go Be brilliant!
If you find your dominant personality (or perhaps secondary personality) is a Driver, here are some places to look for ways you can harness your inner strengths and for ways you may be holding yourself back:
Drivers always think they are right and are thus resistant to accepting they have faults and need to change them. They often rationalize that something was due to the fault of another, not that they may be at fault or have a weakness.
Drivers Get. S*%t. Done. They are amazing at multi-tasking, at finding the best, quickest, and most straight forward way to accomplish any task. Because of this they often take charge and then doll out orders. However, they are compulsive workers. Drivers can get a lot done but they do not know how to just say no and relax. They always have to be productive and often feel guilty when they try to take a break.
Drivers have amazing follow through and can always be counted on to complete a task, however, unlike an Analytical their attention to detail is low because that interferes with productivity. This can result in rushing through something and leaving out a critical detail for example.
Drivers may claim they are perfectionists as well because everything could be better, more efficient, neater, more organize but the reality is, Drivers lack the patience of a true Analytical perfectionist (unless that is your other temperament and then watch out!). This ‘perfectionism’ leads to Drivers pressuring themselves and thus pressuring others. Similar to an Analytical, Drivers put too much pressure on themselves to preform resulting in guilt when they don’t live up to their own high expectations.
Drivers excel at leadership roles because they must be in control and often don’t feel at ease when not in control. Because drivers always think they are right they often are short sited and cannot see where they went wrong or how to fix it. This can keep them spinning their wheels, doing the same wrong things over and over again (relationships anyone?)
Apologizing is hard for a Driver, just as admitting they are wrong. Saying sorry is a sign of weakness to a Driver and admitting weaknesses is the hardest for this personality type.
Because they always feel they are right, they know best and this quickly turns to judgment of others. Drivers also come across as bossy and overbearing when they think they are just being helpful.
Driver must realize that not everyone is motivated and goal oriented and they will thus not respond with enthusiasm to all of your ideas and plans.
Drivers are also very optimistic and outgoing. They are always pushing themselves and others to do and be better, and they truly believe in the possibilities.
Drivers – How to use this information to your advantage
Drivers, lighten up! Learn how to let go a little and relax. And maybe delegate?!?
Accept that others’ ways are equally as good or better. And remember that not everyone wants your advice!
You have an amazing ability to get stuff done and an unending amount of optimism that you can, use this to move toward your goals, but don’t let it make you feel guilty for not achieving it ALL. You are already crushing it, others are most likely in awe of you, don’t be hard on youraelf (and don’t let it get to your head)
You are a natural leader, so don’t put yourself in positions were you have to be subordinate (if you can help it).
You can rub people the wrong way by being bossy and manipulative, remember that and slow down, and listen to others, and realize that they probably have some good advice and ideas too.
Get Help! Let someone else make the detailed plans, you might overlook something in the rush to accomplishing EVERYTHING.
Now go kick some ASS!
If you find your dominant personality (or perhaps secondary personality) is an Amiable, here are some places to look for ways you can harness your inner strengths and for ways you may be holding yourself back:
Amiables are amazingly flexible and calm. They are not emotional or explosive and help the other three temperaments to stay calm in tumultuous times. They are great at making friends and are very agreeable. However, they never want to hurt others’ feelings so they have a hard time saying no, or expressing how they really feel. They are often unwilling to communicate because of fear of uncomfortable situations and rocking the boat.
Amiables, are not easily excited or enthusiastic which can really hurt and deflate others. They have little need for entertainment and are often hard to get out of the house to do things. They could stay home all month if no one comes calling and drags them out.
They are also very resistant to change and prefer the status quo even if they are not completely satisfied, they would rather stick it out than risk change.
Amiables are champion procrastinators. Their mantra could be “I’ll do it tomorrow”. They procrastinate in hopes of avoiding every having to do or make a decision. This often comes across as lazy. Amiables struggle with making decisions and taking responsibility for fear of making the wrong decision or upsetting someone in the process …easier to just not make the decision…right?
They are often very un-motivated. Amiables need motivation from others to actually do something but are then very resistant to being pushed. They can be very stubborn.
Amiables are very patient and well balanced. They are great at holding their tongue and staying calm even when provoked. This makes them great administrators, mediators and leaders. Their ability to get along with everyone and stay calm is valuable.
Amiable – How to use this information to your advantage
Get out of the house and do something already!
Decision making is not your strong suit. Know this about yourself and impose a limit to how long you are allowed to ruminate over something…10 second 10 minutes, 1 day. Don’t push it till tomorrow!
Everyone loves you but don’t let them walk all over you! Stand up for yourself and don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
Understand that you need help in the motivation department so find a friend or colleague who you trust and who is not too condescending and have them hold you accountable.
You have an amazing sense of humor so let it shine.
You can get along with anyone, use this to your advantage.
Get help! You need a little push to get going and get excited. Maybe you could use a little help from a mentor or coach who will push you and keep you on track.
And again, don’t put it off until tomorrow.
Stay Cool and carry on!
How I am applying this in my own life
In writing this series on the 4 personality types I have had to revisit some of the past lessons I have learned from taking my own personality test. I am a Driver Expressive with all of the Driver weaknesses…especially the pushy and bossy ones. It never feels good to check those boxes, but I have to remind myself of how far I have come. Before I did all of this personality work (in my 20’s) a lot of my friends would have called me bossy, now I don’t think that would be in their top 3 for a description of me (okay maybe in the top 5?) but that is a good shift and I can accept that!
Another area I have really noticed this time around is my lack of patience which leads to sloppiness. I need to find a good perfectionist to help me do some editing and take a good look at my website and business to help me stay organize, on track, and on point.
The final place this deep dive into the 4 personality types has taken me on this round, is affirming my direction in life. In a former life I was in a job that required an attention to detail, was very monotonous, consisted of detailed work, and was very quiet and alone. I love science and enjoyed so much of it BUT it did not line up with my strengths at ALL. I am a Driver Expressive…I hate detail, quiet, and solo work.
Now I see that being a Life Coach and professional Butt-kicker is EXACTLY what I was meant to be doing! I mean come on!?! I get to motivate inspire and push (notice I chose not to use the word bossy) amazing women to be Their Gutsiest selves.
If this article has done anything for you I hope it has helped you to see how amazing you are and what gifts you have to share with the world.
Know that there is NOTHING wrong with you. You just need to understand where your strengths lie and where the areas are you can improve or delegate, and then get moving toward the life you are meant to be living.
I would love to hear what you learned about yourself from this series. Leave a comment below
And if you want to dive deeper I would love to help! Check out more here
You may also be interested in:
How to use this information to achieve goals and excel at life-check out my post on Goal Setting 101 and get a Free Goal Setting Worksheet
and Don’t forget to take the Personality Purpose Test
Now go kick some butt!