Something Tamsin said on Twitter caught my eye this week. She had been to a communication seminar for work, and tweeted that she was a Driver Expressive, loud and bossy. Well I don’t know about the loud part (haha see what I did there?), but she immediately reminded me of a book I have sitting on my shelf.
You see, I love personality tests. I find it fun analysing myself and my friends, and fitting us into little boxes. There’s a favourite book of mine from childhood that does this very well, called The Delicate Art of Dancing with Porcupines. It’s by Bob Phillips, who is a Christian and a family counsellor. This book has travelled around to all my homes with me. At uni I used to pull it out at parties and we’d quiz each other. I’d find out interesting things like my mate had chosen the same personality type for his girfriends four times in a row.
The thing I liked about this book, was that it didn’t just sort you into types, it also talked about the strengths and weaknesses and how to best communicate and interact with each type. The focus of the book was how to get along better with others which, being an Amiable type, I appreciated.
I have reproduced some of the book here so you can share in the fun! The actual quiz has been included at the bottom of the post if you wish to do it.
Each personality type is a combination of two behaviours (asker & teller, relationship or task orientated), which form to make four basic social styles: Amiable, Expressive, Driver or Analytical.
Amiables: The Support Specialists (from pg 47)
Amiables like to work with words and often influence large groups through writing. They work well with others and promote harmony. They sometimes place unrealistic expectations on themselves and others. They will often romanticise experiences and relationships. Amiables like to have direction. They often observe others and seek deep meaning in relationships and experiences. They care more for interaction than action. They are very compassionate for those who may be hurting. They are patient, good listeners and filled with integrity.
Strengths: sympathetic & kind, easygoing & relaxed, patient & well-balanced, quiet but witty
Weaknesses: indecisive, fearful & worried, avoids responsibility, too compromising, self-righteous
Expressives: The Social Specialists (from pg 48)
Expressives are very impulsive individuals. They like to try the new and different. They enjoy wandering. They like to live for the here and now. They struggle with commitment and follow-through. Expressives have happy spirits and can endure hardships and trials easier than other social styles. They like to reminisce and enjoy belonging to social organisations. They are friendly, giving and easygoing.
Strengths: life of the party, emotional & demonstrative, good sense of humour, sincere heart
Weaknesses: compulsive talker, angers easily, egotistical, exaggerates & elaborates, disorganised
Drivers: The Control Specialists (from pg 45-46)
Drivers are obsessed by a strong compulsion to perform. They take pleasure in almost any kind of work because it involves activity. Idleness will destroy drivers. They desire to control and master everything they do. Drivers like new ideas, challenges and competition. They have a passion for knowledge. They can be overtly forceful and may require too much from themselves and others. Many times Drivers are haunted by the possibility of failure. They are self-controlled, persistent and logical.
Strengths: born leader, strong-willed & decisive, dynamic & active, independent & self-sufficient
Weaknesses: bossy, impatient, can’t relax, unsympathetic, dominates others, can’t say sorry
Analyticals: The Technique Specialists (from pg 44-45)
Analyticals have a strong sense of duty and obligation. They are driven by a forceful work ethic, and play comes harder for them. They are natural givers and often take on the role of parent for other people and organisations. Analyticals often take on too much responsibility. They see themselves as conservators and tend to worry. They will save and store for the future, believing that they cannot save too much. They are steadfast, reliable and dependable.
Strengths: deep & thoughtful, talented & creative, sensitive to others, self-sacrificing, idealistic
Weaknesses: persecution complex, hard to please, off in another world, remembers the negatives
Recognise yourself in any of these descriptions? If you’re not sure, skip down to the bottom and try out the quiz.
The great thing about this book is that the author doesn’t just stop there. He explores the social styles and how they react and interact in all kinds of roles and situations. He looks at how we are as parents, in the workplace, as a leader, as a follower, how we interact in a marriage of different styles, how we react in conflicts, how we can adapt to meet the needs of each style.
Here’s a few quick pointers on how to adapt to the needs of the people in your life who are different social styles.
Analyticals (from pg 119)
- Analyticals are askers, and don’t appreciate people who come on too strong.
- Don’t expect quick decisions from them. Give them time to reflect on the information.
- They sometimes feel awkward in relationships. Help them save face by not putting too much pressure on them in social situations.
Drivers (from pg 120-121)
- Drivers are tellers, and they appreciate people who make their points clearly and concisely. Get to your bottom line quickly, don’t bore them with details.
- Since Drivers like to feel in control, let them choose their methods or paths of response.
- Drivers struggle with impatience. Since they process information and accomplish tasks quickly, they do not have much patience with those who think or work slowly. Try to increase your pace around Drivers.
Amiables (from pg 121-122)
- Amiables do not offer hasty opinions or make quick decisions, because they don’t want to say anything which might hamper their relationships. Help them realise that sharing their thoughts will not affect their relationship with you.
- Amiables do not like to work alone. They need much encouragement and assurance, and they need to feel they are part of the team.
- Amiables like to know they are accepted. Take time to show personal interest in them.
Expressives (from pg 122-123)
- Expressives have a tendency to “tell it like it is”. Try not to take their comments personally. Many times they are just letting off steam and you happen to be in the way.
- Expressives are intuitive thinkers. Have patience with their quick decisions. They operate at a feeling level and may not always be able to give you a rational explanation for their behaviour.
- Expressives tend to start many jobs and not complete them. Try to work with them to accomplish tasks. They like to visit with other people while working, and they do not do their best when working alone.
What I’ve shared from this great book is just the tip of the iceberg. I highly recommend you buy it, or look for it at the library. I’ve learnt a lot about people and how they relate/communicate from reading it, and about myself.
What social style are you? (I’m an Expressive Amiable) Are you what you expected? Do you agree with the descriptions? Let me know in the comments!
Proceed my friends, and discover whether you are an Amiable, Expressive, Driver or Analytical.
There are two parts to the quiz process.
When answering, go with whatever behaviour is most comfortable and instinctive to you, most of the time.
Part One: are you an asker or a teller? (adapted from pg 33-40)
Keep score of how many times you choose in the asker column, and in the teller column.
|What is your first response when under stress?||Flight||Fight|
|What is your driving emotion & motivation under stress?||Fear||Anger|
|What is your speech like in general?||Silent, communicates hesitantly, lower quantity of talk||Talkative, communicates readily, higher quantity of talk|
|What is the pace & quality of your speech like?||Slower, fewer, more tentative statements||Faster, greater, more emphatic statements|
|How loud is your speech?||Soft with little variation in tone||Loud & emphasises points through challenging tone|
|Why do you ask questions?||For clarification, support & information||To emphasise points (rhetorical) & challenge information|
|How do you move your body?||Slow & deliberate, soft handshake, hands relaxed or cupped||Fast, rapid, firm handshake, pointing at others|
|What is your body posture like?||Lean back while talking or making a request or stating an opinion||Lean forward while talking especially when making a request or stating an opinion|
|How is your eye contact?||Indirect, inconsistent, less intense||Direct, consistent, more intense|
|How do you express opinions?||More tentative, reserves opinions||More emphatic & forceful, shares opinions|
|How confrontive are you?||Less confrontive, nonaggressive||More confrontive, aggressive|
|How do you act upon meeting others?||Tend to let others take the intiative, avoid imposing on others||Tend to personally take the initiative, make presence known|
|How do you make decisions?||Decide less quickly, will not pressure others for decisions||Decide more quickly, will press others for decisions|
|How do you approach risk?||Don’t like to take chances, like the old & familiar||Like to take chances, like to try the new & different|
|What sort of first impression do you make?||Likeable, shy||Overwhelming, outspoken|
|How do you act in a group?||Go along attitude, supportive||Take charge attitude, directive|
|How do you use power?||Tend to avoid use of power||Tend to use both personal & positional power|
|What do you do when others talk?||Listen carefully||Have difficulty listening|
|What do you do when under pressure or stress?||More easy going, will withdraw or give in||More impatient, will become dogmatic or attack|
|Add up your totals for each column:||____________ Total Asking Behaviours||______________Total Telling Behaviours|
Remember your higher score. Now that you know whether you’re an asker or a teller, we can move on to the last part of the quiz.
Part two of the quiz determines whether you are more task orientated, or more relationship orientated. Once again, keep track of how much you score in each column. That score together with your asker/teller score, will reveal which personality type you most resemble.
|What is your dress style?||More formal||More casual|
|What is your tone of speech like?||Some inflection||Much inflection|
|What do you talk about?||Current issues & tasks at hand||People, stories & anecdotes|
|How do you use your hands/arms?||Limited gestures & closed hands||Frequent gestures & open hands|
|How is your body posture?||More rigid||More relaxed|
|What are your facial expressions like?||More controlled||More relaxed|
|What is your general attitude?||More toward the serious side||More toward the playful side|
|How do you behave when first meeting others?||Tend to be more reserved||Tend to be more outgoing|
|How do you handle your emotions?||Tend to hide them, to be controlled & guarded||Tend to share them, to be more open & less guarded|
|What sort of general knowledge do you talk about?||Facts & data, tend to make more specific statements||Opinons & stories, tend to make more general statements|
|Are you into small talk?||Less interested||More interested|
|Are you into jokes & stories?||Less interested||More interested|
|How do you make decisions?||Based on facts more than feelings||Based on feelings more than facts|
|How do you use your time?||More disciplined & less flexible||More flexible & less disciplined|
|How do you feel about supervision?||Appreciate supervision that gives goals & objectives||Appreciates supervision that is concerned about me as a person|
|What’s your general attitude about rules?||Lean more towards “letter of the law”, more strict & disciplined||Lean more towards “spirit of the law”, more permissive & fluid|
|How do you express yourself non-verbally?||Tend to be slow in giving it||Tend to be immediate in feedback|
|How do you share opinons?||More restrained, guarded, cautious & precise||More impulsive, forceful & general|
|How do you relate to others?||Tend to be hard to get to know, tend to keep distance||Tend to be very easy to get to know, tend to seek attention of others|
|Add up your totals for each column:||______________Total task-orientated||______________Total relationship-orientated|
Now look at your highest scores in part one and part two. Put them together and find out your social style.
Amiable: more asking behaviours and more relationship-orientated
Analytical: more asking behaviours and more task-orientated
Driver: more telling behaviours and more task-orientated
Expressive: more telling behaviours and more relationship-orientated
Secondary Style (from pg 71-72)
To find your secondary style, ask yourself almost the same questions as you did when identifying your primary style. For example, let’s say that you are primarily a Driver. Ask yourself “As a Driver, am I more of an asker or a teller?”. Having determined that, ask yourself “As a Driver, am I more task-orientated or relationship-orientated?” If your anwers to these questions are teller and relationship-orientated, then you are an Expressive Driver. If you answer asker and task-orientated, you are an Analytical Driver.
If you have difficulty determining your primary and secondary styles, and if you see yourself performing all the behaviours of Analyticals, Amiables, Drivers and Expressives, you are probably an Analytical. Analyticals tend to see themselves in all four areas equally.
All quotes from: Phillips, Bob. The Delicate Art of Dancing with Porcupines. Ventura: Regal Books, 1989.
This book is out of print, however you can buy second hand here