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Opinion: Personality at Play: Understanding differences to drive success

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In today’s interconnected world, mastering the art of interpersonal dynamics isn’t just beneficial – it’s essential to outperform your competition. Personality preferences play a pivotal role in shaping our interactions, both professionally and personally.

Exploring personality preferences
Personality preferences are the consistent ways in which individuals perceive, interact with and respond to the world around them. These can be explored through various personality assessments, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Everything DiSC and CliftonStrengths. Each of these tools offers unique insights into different aspects of personality and behavior.

The value of these assessments lies not just in the results but in the reflection they provoke. Understanding where you sit on these spectrums begins with introspection. Start by asking yourself questions like: Do I recharge by spending time alone or by being with others? Do I make decisions based more on logic and consistency or on personal values and people’s feelings? Am I more comfortable in structured settings with clear plans, or do I thrive in spontaneous, flexible environments? Reflecting on these questions can provide insight into your own personality type as defined by these assessments.

Navigating differences with respect
Now, let’s make this real. Picture me, an extroverted, idea-generating manager, buzzing with energy and inclined to action. I’ve read about this new idea, know it worked for other organizations, and my gut tells me it’s the right thing to do. Enter my colleague. He’s a person who is meticulous and detail oriented, doesn’t like surprises, and wants to study the idea for weeks and have a plan before deciding. It’s like we’re speaking different languages – I’m shouting “Charge!” while he’s yelling, “Wait! You have no plan and haven’t even considered all the risks!” How are we ever going to get through this issue?

The answer? By employing interpersonal communication skills. Through personality assessments, we learned to appreciate each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We found ways to compromise and work together in ways that played to our individual preferences. It isn’t always easy, but by recognizing and respecting our differences, we can turn our clashes into opportunities for growth and collaboration.

Embracing diversity for better teams
Effectively integrating diversity of thought and personality preferences requires more than just awareness – it demands active engagement. Managers and team members alike should strive to create balanced environments where each personality type can flourish. This might mean setting up both group brainstorming sessions and opportunities for solitary work or balancing detailed planning phases with time for creative, adaptive thinking. It’s not just about knowing our own strengths – it’s about understanding and appreciating everyone else’s, too. By creating an environment where each personality type can thrive, we’ve fostered a culture of respect, empathy and innovation.

Celebrating differences to growth
Understanding personality preferences isn’t just about self-awareness – it’s about building bridges and forging connections. It’s about celebrating our differences and recognizing that diversity is our greatest asset. So, let’s challenge ourselves to embrace the quirks, the idiosyncrasies and the unique perspectives that make each of us who we are. One actionable step you can take today is to initiate conversations with your colleagues about personality preferences and how they shape interactions in your workplace. By fostering open dialogue and curiosity, we can create environments where understanding and respect thrive, ultimately driving innovation and success through our collective strengths.

Sherry Coker is the owner of Coker Consulting LLC. She can be reached at


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