The Type A Personality

Posted on 10th Jul 2014

I have just dealt with a Type A personality on the telephone and thought I'd cover the subject in the blog. At first, and being a Type A myself, I could feel my blood rising a little, but when I realised that the conversation was just very direct I adjusted my expectations and the result was a very satisfactory outcome.

Some of the attributes associated with the Type A personality are competitiveness, work focus and directness. Some people see Type As, particularly those of an opposite type, as aggressive and rude. In conversation, for example, a Type A might cut immediately to the chase whereas a Type B personality might prefer some preamble, even if it's just a 'how are you?'

This is a valid requirement, because it can take people by surprise to suddenly cut to the chase and they can feel as though they are 'on the spot'. This is a particularly stressful feeling for a Type B personality. In team dynamics there are various models which explore personality types. People are all different but we tend to have preferences, and it can help to understand what those might be.

More than anything a team dynamic programme will start conversations and one of the key questions in developing high performing work teams is for everyone to ask and be asked how they prefer to be treated.

In a nutshell here is some advice for Type A and Type B personalities:

1. Understand that everyone is different but that does not mean that they are always predictable. Understanding how people prefer to be treated just increases the odds of success.

2. Understand the differences in the personalities, why we take things personally and how to choose your reaction when things happen.

3. If a Type A is being direct they may not be being rude. In fact two Type A's will have as many problems communicating as A to B.

4. A Type B's need for a soft introduction into a conversation is not weakness.

5. If a Type A wants to get the best out of a Type B ask them how they are. Then genuinely listen or it won't seem authentic.

6. Experienced Type A's will retain details about people in their team such as their partner's name, children and sports clubs that they follow and, occasionally, they might ask about them.

7. Type B personalities may need to up the pace, just as Type As may need to slow it down a little. The best solution, if possible, is to meet in the middle.

8. In all cases of dealing with people about whom you have reservations make sure that you respect what they are good at. See the good as well as the faults. This will answer the 'why should I bother?' question, also known as What's In It For Me?

9. Learn about dealing with personality types and enjoy using what you learn. Relationships are fascinating and what you learn at work can help in all areas of life.

10. Sometimes all of us just need to throw our toys out of the pram. No-one is superhuman.

This is a fascinating area and we can provide various programmes based around personality and working styles. We can advise you on the best one for your team.

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