Field Guide: Working with Dominant Personality Types
“What do you think about _______?”
No matter what topic you use to fill in the blank, you can rest assured that someone with a dominant personality type will answer your question quickly, maybe even before you finish asking it.
These folks are wired to make decisions fast—without second guessing and with plenty of confidence. They make strong, inspiring leaders. They can also, at times, be frustrating to work with, especially if they interrupt you or shut down opinions apart from their own.
Here’s what you need to know about working and communicating with people who have this personality type.
How to recognize the dominant personality type:
- They might share opinions freely, frequently, and quickly
- They might volunteer solutions to problems—all the problems
- They might talk a lot about results and potentially expect to see them within tight time frames
- They might be good at delegating tasks
- They might make split decisions without blinking an eye
- They might take on leadership roles
- They might exude superhuman confidence
- They make visionary leaders and can motivate others to strive for better results
- They have no problem making decisions under pressure and tend to keep things running through setbacks and surprises
- They embrace risk and can get their more cautious co-workers to see the benefits of acting quickly
- Their results-oriented mindset keeps them focused on and working toward big-picture goals
- Prioritize discussing outcomes and dive into process details with other co-workers
- Use action-oriented language and keep conversations focused on how to move forward
- Be prepared to firmly push back on risks, plans, or deadlines that are not reasonable or realistic (They don’t like to hear “no,” but they need to in some situations.)
- When sharing your ideas, lead with the long-term benefits to capture their interest and attention
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YOU DO YOU
Move-out notice: Time to vacate the comfort zone
Here are some tips for breaking that pattern and convincing yourself to leave the comfort zone:Tip 1: Train your brain to accept major changes by introducing smaller, more frequent, changes and novelty. For example, you could learn a few words of a new language every day, try a new workout, take a new route to the same old grocery store, or even just switch up your go-to breakfast. Check out these 103 Best Comfort Zone Challenges >
You’ll be a little uncomfortable every day, but the experience will affirm you can handle change and maybe even enjoy it.
Tip 2: Be strategic in how you choose to make yourself uncomfortable. Many life obligations are also uncomfortable: routine medical procedures, family reunions, and paying taxes, to name just a few.
When it comes to your non-obligatory discomfort, it’s okay to be picky. If you aspire to be a CEO one day, you don’t necessarily need to waste your “discomfort points” on skydiving despite your fear of heights. Maybe instead focus on tackling your fear of public speaking.
Tip 3: Remind yourself to reflect on the benefits of past or upcoming changes.
Our mental perception of a change alters our physiological reaction to it. We experience distress if we see the change as “threatening.” We experience excitement if we see the change as “interesting” or “challenging.”
Any discomfort can automatically communicate “danger” to our minds and bodies. Question this automatic reaction to ensure you’re processing changes rationally.
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Thoughtful performance management practices can help organizations reach their goals, create clarity around role expectations, improve employee performance, engage and inspire employees, improve manager-employee relationships, and more.
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Overworked? Here’s your symptom checker
The natural and inevitable consequence of being chronically overworked is burnout.
Recognized as an “occupational phenomenon,” by the World Health Organization, burnout may leave you feeling incapable, hopeless, unmotivated, and frustrated.
The telltale signs of burnout include…
- Daydreaming on the job
- Wishing you were doing anything except working
- Lethargy and sleepiness (No matter how much coffee you drink)
- Difficulty focusing
- Changes in posture, resulting in back aches and pains
- Missing deadlines
- Deepening apathy
- Chronic negativity (in thoughts, words, and actions)
- Irritability (on and off the job)
What to do if you have one or more burnout symptoms:
Burnout rarely, if ever, goes away on its own. Reflecting on the source of your burnout could help you determine your unique cure, but if all else fails, taking a vacation or stay-cation is almost always a good choice.
Your Recovery Plan
Take a break—a real break. Don’t check your emails. Don’t “be available.” Don’t try “getting ahead so returning to work will be easier.”
Spend your break engaged in activities you love and that make you feel restored. If nothing comes to mind immediately, then that’s just a sign that you’re well overdue for a YOU break.
Seek support and connection. You can discuss your burnout struggles with a trusted friend, colleague, loved one, or therapist. If you’re not comfortable with these discussions, just spending quality time connecting with people can help reduce feelings of burnout.
Spend time engaged in activities that empower you. Burnout can leave you feeling incapable. Participating in activities that make you feel uniquely capable will naturally feel restorative. For example, if you’re a talented painter, take time to create something beautiful and then admire and appreciate your work and your talent.
Engage in physical activity you legitimately enjoy. The flow state will help pull your mind out of work and a cycle of frustration.
Moving Forward: Your Burnout Prevention Plan
Start doing regular self compassion exercises, which will make it easier to recognize and acknowledge when you need to take a step back and practice self care.
Stop saying “yes” automatically. We all want to be agreeable and helpful. As a result, we default to robotically saying things like “No problem!” or “Of course I can help you with that” to requests, whether or not taking them on actually makes sense.
Agreeing to take on everything might make you look good for a while, but it will also make you burn out.
Default to saying “let me get back to you” instead. That way, you don’t reject the request point blank, but you also buy yourself more time to consider if you can or should take the task on. If you decide you just can’t take on the extra work, you can (But you also don’t have to!) offer to help with a small part of the request.
Some fun facts about the word “bitch”
“Bitch” has been in the lexicon since as early as 1000 AD, when it referred exclusively to female dogs.
Some clever “influencer” began using it to insult human women in the 15th century.
In 1811, The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue by Francis Grose labeled the word as the “most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman.”
For some reason we can’t even begin to guess, the word’s circulation increased dramatically after women’s suffrage.
Starting in the 1990s, women themselves began using “bitch” to encapsulate female strength, ambition, and independence. (The song Bitch by Meredith Brooks perfectly captures this phase of the “bitch” timeline.)
“Bitchin” can, according to Merriam-Webster, mean “remarkably bad” or “remarkably good or cool.” Not confusing at all.
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