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Dealing with different personality traits in the office

Dealing with different personality traits in the office

By Mary Corrado, courtesy SBAM Approved Partner ASE

The ASE team recently took part in a day-long customer service training.  Part of the training included a DiSC assessment, which is a behavior assessment tool.  It segments behavior types into four groups: D, I, S, or C.  So, when I came across an article recently that claims that all people fall into one of four personality categories, I found it interesting.


The article outlines a controversial study led by Northwestern University professor William Revelle, Ph.D.  They claim that all humans fall into four personality types: average, reserved, self-centered, and role model.  The researchers plotted personality types based on the widely accepted personality traits of:  neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.  They describe each type as:


Average – They scored higher in neuroticism and extroversion than in agreeableness and conscientiousness but are mostly characterized by an average score in all traits.

Reserved – They scored low on neuroticism and openness. They are the most emotionally stable.

Self-Centered – Disagreeable, not open-minded, not hard working, and are extroverted.

Role Model – These people are nice, agreeable, not neurotic, and are open minded.  They scored low in neuroticism and high in every other trait.


Many of the personality tests I’ve read about divide people into one of 16 categories, so I find it interesting that this new research can narrow it down to just four.  


While the DiSC assessment we all took at ASE isn’t necessarily a personality test, it does assess behavior types, which has a lot do to with personality.  And just as the researchers describe in this article, people can change over time.  The first time I took the DiSC assessment I was a D, but years later after taking it again I’ve moved into the C category.  The categories for the DiSC assessment are described as:


D – Dominance: direct, results oriented, firm, strong-willed, forceful

I – Influence: outgoing, enthusiastic, optimistic, high-spirited, lively

S – Steadiness: even-tempered, accommodating, patient, humble, tactful

C – Conscientiousness: analytical, reserved, precise, private, systematic

The best part of an entire team taking an assessment like this, is that you not only learn what category you fall into, you learn what category your team mates fall into.  The training that comes along with it then shows you how these different behavior types make decisions differently, handle challenges differently, work differently, etc.  I highly encourage it for any team.


As more and more research is being done, I find it fascinating what we can learn about ourselves and each other.  It’s helpful in both personal and professional relationships.  How we relate with each other has a lot to do with personality and behavior traits. In an office setting where people are working together 8+ hours a day and constantly solving challenges, it’s important to know how to work with each individual to get the best out of everyone.

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