Energy plus Engagement = Power!

Tom is struggling with getting the car in gear. It’s a small Kia, manual, right-hand drive. As an American he’s used to automatic, left-hand drive. Actually he’s a World traveller and has driven cars in all parts of the World. But this Kia’s gearbox holds some challenges for him. I’m in Eire, in Wexford, guest of my good friends Christine and Tom Harvey who are enjoying a house swap for 6 weeks; and a rented Kia!
So the engine is revving but we’re not going anywhere. I know there’s a message here for me – it’s fine for me to have lots of energy and enthusiasm but if it’s not connected to anything then I’m not going anywhere. There’s energy but no real Power. I need to engage my enthusiasm with a vision, a plan, a project timeline, or whatever I call my method of getting going. Connect your enthusiasm to a plan or a vision and you’ll get Power – potentially an unstoppable force to accomplish something worthwhile. Now it is also true that simply creating plan or a vision can create an enthusiasm to achieve it, but if you’re not getting to where you want to be then you might want to look at your enthusiasm or your engagement, or both.
Empathy Styles ( shows us that each of the 7 styles has its own way of combining these two elements of life. The most powerful with the most focus is the Politician who’ll be very clear about what needs to be done, and it will get done. The Hustler has a different way of getting things done but will still be effective.
The Engineer will have both the plan and the willingness to engage with it although the final result will take its own time. At least having the Engineer involved we know the final solution will work! The Normal also has an orderly way of getting things done – it may not be exciting but it will be logical.
The 3 styles who have most difficulty with combining Enthusiasm with Engagement are the Mover (lots of energy but if there’s no plan will easily be distracted); the Double-Checker (quite capable of creating a plan but will need help getting started); and the Artist (great at dreaming of a great vision but little sense of urgency – “I’ll do it when I’m ready”!)
Of course we’re all a combination of Empathy Styles (thank goodness) which gives me, at least, hope! As a strong Normal, Double-Checker, Artist I have my own challenge to engage my variable enthusiasm. I know that I can create a great vision but I also know that I have to work to overcome my inertia and doubts to create value for myself and others.
So where do you sit with this – what are your strong Empathy styles? And how does that relate to your enthusiasm and your engagement? If you’re lucky to have two or more styles that combine well to produce both Enthusiasm and Engagement you are indeed fortunate. I’d love to hear from you about how you get to produce things worthwhile.
Visit to discover your strong Empathy Styles, or to learn more about Empathy Styles.
Or contact me at or +44 (0) 207 100 2520

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!