How to Identify Your Personality Style

Your personality is the outward expression of the self. It includes all the qualities that make you a unique individual-your behavior, temperament, emotions and mental capacity. To identify your personality style, consider these three resources and options.

Identify your style by taking the DISC Personality Assessment

William Moulton Marston, the inventor of the lie detector, pioneered research in the early 1900s on personality and behavior. He theorized that every person has a predictable pattern of behavior and emotions-a behavioral style. This style consists of how a person sees the world, what an individual does, and how he/she acts.

Marston grouped these patterns into four major personality styles. People with similar styles tend to exhibit specific behavioral characteristics common to that style. All people share the four styles in varying degrees of intensity. The acronym DISC stands for the four personality styles. Which style best describes your personality?

  • D=Dominant. If you predominantly have a "D" style, you tend to be direct, decisive and respond aggressively to challenges and problems. You like to take risks and challenge the status quo.
  • I=Influencing. If you have an "I" style, you prefer to use influence or persuasion when interacting with others. You are enthusiastic, a great motivator and a creative problem solver.
  • S-Steady. People with the "S" style can easily interact with all the other styles. They are good listeners, team players, reliable and dependable.
  • C=Conscientious. If you have a "C" personality style, you are very thorough in all activities you undertake, analytical and precise. You set high standards for yourself and are conscientious and even-tempered.

Use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

In the mid-1900's Isabel Myers devised an instrument for classifying different types of personality. She defined eight patterns of thinking and acting which were divided into four basic pairs. How would you characterize your personality using the MBTI?

  • Emotional Energy – where you tend to focus attention and energy. Are you an extravert (energized from people and activities outside of self) or an introvert (energized from within by ideas, thoughts and imagination)?
  • Information Gathering – how you prefer to take in information. Are you "sensing" (using reality based sensory details for the present) or do you operate on intuition (focused on possibilities and what ifs)?
  • Style of Decision-making – how you evaluate information and make decisions. Are you a Thinker (logical and fact-based) or a Feeler (concerned about the impact of your decisions on others)?
  • Style of Organization – how you prefer to organize relationships, and the planning process and strategy you use for living. Are you perceiving (unstructured and flexible; takes things as they come) or judging (structured; approaches organization with a plan and preparation)?

Assess your Temperament

Hippocrates, the Greek physician and philosopher, defined human personality based on the four fluids that run through the physical body-blood, choler (yellow bile), black bile, and phlegm. Although modern researchers and philosophers have discarded the idea of temperament and body fluids, they have continued to research and use the four categories.

  • Sanguine (35-40% of society): Warm, buoyant, lively, spontaneous, never at a loss for words.
  • Choleric (5-7% of society): Hot, quick, active, practical, strong-willed and fiercely independent.
  • Melancholy (40-45% of society): Analytical, self-sacrificing, gifted, perfectionistic, very sensitive and emotional nature.
  • Phlegmatic (8-10% of society): Calm, cool, slow, easy-going, well-balanced.