Knowing personality types aids communication

By: 

Lorna Marquardt, Leader Columnist

I have done a fair amount of research on personality traits/types. Determining the traits of my family, friends and co-workers has helped me communicate with them in a way that suits their personality.

Due to the limitations of space for this article, I will focus on the two major personality types: A and B. Some studies break them down further into four dimensions: assertive, amiable, expressive and analytical.

A rather brief description of type A personalities is as follows:

They are generally overly concerned about time; they feel guilty when they are not doing “something.”

They are obsessed with achievement; they are often overachievers. They get involved in many activities and want to perform well at all.

They experience lots of stress. They often become overwhelmed by what they have to do. The tasks are usually a long list they planned for themselves.

They are very competitive. They love challenges, but they hate to lose.

They find it difficult to relax, sometimes even while on vacation.

They might have a problem with teamwork; they get frustrated by slow workers. Often they prefer to work alone.

They have a wide range of interests.

Type B Personality traits:

They are relaxed and laid back. They do not feel a sense of urgency. They are not overly concerned with deadlines.

They generally do not feel a great deal of stress. They have no problem relaxing or sitting without anything to do. They enjoy the moment.

They are often procrastinators. They sometimes delay work until the last moment.

They can be high achievers too because the lack of stress allows them to be calm while doing a good job.

They are patient.

When faced with competition, they focus less on winning or losing, and focus more on enjoying the game.

They are attracted to careers of creativity, writer, counselor, teacher, therapist. Network and computer systems managers, professors and judges are most likely to be type B. Their personal character may enjoy exploring ideas and concepts.

There is no “right” or “wrong” or better personality type; each one has strengths and weaknesses.

Assessing personality types has helped me at jobs/positions I have held, and it has helped me communicate with friends and employees.

Some examples:

Recognizing each alderperson’s personality type was helpful. Alderperson Bob Kurkiewicz is a definite type A. Time is critical to him; in fact, he has his phone set to notify him of where he should be and at what time. When Bob came to my office, I knew he wanted to cut to the chase. He didn’t appreciate small talk, he wanted to discuss why he came in. I knew it was frustrating for him when someone was in my office and he was there to see me. It wasn’t unusual for him to pace outside my office or walk up to my window to be sure I knew he was there. I tried to accommodate him when I could knowing he had many other things he still had to accomplish that day.

Alderperson Woody Davis is a type B. When he stopped by, he was relaxed and jovial, and he conversed with no apparent sense of urgency. If someone was in my office, Woody would chat with the staff up front, walk into the break room or just wait patiently until I was free. He often walked to City Hall and seemed to enjoy the process, always conscious of his surroundings. He studied the city issues, but did not seem overly stressed about them, quietly discussing solutions or alternative problem-solving ideas.

When a police officer would come to see me, he or she would get to the point quickly, as most officers are type A. I can’t think of anyone in the city who is a more defined type A than Tom Stefl. His sense of urgency is clearly recognizable. Relaxing is not in his vocabulary. He is a high achiever. When he came to my office, he generally stayed standing, as he was ready to move on to his next endeavor.

My hubby is a type A too. I guess opposites attract, as I am a type B. My hubby plans his day always the day before, while I am more spontaneous. He inquires what my plans are, and he is considerate and tries to work around my plans.

He is very routine, and it upsets him if his plans are disrupted. He can become stressed easily; he expects a lot of himself. I expect a lot from myself, too, but I am more apt to shake it off if something doesn’t pan out.

The presidential debate or Packers game?

Answer to last week’s question: The three lumber companies in Shawano in 1972 were Garvey Bigelow Lumber Co., John Kadletz Lumber Co., and Retail Lumber and Supply Lumber Co.

This week’s question is: Who was the city clerk-treasurer in 1974?

Lorna Marquardt is a former mayor of Shawano.