Understanding a Person's Temperament

Understanding a Person's Temperament

In business, you come into contact with a lot of people: customers, vendors, contractors, and of course, employees. Every person has a different personality, and those differences can mean a lot. If you are going to work well with all the people you meet and manage, you need to understand something about their makeup.

I realized how important this was when trying, often unsuccessfully, to hire salespeople for my growing wholesale record business. When I posed this problem to my professor at the Harvard Executive MBA program, he introduced me to the concept of temperament. He suggested I read a book called Please Understand Me by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates. The book drastically changed the way I thought about working with other people and helped me unlock many of the secrets of hiring.

Keirsey and Bates are proponents of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – the most widely used personality test for job placement. It is based on the theories of Karl Jung who believed that all of us have preferences that are hard-wired and indicate how we deal with the stress of living. In applying those ideas to a job situation, Myers and Briggs believed these concepts could help us find work that matches our personality. After my first reading, I had one of those “a-ha” moments when I looked at the results of their short quiz about me. I couldn’t believe that a book would know so much without even having met me! I found that by learning more about myself, I was able to learn more about how to deal with others.

-barney

 
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