Personality Lingo The best way for me to share the value of Personality Lingo is to share the following article which was written for a national publication for the Association for Conflict Resolution.
The Language of Money By Sande Roberts, MA
Of all the different relationships we have in our lives, the most complex is the one we have with money. While it doesn’t buy or guarantee health or happiness, it appears to make the path easier to travel. According to Joyce Morningstar of Dynamic Wealth Advisors, “Talking about money is the last taboo. The subject of money is associated with strong emotions and value judgments. Many people are more comfortable talking about sex than they are talking about money.”
The need for money is factual, yet the desire for vast amounts of it is so intense it’s the dominant cause of conflict and inequity. Workshop attendees, and students in my psychology classes, were asked how many knew someone who currently was not speaking to someone else due to issues over money. Eighty percent of each group responded in substantiation of business or family feud.
Mediators face challenges between clients over money. It doesn’t matter what caused the breakdown. The bottom line of how to reach some sort of resolution will ultimately include real money or some form of dollar value.
By the time someone engages mediation services, sides have been taken, and distrust probably exists. Even though business relationships have clearer terms and conditions, the challenges arise from the emotional behaviors of the people involved.
When agreements fall apart, people go to the negative side of their behaviors, which are dramatically different than how they acted when first entering into their agreements.
Money is a powerful negotiating chip. Having too much money can lead to excessive and potentially dangerous over indulgence. Too little can lead to an embarrassing lack of having enough. Money really does make the world go around and it impacts life, relationships, and decision-making. In addition to those who work hard for whatever income they are able to earn, there are those who literally beg, borrow, steal, or commit suicide or homicide over money. Love, power, shame and fame all walk hand and hand with money.
You’re not alone if you ever wished money really did grow on trees. Apparently the desire for it to be true is so strong, the growers of a variety of plants commonly known as “money trees” hang tags on them stating, “This money tree does not grow actual spendable money.”
Understanding Relationships With Money Everyone develops their relationship with money based on their personal experiences. People are strongly influenced by stories they heard and observations they made while growing up. How money factors in is often a source of conflict between people. Based on the emotional context created around it, conflicts over money can lead to regrettable actions, causing additional stress.
Among adults, devastating losses of money can lead to literal or emotional bankruptcy, dramatically changing the lifestyle of an entire family. Severe economic downturns have featured news clips of executives jumping off the roofs or out of the windows of their office buildings. They throw away their life over their loss of financial status.
Take a moment to think about the role of money in your life and relationships. What are your own ingrained thoughts, fears, and values about money? There are few opportunities in our culture when a sincere discussion about money is encouraged in spite of the central role it plays in multiple aspects of our daily experiences. Our own upbringing may have included hearing some of the following statements from friends and relatives.
~ Money is the root of all evil. ~ Money talks. ~ Do you think I’m made of money? ~ You’re going to bleed me dry. ~ I will do that even if I have to beg, borrow or steal. ~ Don’t be greedy.
Money issues and unrealistic expectations over money can destroy relationships at home, at work, in the community and on the playing field. In some instances when someone does something illegal, lives can be put in danger.
Points to Ponder To help understand the relationship your clients and others have with money, it’s beneficial to reflect upon your own history by contemplating the following questions. 1. What did you learn from your family about money when you were growing up? 2. Was your first money memory positive, or a challenging experience? 3. What are your judgments about money? 4. What are your judgments about people who do, or do not, have money? 5. What does money mean to you? 6. Is there anything you would like to change about your relationship with money? 7. What would change in your life if you had more, or less, money?
The Language of Money – Personality Lingo One of the greatest roadblocks to resolving conflict is that people naturally presume the other party thinks like they do. By being able to understand and recognize that people have different values, motives, actions and reactions, you will be able to help them navigate through money matters much more effectively.
Studying behavior through communication and personality style assessments goes all the way back to Hippocrates and Carl Jung, giving unique insight into why people do what they do. How we behave under normal or challenging circumstances is influenced by multiple possibilities. There are various systems for categorizing personality traits into meaningful patterns. These systems use special vocabularies such as letters, colors, or other terms to describe the same thing – personality temperament. The following vocabulary (Connectors, Thinkers, Planners and Movers) comes from Personality Lingo: Use the Power of Personality to Transform Relationships, Improve Communication and Reduce Stress by Mary Miscisin.
Positive Tendencies and Using Helper Strengths Each of us is a mix of all the styles, however we all have dominant and more natural tendencies. The following will help you identify your own personality styles first, giving an overview of how positive traits look when life is manageable, and where your strengths are. Those we find to be our strongest are part of our automatic response system. It’s beneficial to know your own strengths. The natural tendency is to speak and share information from your strengths. The challenge is that your clients will be receiving information, and behaving, from challenged stressors. Since the responsibility for communication is with the person with the best communication skills, understanding their receiving will give them confidence that you understand them. You can figure out your combination of positive helper styles by reading the following descriptions and deciding which ones are most like you, all the way to least like you.
THINKER – Thinkers are curious, questioning and complex. They have diverse interests and an insatiable appetite for knowledge. They are independent and able to work alone quite proficiently. They like to keep their personal life private. They value objectivity, intellect and problem solving. They are most comfortable thinking “outside the box”. They rely on their logic, having time to think, and investigation of the facts to help them make decisions. They can be a fountain of information as they generally know a little something about everything. Thinkers are knowledgeable, questioning, private, independent, analytical, innovative, strategic, abstract, tenacious and have a wry sense of humor.
CONNECTOR – Connectors are caring, kind, and cooperative. They have a positive attitude and like to bring out the best in others. They desire meaningful, personal connection and cherish friendships. They value diversity, teamwork and harmony. They abhor conflict and are most comfortable when everyone is getting along. They rely on their emotional wisdom and keen intuition to help make decisions that feel right. They have a creative imagination and enjoy self-expression. They are validating and affirming. They like to include others. Connectors are peacemakers who are supportive, thoughtful, empathetic, inspiring, accepting, passionate, creative, friendly, and helpful.
MOVER – Movers are daring, mischievous, and adventuresome. They crave excitement, especially a sudden adrenaline rush. They desire fun-loving, active relationships and like the freedom to be playful and engaging. They value the here and now, and are most comfortable when people welcome their flexible nature and spontaneity. They are excellent at critical incident triage and are able to rely on their instincts to decide in the moment which is the best action to take in any emergency situation. Competition drives them to win. They are direct and quick and want to charge ahead with decisiveness and confidence. Movers are spontaneous, innovative, expedient, risk-takers, negotiators, charismatic, straightforward, hands-on, tangible and physical.
PLANNER – Planners are structured, organized, and thorough. They have the ability and determination to complete their goals. They desire respectful, stable relationships and want people to follow the rules. They believe in loyalty and duty. They value commitment and completion. They are most comfortable with clearly defined roles and expectations. They rely on sound judgment of what is right and wrong to make decisions. They like to have a plan and stick to it. They work hard and derive great satisfaction from crossing items off their ‘to-do’ list. People can depend on them. Planners are respectful, organized, accountable, timely, consistent, traditional, law-abiding, hard working, responsible and loyal.
Responding to Stress People in the midst of conflict will exhibit challenged behaviors. You now have a beginning idea of your own personality strengths and behavior patterns. This awareness can decrease your own stress levels while increasing your effectiveness in facilitating mediations. The following will give you insight into how behaviors can change for each of the personality styles when immersed in conflict. You’ll notice how quickly you’ll be able to recognize the limiting patterns of those who are stuck, by observing signs of stress and clues to stressors. The benefit of understanding personalities helps speak to the listening ability of those in crisis.
Money, Conflict and Stressed Behaviors THINKERS and Money in General ~ Thinkers like investments with risk, challenge and potential for high returns. ~ They are happy to pay for the ability to gain knowledge. ~ Creative thinkers are proud of their ideas, and love to solve problems. ~ If they’re showing off, others may end up with great ‘bling’ or an exciting adventure. ~ They are shy and avoid the crowds who surround Connectors and Movers.
THINKERS When Stressed and Difficult ~ Narcissistic. Would rather be in control than settle. ~ Can go to extremes to not share money and would stow it away if possible. ~ Attitude: they earned it, therefore it’s theirs and they shouldn’t have to share. ~ Wouldn’t matter what they did to contribute to the problems. ~ Opinionated, aloof, arrogant, change their mind, spend money on ‘bling’ to show off. ~ Will blame others to justify bad behavior.
How to Help THINKERS ~ Acknowledge when they are being complimentary. ~ Recognize the value and usefulness of their ideas. ~ Understand their emotions run deep. ~ Honor their privacy and independence. ~ Provide information when requested. ~ Understand their sense of humor.
CONNECTORS and Money in General ~ Connectors like to use their money to take care of others. ~ They would rather spend it on someone else than themselves. ~ If they spend it on themselves it will be for something colorful and comfortable. ~ They like things that are creative, artistic and bold. ~ They like to nurture others.
CONNECTORS When Stressed and Difficult ~ If challenged or hurt, will feel it emotionally and react in the same way. ~ They can hold a grudge for lengthy periods of time no matter what it costs financially. ~ They will let everyone know they have been wronged and will get even by spreading rumors. ~ Will take others to financial ruin even if they don’t get anything. ~ Dramatic, tearful, will sob, yell, scream, be passive aggressive, wallow in self-pity. ~ Sensitive, sentimental, will overlook details.
How to Help CONNECTORS ~ Validation, kindness, trust. ~ Allow avenues for creativity and growth. ~ Accepting their need for harmony. ~ A listening ear. ~ Warmth and human contact. ~ Don’t overload with requests.
MOVERS and Money in General ~ Movers like to be out playing with their money. ~ They can be flamboyant in style and are generous when they have money. ~ They are fearless in risk taking and appear to be in perpetual motion. ~ They like to vacation, shop and have a great time. ~ If wronged, they act out dramatically and can be rude and defiant.
MOVERS When Stressed and Difficult ~ Will not care about rules, they see rules are guidelines for others. ~ Dramatic, acting out, can get agitated, sarcastic, panic, forces action. ~ Can lie, exaggerate, be manipulative, boisterous, run away. ~ Can be rude, defiant, reject rational advice, spread rumors. ~ Blows stuff off, finds a new audience. ~ Risky behavior, seeking adrenalin rush.
How to Help MOVERS ~ Allow freedom and choices. ~ Give them attention, then get out of their way. ~ Be consistent, not a bully. ~ Know the difference between assertive and aggressive. ~ Make it a game. ~ Be confident, change the pace.
PLANNERS and Money in General ~ Planners like to keep their money in the bank where they feel it is safe and secure. ~ They often feel they need to put away an equal amount to what they spend. ~ They are all about structure, planning, and honoring commitments. ~ They will be hard on themselves and harder on those who have wronged them. ~ They can be very authoritarian, inflexible, and depressed or fatigued if worried.
PLANNERS When Stressed and Difficult ~ Complains, blames, irritable, resentful. ~ Self-righteous, intolerant, controlling. ~ Rationalizes insensitivity as honorable. ~ Forgetful, anxiety attacks, unglued. ~ Sacrifices health, is tense, has multiple ailments. ~Writes off people, ideas, organizations, will not give second chance.
How to Help PLANNERS ~ Be responsible and plan ahead. ~ Acknowledge their contributions. ~ Be consistent (show respect), and conservative (don’t waste). ~ Provide clear expectations. ~ Honor their traditions. ~ Encourage them, and give them responsibility.
In Conclusion Does money really grow on trees? Is money really the root of all evil? Your clients come to the mediation table with ingrained attitudes and values about money, based on what they’ve been told and through their personal experiences. Personality Lingo is a tool for self-identification and self-awareness and for gaining insight into the strengths and challenges of others. Parts of our personality traits are inborn and others are influenced by the people and circumstances in our lives.
We’re all different. We are as unique as a fingerprint. Your personality, like a fingerprint, is unique to you although you may be very different from (or similar to), others you know. Having the above information in your personal or professional toolbox is paramount to having a secret decoder on how to help others resolve issues, especially when money is involved. The benefit of being able to speak to a stressed person’s hearing leads to increased cooperation when they believe you understand their position.