Archive for January, 2009

What’s the difference between a ‘type’ and a ‘trait’ model?

Most of us will come across psychological theories which are either based on an analysis of ‘traits’ or ‘types’.

Simply put, ‘traits’ are the “enduring ways in which we perceive, relate to and think about our environment and ourselves”. For example, there is one personality theory which identifies 5 dimensions:

1.    Extraversion – outgoing and stimulation-oriented vs. quiet and stimulation-avoiding
2.    Neuroticism – emotionally reactive, prone to negative emotions vs. calm, imperturbable
3.    Agreeableness – affable, friendly, conciliatory vs. aggressive, dominant, disagreeable
4.    Conscientiousness – dutiful, planful, and orderly vs. laidback, spontaneous, and unreliable
5.    Openness to experience – open to new ideas and change vs. traditional and oriented toward routine

A true psychometric test will measure how strongly each of these factors is present in a person – not just whether it’s present or not. It will measure, for example, where a person sits on a scale from complete Extraversion to complete Introversion.

In contrast, ‘Type’ theories assess people according to whether they have one ‘type’ or not. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), for example, assesses 4 sets of 2 factors:

Extraversion or Introversion
Sensing or intuition
Thinking or Feeling
Judging or Perceiving

So with the MBTI a person is assessed as one of 16 possible ‘types’ for example, ENTJ, ISFP, ESFJ and so on.

Empathy is a mixture of ‘trait’ and ‘type’ theory. It describes which ‘type’ a person may be – for example, Politician. But it goes beyond this by identifying how strongly present the different ‘traits’ are that make up the Politician style. So, for example, if we recognise the Politician style in someone, we would say that he/she has strong, average or weak Politician. This means that a unique combination of styles is possible and that a person’s behaviour (possibly stemming at that moment from their temperament) can be described in a unique way. And, of course, this is all achieved without the need for a questionnaire!

Time to get in touch – even with the difficult characters!

Goethe said “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, do now. Boldness has genius and magic in it.”

Clement W. Stone, one of the top insurance salespeople in the US in the 70’s said “Whatever the mind can believe the person can achieve”

What is it that stops us from doing the things that we want to do? The belief that we can’t actually do it, or wondering what other people might think, or …………. what? Think back to the time when you ‘put your head above the parapet’ and did something extraordinary – something that you really wanted to do. We have that power – the power to be extraordinary, and yet for many of us it lies dormant for much of the time. Much of the time it doesn’t perhaps matter that we don’t do what we really want to do – as we’ve never done it, we’ve lost nothing – we just end up disappointed, perhaps saying “If only…” or preferably, “Next time….”.

But in this market, at this time, as salespeople (and we subscribe to the view that if you’re in business then you’re in sales) we need to dream of the possibilities and then we need to connect with that ‘dream’ and be bold and make it come true.

Gray said that the difference between top performers and those who weren’t was simply that the top performers did the things that others won’t do – mostly around contacting people – they would contact the people that others wouldn’t.

So, today, do the things that you need to do – do the things that others won’t – be bold, pick up the phone and call those people. If you need some help with an approach for these people then pick up the phone and contact us on 01628 671 677.

I’ve used the word ‘need’ in the above paragraph but, in my experience, ‘need’ doesn’t work – how many of us need to get fit etc, and then how many of us actually do anything about it from that place of need?

I was once given the shortest time management course ever – “You will do what you want to do” – it could be as simple as that. If you want it you’ll do it; if you don’t want it you won’t do it. The challenge then becomes “how do I (make myself?) want to do something enough for me to do the things that I don’t want to do?” Belief is the answer – belief that you do want it – is that what you really, really want? Or would you rather go to sleep?

The other approach is to bring it into existence – bring it into the world – speak about it, write it down, live as though it’s happening now. Hence comes the warning, “Be careful what you wish for (because you may just get it!)”

Welcome to Empathy Styles!

We all do things in different ways. We all communicate in different ways. Just consider the differences in communication with a boss and a grandparent. What’s more, we probably think that ‘0ur’ way is best.

Empathy Styles is an approach which allows us to understand ourselves, the temperaments of others and how we can work together to everyone’s benefit. When was the last time you really changed your approach to your work colleagues, your partner or your children to fit in with their personality?

We offer people the diamond rule…

…treat people as they want to be treated!