We all have that one colleague or friend. We might get along part of the time, but when we’re forced to work together, incompatibilities of style or method arise out of nowhere, as if it were both of your innate sensibilities to disagree.
You might feel that it’s the other person’s fault. After all, they’re the disagreeable one, you think.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that personalities are not something we’re able to control, according to personality studies.
So the answer to your problematic acquaintances? Deal with them.
That’s the message of Rochelle Oaks’s “The Power of Your Personality” — a pocket guide to understanding others’ personalities.
Headquartered at the Riverside Center for Innovation, the author’s Oaks Group has become a successful corporate training consultancy. Oaks began her business a decade ago by providing workshops on interpersonal skills, personality and diversity training to large corporations and federal agencies.
After years of drumming the information into employees’ heads, this Northsider thought it was time to put her experience and learning on paper.
The result is a compact, 124-page booklet that a reader can gobble up in less than hour. For those not familiar with theories on personality, Oaks gives a crash course on the high points of the debate. Those with a passing familiarity with psychology, will be reintroduced to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, A Type and B Type personalities and left and right brain functions.
The book gets more interesting when Oaks dives into descriptions of the various personality assessments. Whether you’re a communicative sanguine or a facts-only phlegmatic, it’s fun to use this personality primer to decipher your friends’, relatives’ and even your own personality.
Oaks said she prefers this book to be used as a guide, since its only serves as a starting place for understanding personality. For the actual assessment, Oaks offers an accompanying workbook with which folks can answer questions to better pinpoint their personality. Readers can find it on her website, http://thepowerofyourpersonality.com.
Readers stumble upon easy-to-digest insights, such as, “A phlegmatic is the only personality that cholerics have difficulty managing; this frustrates the choleric and at times this can cause problems in the workplace. These two personalities may have trouble working on projects if they are not given the proper role along with clear limits and guidelines.”
Each chapter about the four major personality distinctions that Oaks uses — phlegmatic, Sanguine, Choleric and melancholy — gives readers tips on how to deal with that type of person. So if you are dealing with the organized, detail-oriented phlegmatic, you are told, “The best way to work with a Phlegmatic or an extreme phlegmatic is first determine what you are dealing with, then have the facts, eliminate your feelings and emotions as much as possible (remove the “I feel messages” from your presentation) as this will not incite a phlegmatic.”
Some more curious readers might find the book suffers from not explaining the context of an idea or why it is important, and instead focuses solely on the facts at hand. But sticking to the facts seems to be Oaks’s method for giving readers a one-stop-shop for understanding the different thought patterns that separate individuals.
And if that is what you’re looking for, quit squinting and pick up The Power of Your Personality. Or, if you’re more of a verbal learner, type on over to the Oaks Group website — www.oaksgroup.net — and see if you can catch one of Rochelle Oaks many workshops.