The ancient Greeks were the first to categorize individual personalities into broad types: Choleric (irritable and hot-tempered), Sanguine (passionate and courageous), phlegmatic (calm and unemotional), melancholic (prone to depression and despondency). While the Greek model was focused on nature, modern models focus more on nurture, like the 16 personality types of the Myers-Briggs test.
I think personality profiles are valuable tools for better learning about ourselves, but not easy to use them for others. We can easily fall into stereotyping people. In fact, the key to better relate to each other is to be aware and understand similarities and differences between people. Understanding creates empathy, and empathy helps build relationships.
Recently I read The Human Fabric, written by Bijoy Goswami, who shares an interesting and easy approach to how we relate to each other. He divides people into Mavens, Relaters and Evangelists.
1.- Mavens are motivated by the acquisition of knowledge,
2.- Relaters are motivated by the desire to understand people,
3.- Evangelists are motivated by the need of goal-oriented action.
Are you a Maven, a Relater or an Evangelist? And who are your dance partner/s?
We’re really more complicated than just one type, so the author encourages us to identify who we are, and find the right dance partner, like Steve Jobs (Evangelist) did with Steve Wozniak (Maven).
I’m mostly a Maven, but I’ve got some Relater and Evangelist in me, too. And you?