“Who are we, really?” This is the age-old dilemma that has boggled artists, scientists, philosophers and people like you and me. While we may never fully answer this existential question, we can get a little closer by decoding human personality through various personality type indicators and behavioral frameworks that have been developed over time.
From Hippocrates and Wilhelm Wundt to Galen, philosophers have tried to classify personalities into different boxes based on “temperament.” It wasn’t until Carl Jung who came along in 1921 and divided mental functioning into four categories – sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling – that we made some headway towards modern-day personality frameworks.
Without further ado, let’s dive deep into the personality models that top the list.
- Myers Briggs Type Indicator (also known as 16 Personalities)
- Enneagram Model
- Big Five Framework
- DISC Behavioral Model
- Summary: Popular personality type assessments and where they’re most helpful
Myers Briggs Type Indicator (popularly known as 16 Personalities)
Developed by a mother-daughter duo during World War II, Myer Briggs framework aimed to help women find jobs that would best suit their personalities. They identified four dimensions to categorize individuals: Extraversion vs. Introversion, Sensing vs. Intuition, Thinking vs. Feeling, and Judging vs. Perceiving. The questions in the Myer-Briggs framework are designed to reveal your preference in each of the four dichotomies, which, when put together, form your personality type.
There are 16 personality styles, each with a unique combination of four dichotomies. For example, ISTP is the “Craftsman” (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving), ENFP is the “Champion” (Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perceiving) and so on.
Let’s take the example of Oprah Winfrey, the talk show queen, who falls under the rare ENFJ personality type, also known as the Protagonist. Interviewing world leaders, billionaires, and entertainers with utmost compassion, she radiates traits of an extrovert. Her laser-focus, unwavering faith in spirituality and a pursuance of what is best for humanity is a testament to ENFJ’s strong intuition and devoted altruism.
Real-world application of the MBTI Personality Framework
While the accuracy and legitimacy of this personality framework has been much debated by academic researchers and journalists alike, practitioners resonate strongly with Brigg’s guiding principle: that understanding personality can help resolve conflicts and change the world for the better.
Every child is unique and everyone’s childhood, different. Core motivations, desires and fears of each individual stems from their childhood. This, in turn, shapes an individual’s personality. This is the crux of the Enneagram framework which classifies humans into nine distinct categories. Each is associated with a unique “fear, basic desire and predictable pattern of behavior in times of stress and security.”
For instance, Type 1 personalities are highly principled and diligent, but they can also be their own worst critics. One famous example of a Type 1 personality is Michele Obama, who is known for her strong moral compass and unwavering dedication to social issues such as education for international adolescent girls and support for military families. Despite this, in her autobiography, “Becoming”, she opens up about her struggles with her inner critic.
Creative, artistic, self-absorbed, unique, strong sense of identity are the hallmarks of a Type 4. Can you name someone with these traits? I’m trying to make a “Poker Face”. It’s the famous artist, Lady Gaga. People with a type 4 personality have an innate desire to be authentic. At the same time, they often struggle with a fear of being ordinary, something which Lady Gaga has expressed through her art and in interviews.
Enneagram personality framework uncovers self-limiting beliefs, social dynamics, personal vulnerabilities, and blind spots. The framework identifies the obstacles to spiritual awakening and helps individuals think beyond what is in the conscious realm. The framework is gaining popularity in churches as well as a tool to help spiritual couples foster good relations. In fact, the dean of the Burkhart Center, The Rev. David Hett, said he relies on the framework to assist couples in premarital counseling. It is important to remember that each Enneagram type has its own unique path towards growth and transformation.
Let’s take out the big guns and talk about the “gold standard” of personality frameworks: the OCEAN or Big Five framework. It’s so popular that Atsushi Oshio, a psychology researcher, named it “the most preferred measure in the 21st century.” It can accurately identify 80% of differences in personality observed between individuals. The go-to personality test used by companies during hiring and recruitment, it can predict someone’s behavior at work, response to stressful situations and overall job satisfaction.
Big Five Framework
This framework breaks down personality traits into five dimensions: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Now, let’s dive deep and see how hiring managers use this to assess if a candidate is the right fit for the job.
Openness: They are creative, curious beings, ready to explore uncharted territories. They usually do well in fields like marketing, where unconventional ideas are the name of the game.
Conscientiousness: They’re organized, goal-oriented and have excellent hold over their impulses. They’re the ones who keep the ship afloat when faced with adversities. In fact, studies show that this is the most sought-after trait by organizations.
Extraversion: As is obvious, they find their tribe very easily. They thrive on social interactions and work wonders in professions like sales, public relations, event management.
Agreeableness: Think of that colleague who helps you out every time you’re stuck. The empathetic, cooperative guy who is always looking for common ground. They excel in roles that require building good relations, sometimes at their own cost, like account management or human rights.
Neuroticism: This indicates how people react under stress. This is the one dimension that hiring managers are a bit wary of. Those who get anxious, upset, or overwhelmed when things get tough score high on neuroticism.
DISC Behavioral Model
We talked about different self-awareness frameworks earlier, but let’s face it, we don’t live in a bubble! As social creatures, we encounter different kinds of people every day. Can personality frameworks help us understand the behavior of others? Whether it’s your boss, your coworkers or that tricky prospect. What if there was a way to get inside their heads, unveil their persona and see what makes them tick?
Here is a better solution: the DISC behavioral model. It’s like having a behavioral GPS that helps you navigate the rocky terrain of human interaction.
It breaks down behavior into four main categories: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. With this framework, you can better understand the way people interact and tailor your communication style to their preferences.
Dominance: They are direct, goal-oriented and assertive.
Influence: People person, they thrive on good relations. They are warm, optimistic and energetic.
Steadiness: They have a calm and peaceful demeanor. They prefer stable, secure, and trustworthy relationships.
Conscientiousness: They are logical, data-driven and systematic. They like to get to the bottom of things.
It goes without saying, since this framework specifically focuses on collaboration and communication, it’s the most relevant in professions like sales, customer success, and to some extent, marketing. If you’re curious how to sell to different DISC Personality Types, just check out our DISC Selling e-book.
How do you identify someone’s DISC type?
In a business context, while it may seem enticing to decode the behavioral pattern of your prospective buyer, you can’t send them a questionnaire prior to a call. But fret not, for Personality AI has got you covered – with Humantic AI, you can know your buyer before you even meet them. If you’re a DISC selling expert, you’ll already know how to sell according to their preference. Even if you’re not a pro at DISC selling, Humantic’s buyer insights are actionable and easy to use.
If you’re in sales or business development, try Humantic AI and see your prospects’ personality type today. Sell according to their preferences, and we’ll have made Ms. Briggs happy: bringing the world closer and reducing conflicts with the knowledge of personalities.
Summary: Popular personality type assessments and where they’re most helpful
|Personality framework||Best use-case|
|Myers Briggs Type Indicator||Self-awareness and personal growth|
|Enneagram Framework||Spiritual growth and transforming interpersonal relationships|
|Big Five Framework|
Hiring and recruitment
|DISC Behavioral Model|
Understanding customers and prospective buyers