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What Your Personality Style Says About You - HRDQ

What Your Personality Style Says About You

Personality style affects our interactions with others, and it is important in several aspects of organizational and personal life. People with different styles have different priorities and func­tion at different paces. These differences can create problems if they remain under the surface. For example, if Joe is slow and thorough and Jane is fast and decisive, their working relationship will be stressful unless they are aware of each other’s preferences. Knowledge of personality styles prevents misinterpretation and frustration.

Understanding personality style allows us to interpret the actions of others. If we are aware of another person’s typical behaviors, we can take these behaviors into account when interpreting the other person’s actions. For example, if Fred is generally a friendly and outgoing person, the fact that he gives you an enthusiastic hello should not necessarily be interpreted as a sign of deep friendship. Fred probably gives an enthusiastic hello to most of his coworkers. If, on the other hand, Fred is a private person, his enthusiastic hello might be a sign of friendship.

How people handle their personality style determines their success. People who understand their own personality style will fare far better than those who proceed as if all people are the same. For example, if you are aware that you prefer logical, straightforward assignments, you should seek work in such an environment. If you thrive on working with people, you should choose a field in which you deal with the public.

The knowledge of per­sonality style also allows you to understand the behaviors of others. It enables you to accurately attach meaning to the reactions of those around you. Most importantly, you will be able to react appropriately within your own behavior set to the reactions of others and better manage the communication exchange.

Two Dimensions of Personality Style

The concept and the basic dimensions of style date back to Jung’s 1914 work. Since then, many researchers have examined personality styles and further developed Jung’s ideas. One clear finding from this research is that the number of styles is not unlimited. Each individual is unique, but there are definite categorical commonalities. In fact, research indicates two basic dimensions of personality style, which we have chosen to refer to as assertiveness and expressiveness


Assertiveness is the effort that a person makes to influence or control the thoughts or actions of others. People who are assertive tell others how things should be and are task oriented, active, and confident. People who are less assertive ask others how things should be and are process oriented, deliberate, and attentive.


Expressiveness is the effort that a person makes to control his or her emotions when relating to others. People who are expressive display their emotions and are versatile, sociable, and demonstrative. People who are less expressive control their emotions and are focused, independent, and private.

All About Style

People who understand their own personality style will fare far better than those who proceed as if all people are the same. People’s personality style is determined by their degree of assertiveness and expressiveness. In fact, the vari­ous combinations of the degrees of assertiveness and expressiveness result in four possible personality styles: Direct, Spirited, Considerate, and Systematic. These are the traits of each style:

  1. Direct. People who take charge, in control, competitive, fast-paced, authoritative, leaders.
  2. Spirited. People who are enthusiastic, friendly, motivators, high-profile, decision makers.
  3. Considerate. People who are warm, counseling, cooperative, reliable, caring.
  4. Systematic. People who are accurate, objective, factual, organized, problem solving.

Each style has drivers behind it. The following are the drivers of each personality style:

  • Direct - Achievement, Control, Challenge
  • Spirited - Conceptualizing, Initiating, Collaboration
  • Considerate - Harmony, Recognition, Consensus
  • Systematic - Organization, Objectivity, Tradition

Learning More

To learn more about your personality style and how it can help your team, a useful tool is the HRDQ Style Model. The HRDQ Style Model is a popular formula for applying Marston DISC theory and has been used by more than one million people.

Learn more about the HRDQ Style Suite

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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.