Personality, Communication, and Engagement

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Most of us know that individual differences exist, yet we often forget that when we are communicating. The most powerful communication is one where we are capable of taking the other person’s perspective and truly listen to their intentions and deep motivations. Personality typologies can give us powerful models to help us meet others at their view of the world.

Temperament theory tells us what are core psychological needs are. If you are having trouble understanding someone else, think about what needs might be behind what they are saying:

Improviser: Freedom to act now and to have an impact

Stabilizer: Responsibility and a place to contribute

Theorist: Competency, mastery, and knowledge

Catalyst: Sense of unique identity and deep meaning and significance

Recognize those needs and you’ll find ways to be more understanding and even speak to these needs.

Interaction Styles is a model that describes energy patterns, but behind the behind those patterns are drives with corresponding aims. If we recognize these drives and aims, we understand why someone is being forceful, looking tense, seeming slow to act, or even overly engaging.

In-Charge: Drive to accomplish in order to get an achievable result

Chart-the-Course: Drive to anticipate in order to get a desired result

Behind-the-Scenes: Drive to integrate and to get the best result possible

Get-Things-Going: Drive to involve and be involved and to get an embraced result


Since all behavior communicates, good communication is essential to engagement. And we would have better employee engagement if we had good communication earmarked by perspective taking.

Besides communication, if workers are engaged in activities that suit their needs and drives, they work will feel good.

It isn’t the whole picture, but is an important one and that is why I train growth agents and change agents in using these models. Check out the Integral Type Certification coming up in July!