September 2002 - How Personality Roles affect the Workplace
How Personality Roles affect the Workplace
In this article we talk about how the various personality roles affect the workplace and how to use that knowledge to create a more productive environment where teams can be most effective.
Each of the personality roles (archetypes) brings something positive to a work environment. They can bring their negative aspects as well. When the positive aspect is missing, it means the work environment is not functioning at its full potential.
The most powerful and productive team has all seven roles and their positive qualities represented. This brings the greatest potential for power and dealing with all sides of an issue. Having a wide variety of personalities also has the greatest potential for conflict due to misunderstanding among the different viewpoints.
When looking at a work situation, team or work environment, it is helpful to see which of the qualities listed above are represented. Notice which of the positive qualities are present and which are missing. Notice which of the negative qualities are present.
To adjust the situation, add more people with the positive personality attributes you want who will most naturally have the associated qualities as described in this article. When people are happy and feel safe, they tend to work from their positive aspects; when they are stressed or oppressed, then tend to exhibit their negative aspects.
People are very complex creatures. You may find someone who has the qualities you need even if they are not the personality type directly associated with the positive quality. That's OK. There are reasons (too detailed to go into here) why they might be able to bring what is needed.
The Artisan personality type brings the ability to see things differently. They like to try new things and test new ideas. Artisans are great for helping to break out of old habits and patterns. They support and encourage creativity.
In an organization trying to change their ways of doing business, Artisans can help change out-dated beliefs and structures. They are great at tearing down, cleaning up, restructuring and recreating.
They are specially adept at creating new ways of thinking, doing and being. Artisans love color, textures and variety. They find ways to use whatever materials are available (people, color, textures, nature, resources) in new and creative ways.
Famous example of Artisans include Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney, Stanley Kubrick, Michaelangelo, Cher, Mozart, Elvis Presley, Vincent Van Gogh and many, many others in the entertainment industry who create a fantasy world for us to enjoy through their creativity.
When the work environment is not healthy or the Artisan has not learned to appropriately use their talents, they can create chaos, confusion and destruction. Too many Artisans in one place without balancing personalities creates challenging work environments that lack stability, coherence and organization. If you have too much chaos, add someone with organizational skills (e.g., Warrior or King) to bring balance.
When a work environment lacks Creativity (the Artisan quality), it suppresses new ideas, becomes resistant to natural changes and decays due to lack of change. Other ways the lack of creativity may show up include: conformity to rigid guidelines, deception, creating false images, refusing to consider new ideas, apathy, drab environments, lifeless energy, violence and destruction.
If you want more creativity in your company, department or work project, find some artistic (Artisan) folks to add to the effort.
Sage Communication / Fun
The Sage personality type excels at communication of all kinds: speaking, writing and body language. They love to share ideas, thoughts and feelings.
Sages can debate what a word means and teach others about truth-telling. President Clinton's discussion of the meaning of the word "is" is a great example. Sages love being in a crowd and usually become the center of attention in any group. Their story-telling ability is legendary. The media, entertainment, marketing and sales fields are filled with Sages.
The Sage's natural ability to enjoy themselves encourages others to lighten up and have fun as well. Whenever there is a party or fun event to be planned, be sure to have a Sage on the team.
On the negative side, Sages can gossip, overload people with information, offend people with edgy over-the-top humor or tell the most outrageous lies . One example of a negative Sage is what people know as the "snake oil salesman."
If you want an environment or project to have better communication, put someone with Sage skills to work on that effort. If an effort is too theoretical and too rigid, add a Sage to loosen up the group.
Famous Sages include President Clinton, Lucille Ball, Jim Carey, Bill Cosby, Walter Chronkite, Kathie Lee Gifford, Regis Philbin, Ann Landers, Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby), Goldie Hawn, Shirley MacLaine, Ronald Reagan, William Shakespeare, Jimmy Stewart, Barbara Walters.
When a work environment lacks the Sage quality, it will lack open communication, suppress information, suppress fun and enjoyable activities, promote dishonesty and denial of the truth. Recent news events point out the failures of many companies to recognize the importance of telling the truth and sharing accurate information.
Hostile work environments may lack the positive Sage quality of lighthearted fun.
Server Respect / Support
Servers are the people who tend to see the good in everyone and work tirelessly to help in whatever way they can. They are the first to be asked to help and usually the first to volunteer when help is needed. Without Servers in the workplace to support people, not much would get done.
Servers can become easily overloaded and trapped because it is hard for them to say "no" to anyone or anything. When stressed, they can become manipulative as their way of getting themselves out of a situation where they feel trapped.
Mother Theresa is a famous of example of a Server in action. Other famous Servers include Ram Dass, Tipper Gore, Florence Nightingale, Grandma Moses and Emily Post. Most Servers would prefer to stay in the background.
If a work environment lacks the Server quality, it shows lack of respect for people or things. It is disrespectful of other people's feelings, beliefs, thoughts and ideas. It also refuses to give people the support they need to do their job.
Hostile work environments demonstrate a lack of the Server quality because they do not respect the individual's rights to a safe space at work.
Priest Vision / Compassion
Priests are the visionary people who inspire others to be all they can be. They see the possibilities in people and situations that others cannot see.
Priests provide encouragement to keep going in spite of obstacles. They tend to have stronger natural intuition than most people, which can be a gift or a curse if others don't understand their abilities.
A work environment that encourages people to be the best they can be, creates a vision that inspires people and demonstrates that management cares about the people exemplifies the Priestly qualities.
Priests possess the ability for deep compassion when needed and often serve as natural counselors in the workplace. When a Priest is with someone, the person can feel much better just by being with them. Priests make excellent ministers, counselors, managers, coaches and motivational speakers.
Priests may be first to protest unhealthy work environments, unsafe conditions or mistreatment of employees and can become quiet zealous in their attempts. Ralph Nader is an example of this Priestly aspect through his efforts to protect consumers from faulty products..
Martin Sheen in his role as President Bartlett on The West Wing is a great example of a Priest in action as is Rudy Guiliani, former mayor of New York, who inspired the world in the aftermath of September. 11, 2001. Other famous Priests include Kevin Costner, Joan of Arc, Cesar Chavez, Bob Dylan, Steven Hawking, Martin Luther King Jr. and the former Princess Diana of England.
A work environment that is insensitive to people's needs or condemns people for not blindly following someone else's vision demonstrates a lack of the positive Priestly qualities.
Warrior Partnership / Organization / Protection
Warriors like working with others in teams. They are excellent at organizing projects and bringing order to chaos. They love making rules and laws. Warriors are great at strategic thinking, mobilizing people toward a common goals and protecting people.
The Warrior quality promotes safe workplaces, teamwork, protection of employees and working at maximum efficiency. Warriors are hard workers, like challenges and are often good at physical activities such as sports, building or outdoor jobs.
Warriors love a sense of "belonging" in their work and are very loyal to their leaders. Some Warriors take a leadership role themselves.
Winston Churchill, Harrison Ford, John Wayne, Robert Redford and Colin Powell are examples of Warrior leaders. Also, think of police officers and fire fighters who protect us from harm and allow people to feel safe in their presence.
When the Warrior quality is absent in the workplace or operating in the negative qualities, there can be conflict, unsafe conditions, lack of organization and planning, physical abuse, disloyalty, undermining the efforts of others, inappropriate exploitation of resources, brutality and coercion of people.
Too much structure, too many laws and too much enforcement is not a good thing for any workplace. To help relieve such situations, add more Artisan (Creativity), Sage (Fun) or Priest (Compassion) qualities.
King Energy / Mastery / Leadership
King energy is mastery for the greater good of the organization, its employees and customers. Kings are big-picture people and king energy helps people see the larger picture of whatever is happening.
With positive King qualities, organizations have appropriate resources to do business, people are supplied with what they need to do their work and they perform their responsibilities well. Employees feel that someone is leading them in a positive way and they willingly perform for their leadership. People will follow a leader they respect who has their best interests at heart.
Famous examples of the King personality include Deepak Chopra, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Dole, President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Martha Stewart, Vicente Fox, Patrick Stewart and Katherine Hepburn.
When the kingly qualities are missing or the negative King qualities are present, there is tyranny, oppression, dictatorship, intolerance for others, restriction of the natural flow of energy, a "class segregation" that leads to disloyalty.
In healthy organizations, natural leaders rise to the occasion. In unhealthy ones, the leaders may seem more like dictators forcing their will on others, similar to the oppressive kings of ancient times.
Scholar Flexibility / Knowledge / Integration
Scholar qualities support seeking out new information and ideas, adapting easily and comfortably to changing situations, assimilating and disseminating information, then integrating many things into a unified something. Scholars are often the researchers and librarians for society, seeking knowledge and trying out many new things.
With positive Scholarly qualities in the workplace, information is gathered and shared easily. People feel safe to explore new ideas and learn new things. The organization is able to adjust and integrates changes easily. Scholars can also be the teachers for society, even when not in a formal teaching role.
Famous examples of Scholars include Aristotle, Confucius, Joseph Campbell, Carlos Castaneda, Alan Greenspan, Immanuel Kant, Plato, Faith Popcorn, Carl Sagan, Jody Foster, George Gallup, Galileo Galilei, Al Gore, Anthony Hopkins, Miss Manners, Jane Bryant Quinn, Cybill Shepherd, Gloria Steinem, Sigourney Weaver, Margaret Thatcher, Kenneth Starr.
When the positive Scholarly qualities are missing or the negative qualities are present, there is rigidity in thoughts, ideas and actions. There can be stubbornness, obstinacy, suspicion, restrictions on the flow of information, and a lack of integration and cohesion.
Too many Scholars on a project may result in too much research and theory, and not enough action or creativity. When the Scholarly qualities are missing on a project, try to find someone to fill that role to improve the information gathering and availability.
Source: The information in this article is a combination of our Personality Game with our 7 Principles of Spirituality in the Workplace. When we created the 7 Principles many years ago, we did not consciously connect them with the personality roles. When we were asked to do a workshop on how they related to each other, we realized how closely they do connect.
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