Ward, Personality Style at Work

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Kate Ward, Personality Style at Work: The Secret to Working with (Almost) Anyone. McGraw-Hill, 2012.

Referenced in: Strengths-based Leadership

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is an excellent description of four personality styles similar to what is found in the DISC Profile, and how each is expressed in a work context. Ward traces the origin of personality types to the Greek physician Hippocrates, who wrote around 400 BC. He devised four personality categories:

  • Choleric – bold and ambitious due to a higher concentration of yellow bile (“D” or “Dominant” in DISC)
  • Sanguine: optimistic, impulsive, pleasure-seeking due to higher blood flow (“I” or “Inspiring” in DISC)
  • Phlegmatic – calm, quiet, kind due to an abundance of phlegm (“S” or “Steady” in DISC)
  • Melancholic – independent, introspective perfectionists due to high levels of black bile (“C” or “Conscientious” in DISC)

She says, “While Hippocrates’ science and labels were incorrect, he was right about the four basic temperaments found in human nature, and so this theory has endured for 2,400 years.” Much later, in 1926, William Moulton Marston refined and described these personality types according to the DISC styles. Here, Ward uses a similar profile, the HRDQ, which distributes the four types along two dimensions: assertiveness and expressiveness. Each is described in the publisher’s summary below.

Ward does a good job describing the styles, and gives readers tell-tale signs to recognize styles in oneself and others, deal with conflicts among the styles, and communicate, manage, and lead based on different styles. She also offers good insight on working with teams, and getting along with superiors using personality styles.

There are three strengths to this volume. First, Ward is especially good and showing how people lead according to style: Direct leaders give orders; Spirited leaders inspire; Considerate leaders support; and Systematic leaders push everyone to higher standards. Second, she shows how each type may be taken to an extreme. Directs may jump to conclusions and alienate followers, Spirited leaders often act without adequate information, Considerates may be indecisive, and Systematics often lose themselves in the details. Third, she demonstrates how each personality type may shift styles or “flex” to relate more effectively with other personalities.

Publisher’s Description

The most important business skill isn’t a skill at all. It’s your personality. And only when you develop a keen understanding of your personality style—and the styles of the people you deal with—will you reach your full potential as a business professional.

Personality Style at Work reveals the proven personality style model used by HRDQ, a trusted developer of training materials—giving you one of today’s most valuable tools for leading others, contributing to teams, effectively communicating with coworkers, and making better decisions.

This groundbreaking guide helps you achieve positive results in virtually any workplace situation. Whether you’re a high-level manager, a salesperson, a customer service professional, or an entry-level employee, you’ll learn why others behave as they do in specific situations and how to use that knowledge to turn every interpersonal encounter into a win-win scenario.

The HRDQ model has been administered to more than one million people—and it has generated remarkable results. It is based on four principal personality styles:

  • Direct: High assertiveness, low expressiveness
  • Spirited: High assertiveness, high expressiveness
  • Considerate: Low assertiveness, high expressiveness
  • Systematic: Low assertiveness, low expressiveness

Which one describes you? Knowing the answer is the first step to achieving consistently positive and productive personal interactions—which is why Personality Style at Work includes an assessment that you can take to identify your style.

Armed with this valuable self-assessment, you can adapt your behavior to create more practical, harmonious working relationships. Personality Style at Work opens the door to a whole new way of interacting with others in a way that benefits you, your coworkers, your customers, and your entire organization.

About the Author

Kate Ward has more than 20 years of experience in training development. She has authored dozens of programs, first for CareerTrack and then for TreeLine Training as Senior Instructional Designer. Ward runs her own company, which offers innovative training solutions for today’s business needs. She lives in Louisville, CO, with her husband and two sons.

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