My parents were there when my first child was born. They had raised five children of their own. I asked them, “What parenting advice do you have for someone just starting out?” My Dad looked at me and said, “Raise them according to their personality…That is where I went wrong with you.” I was not sure exactly how to take that, but then he continued, “I raised you like a typical little boy. Little did I know my son was growing up with the heart of a poet.”
That was a powerful moment in my life. I have tried to live out my Dad’s advice, not only in raising my children but in every other area of life as well. It has helped me be a better parent, spouse, employee, leader, minister, speaker, coach, and friend.
Understanding our personality styles and the personality styles of those we deal with every day is key to climbing to our God given-potential and helping others climb to their God-given potential as well.
Here is a brief overview of the four major personality styles and how to best work with each:
- Security-Seeking Personality
- Time Focus: The Past
- Biblical Example: Moses
- Desires: Connection and Accomplishment
- Trusts: Authority
- Characteristics: Dependable and Cautious
When working with Hearts, keep in mind they are motivated by schedules and timelines. They typically enjoy having timelines to get tasks accomplished. They will sometimes get stuck or at least sidetracked whenever they feel they are not in control of the situation. Schedules and to-do lists can help them feel like they have more control. The way to get a heart back on task is to encourage them to stop organizing and get started. Sometimes Hearts try to gain so much control they lose track of the goal.
- Thrill-Seeking Personality
- Time Focus: Present
- Biblical Example: Peter
- Desires: Fun and Activity
- Trust: Their Impulses
- Characteristics: Fun-loving and Spontaneous
When working with Bodies, keep in mind they are motivated by fun and excitement. They typically will do whatever they feel will be fun. They will sometimes get stuck or sidetracked if they get bogged down with what they feel is too long-term or boring. With their time focus on the now, they need to know they can do something now. The best way to get Bodies back on track is to help them find the fun in it. They will work harder than anybody if they find some kind of excitement in what they are doing.
- Identity-Seeking Personality
- Time Focus: The Future
- Biblical Example: Barnabas
- Desires: Meaning and Purpose
- Trusts: Their Intuition
- Characteristics: Enthusiastic and On a Spiritual Journey
When working with Souls, keep in mind they are motivated by meaning and developing people. They typically enjoy doing something that will have long-term benefits for others. They can become stuck if they do not connect value or meaning to a task. Souls must see the connection between what they are trying to accomplish and the long-term effects. Sometimes, in order for Souls to get back on task, they need to take a mental break or to simply work in solitude. Because Souls sometimes live in their own little world, they may have to visit that world in order to gain momentum.
- Knowledge-Seeking Personality
- Time Focus: Intervals
- Biblical Example: Paul
- Desires: Individuality and Efficiency
- Trusts: Logic
- Characteristics: Strong-willed and Skeptical
When working with Minds, remember they are motivated by intellectual challenges like how to improve something or solve a problem. Just like Bodies like to work with their bodies, so Minds like to work with their minds. Minds can sometimes get stuck because they over-analyze to the point they do not complete the task. Sometimes they can simply think themselves out of doing. In order for Minds to get back on track, they may need to take some time alone. Similar to the Souls, Minds need time alone with their thoughts.
The important thing to realize is that we are all different. What motivates you may not be the same thing that motivates someone else. We all see things differently. The goal is not to get other people to be more like you. It is to better understand your tendencies and other’s tendencies so everyone can bring their unique selves to whatever may be taking place.
God made us all different for a reason. If there are two people just alike then one of them is a waste. Remember other peoples’ tendencies whether you are parenting, leading, being a spouse, a team member, an employee, or a friend. Understanding our personality styles and the personality styles of those we deal with every day is key to climbing to our God given-potential and helping others climb to their God-given potential as well.
If you want to dig a little deeper, my 1-hour training DVD “How to Talk to Weird People” may be a great resource for you.
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Tommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to ignite their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life-changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.
Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.
Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message. You will look like a rockstar for hiring Tommy Lanham!
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