Trait Descriptions - Defining the Traits


Each of the twenty Trait Scales include two traits which represent opposites of each other. This section will provide some specific information regarding each of the Traits and what they might mean in a business setting. Each of the descriptions focuses on the "Extreme" definition of each, that is, characteristics of one who is that way most or all of the time.

Introverted: The introverted person would be a quiet, reserved individual who directs his or her own interests toward self rather than others. One who would generally keep to him or herself and not make many, if any, overt gestures to meet new people on their own, probably seeking and introduction from a mutual friend or acquaintance. This individual would probably not be a risk taker, especially in social situations and would not be very comfortable, for example, making "cold calls" in sales.

Extroverted: The extroverted person would be very social, gregarious and outgoing and be very interested in making the initiative to meet new people in business and social situations. This person will not keep much to him or herself in terms of what is on his/her mind and will enjoy being the center of attention. The extrovert’s interests are centered outside of him or herself.

Unorganized: The unorganized person will not be a good planner and may need help being on time for appointments or remembering them. Their approach to their work will probably be unstructured and without a strategic plan. Their desk or office may appear messy or with no particular system for organizing things. Generally, one who lacks order and structure.

Organized: The organized individual would be one who is structured and does things in a systematic, orderly manner. They are most likely to plan their work and work their plan. Their desk and office will probably be neat with everything in its place.

Cautious: The extremely cautious person is not one likely to take risks, preferring safe, proven, time-tested solutions and methods. They seek evidence and will be doubtful or skeptical of anything that is unproven. The cautious person will be comfortable doing things that other people are doing or have done.

Risk Taker: The risk taker is willing to accept new ideas and concepts which have not necessarily been proven, but seem to make sense. They will often take a chance on something that sparks some emotion that gives them a sense that it will work. They have a sense of adventure and a willingness to chart new paths.

Indecisive: One who has difficulty making a decision or sticking with that decision. This type may doubt themselves or lack confidence in themself and will either find it difficult to make a decision or will keep changing their mind once they do make a decision. They will generally hesitate before making any decision and may be significantly influenced by others, especially those who seem very self-confident.

Decisive: The decisive person is one who does not hesitate to make a decision and is very confident in his or her own ability to sort out information and act accordingly. Once they have made a decision, it will be hard to get them to change their mind unless very strong and convincing evidence can be presented to the contrary. They may tend to be willing to make somewhat riskier decisions than the indecisive individual, especially if they have confidence in the source of the information on which they base the decision.

Intuitive: The extremely "intuitive" person is one who makes decisions and evaluates things based on "gut feel".  They may even at times ignore facts, or what appears to be facts if they have a "feeling" they know the right answer.  Many times they do and this can be a valuable trait, especially in some jobs where there may be few facts and little information available to evaluate and the person is well versed, or even and "expert" in the field.  The very intuitive person usually won't spend a lot of time analyzing things and may get easily frustrated when forced to analyze things where they feel they already know the answer or best way.

Analytical: The highly "analytical" person can often be characterized by "analysis paralysis".  The "C" type personality type is the most prone to be extremely Analytical.  They don't accept hardly anything at face value and will normally not make a decision until they have all of the facts and figures, and then still may not be completely satisfied.  A high level of detail orientation and patience are also commonly associated with this trait.  This can be a very valuable asset in many job positions where all sides of an issue must be thoroughly explored before making a decision or moving on.  

Inflexible: This type of person will probably be closed-minded and rigid in their approach to new things or anything they don’t like or are uncomfortable with. They will not be very interested in accommodating others or adapting their ways or thinking to be like others unless it suits them to do so. They don’t like it when the rules change and may drag their feet in making changes to comply with new rules and procedures. In management, their approach may often be characterized as "their way or the highway".

Adaptable: This person will be open-minded and flexible in their approach to new ideas or things that are presented to them. They will be willing to change their methods and procedures to accommodate others in achieve harmony and compatibility. Even if they believe their way is the best way, they are at least open to compromising to achieve balance and harmony.

Merciless: This type of person lacks compassion and does whatever he or she believes has to be done without regard to the consequences or other people’s feelings. In the workplace, they often are the ones who have to do the difficult jobs that many other people hate to do, or just can’t bring themselves to doing. They seem tough and untouchable, sometimes distant and unforgiving of anyone who they consider a problem or the "enemy". They are not afraid to say and do whatever they believe is the correct and proper thing and "political correctness" is probably not in their vocabulary.

Compassionate: This individual will be very warm and caring and always be looking out for the best interests of others. They want to assure fairness and are sympathetic to the needs, problems, and issues of others, especially if they believe the others are being treated unfairly. They will be the type to empathize with other people, forgiving them for whatever they may have done to cause a problem and will always be very kind and considerate in their approach to dealing with other people.

Deliberate – Planner: This is the opposite of the "spontaneous" person. This individual knows exactly why they do everything they do or say. They are strategic in their approach to their work and will often spend a great deal of time planning a detailed strategy. If giving a presentation, it will either be well rehearsed or will be read, but they will not be comfortable talking about whatever comes to mind.

Spontaneous: This type of person will be rather unpredictable, preferring to act or say whatever seems right at the moment. An excellent example might be a stand-up comedian who never knows what may happen and seems to have a "knack" for rolling with the punches and handling whatever comes his or her way. They will be more impulsive and think quickly on their feet. If they are wrong about something, they won’t dwell on it, preferring instead to apologize and move on.

Lives for Today: This is the opposite of a very goal oriented person. This individual will lead a carefree lifestyle and get the most out of every day. They may not know where they will be five years from now, but they will probably enjoy getting there. They will be indifferent towards the things that motivate the goal-oriented person focusing instead on what’s in it for them now, rather later.

Goal Oriented: This type of person has purpose and direction in life and knows what they want to be, what they want to achieve and sees each day as an opportunity to be one step closer to achieving whatever they have set out to do. They will be more willing to sacrifice current benefits and pleasures in exchange for assuring their goals will be met. They will be very predictable, especially if you know and understand their goals since they will be doing whatever it takes to get them where they want to be. They will tend to be very competitive, especially if the goal can only be achieved by one person or a select group to which they belong. They can be motivated by contests and long term rewards.

Reactive: This type of individual considered to be "reactive" in this test is one waits for things to happen and then decides what he or she will do, versus the "proactive" person who goes after the outcome they desire rather than waiting for the outcome to come to them. The "reactive" person will tend to be flexible and adapt easily because they have to, not knowing what will happen next. They may have to do things quickly and may be very good at it, as they have often wait until the last minute to take action. If they are very good at being reactive, their senses will be very sharp and will pick up on small things that others might overlook, as this can be the key to reacting properly when time is short.

Proactive: This person deliberately goes after the outcome he or she seeks and will do whatever it takes. They will be very good at handling people along the way, even those with differing opinions and ideals, as they will do whatever they can to manipulate things to bring about the desired outcome. They won’t stop until they get what they want and are generally unwilling to compromise unless it helps them get what they are after. Although this may sound similar to being "goal oriented", like that above, a person who "Lives for Today" may still exhibit proactive qualities, the difference is in the time involved for the various objectives. If their objectives are very short-term, a person who "lives for today" could take a very proactive approach in trying to control the outcome of today’s events.

Avoids Change: This is a person who seeks stability in everything they do. They don’t like things to keep changing, rather they want to be able to "count on" people, rules, and procedures, and are most comfortable when things are consistent. They will even tolerate things that aren’t the way they would like because a change could make it worse instead of better. They aren’t the type to want to change careers or jobs often, if at all, and will be the type that hopes to get the gold watch someday.

Likes Change: Change is fun and exciting. It fights boredom. If things don’t change often enough, this person may go out of their way to do something to cause change just so things don’t get "stale". They are usually very creative individuals who are always looking for a better way to do everything, even if what have, already works well. They believe you can’t have progress without change and the more change must mean more progress.

Impatient: The extremely impatient person hates to wait.  They want everything yesterday, but right now will do.  Impatience is quite often a characteristic of the "A" personality, although it can be found in some degrees in all 4 of the basic type.  The Impatient person will often be the "driver" behind new ideas and projects and can be a source of pressure to "get things done" in other people around him or her.

Patient: The extremely patient person will wait as long as it takes to get something, whether it be an answer from someone or completion of a task or project.  Patient people may often feel as though they may not be able to their best work if they are pressured to get things done or completed at a faster pace.  They are often found in supportive roles because they are the most willing to patiently listen to other people's problems and issues which can be a very valuable trait in some jobs.

Unpersuasive: - An illustration of a completely unpersuasive person might be one who couldn’t convince people to buy bandages at a train wreck. Few people are that unpersuasive, but many don’t seem to be very convincing for any of a variety of reasons. Many just aren’t comfortable in situations where they have to persuade others to say, do or buy something. Their own discomfort in the situation may be enough to leave some people unconvinced. The unpersuasive person is hesitant and cautious before putting themselves in a situation where the outcome depends on their ability to persuade someone or a group of people. Generally, this is the opposite of the "Persuasive" person described below.

Persuasive: Persuasive people are very convincing in their presentation of ideas and information that makes it easy for others to believe and accept what they are saying. They are willing to take some risks to get people to see things their way. Some may even consider it risky to even try to make a persuasive argument about a particular subject to certain people. They will tend to be less restrained in their approach and be willing to do whatever it takes to get their point across.

Delegates Details: This trait represents the opposite of being "detail oriented". This type of person doesn’t enjoy dwelling on all of the details, preferring to get to the bottom line and move on. If the person is in a position to delegate work to others, he or she may tend to let others they trust handle the details and consider their summary report as sufficient for making a decision. If there is no one else to delegate the details to, then they may seem disorganized or messy since they don’t really enjoy the details of cleaning up or organizing, preferring instead to move on to bigger and better things.

Detailed: The detail oriented individual is meticulous and must have everything in order otherwise he or she will be very uncomfortable. The detailed person enjoys analyzing all the facts and information and making sure all of the facts are correct and correlate to all the know issues. Precision, accuracy, organization and neatness are the cornerstones of the detail oriented person.

Avoids Stress: This person will be a calm, collected individual who enjoys tranquility instead of the "rat race" that causes so much stress in daily life. Although they will avoid stressful situation and environments, they won’t create stress in an attempt to avoid it. Deadlines will be achieved if possible, but their easy-going approach will give higher priority to other things they consider more fundamental and enjoyable. They will comply with the rules and objectives that are set out for them, but won’t like it if others keep changing things that end up leaving the problems and the stress at their doorstep.

Thrives on Stress: We’ve all seen and known the "workaholic" that just can’t seem to unwind or be happy unless he or she is busy balancing many things at the same time. Because they have mastered the art of doing so much, they may be impatient and demanding of others who may get in the way of them meeting their objectives or who don’t seem to be as totally "engaged" as they are in whatever they are doing. They will probably enjoy competition in all aspects of their life. This may extend to sports activities and even watching sporting events where they can at least witness high stress and demands even while they are "relaxing".

Needs Reassurance: This is the opposite of a "self-confident" person. In this extreme case, the person will tend to derive their confidence from having others reassure them that they are doing well rather than from having confidence in themselves. In other words, the source of the confidence is external versus internal. This type of person may seem timid and shy to others. They aren’t the type to be overbearing because they don’t normally have the confidence to aggressively confront others, unless they have a solid group of people constantly reassuring them that they are correct and doing the "right thing". If supervising this type of person, it will be important to let them know from time to time that they are doing a good job. The frequency of the reassurance will depend on the individual.

Self-Confident: People with an extremely high degree of self-confidence don’t really need other people to tell them their right or doing good, they know it. They still enjoy and appreciate hearing it, but they won’t cease to function if they don’t get a regular dose of encouragement either. Taken to the extreme, they may appear arrogant and assertive, pushing to get things done "their way" because they are very confident their way is correct. It often is.

Intolerant: The intolerant person is the type who knows the rules and is very firm and inflexible in enforcing them. They may be very attentive to following the rules themselves and expect everyone else to do the same. They will tend to be impatient with people who make very many mistakes, especially the same ones more than once, and will probably not be accommodating to others who they don’t think can meet their high standards of excellence. The intolerant type may take the role of disciplinarian in many situations.

Tolerant: The tolerant person will be open, accommodating and willing to compromise or wait on others in order to help them meet their objectives or do their work. They will allow more liberties and may tend to "bend the rules" one in a while to help people along.

Team Player: As applied in this system, the "team player" is the opposite of someone who likes to work alone, or independently. This is not meant in the context of supporting the group or a "team", but rather one who works best when they can interact with others rather than working alone.

Works Independently: The extreme in this case is a person who does not need, nor like, other people "looking over their shoulder". They know how to supervise themselves and don’t want someone micro-managing everything they do. They work best if left alone, especially if they know they are very good at what they do.

Passive: Although the definitions of these traits are commonly understood, the characteristics that are illustrated in this system define the person to be a quite, reserved individual; one who is non-aggressive, non-confrontational and generally easy going.

Aggressive: The aggressive individual will tend to be very assertive and forceful in their overall demeanor and will likely be viewed as "pushy" or "harsh" at times. They won’t be quiet when something bothers them, or they feel an injustice is being done and are the type who will confront authority if necessary to ultimately make things better.

Skeptic: The "skeptic", as applied in this system, is one who is not likely to take something at face value and go and tell a lot of people how great it is. Rather, the extreme skeptic will doubt whatever he or she hears unless sufficient evidence is also available to back up the claims. Even with sufficient evidence, the skeptic will take a very cautious approach before recommending or promoting an idea, concept or product. The extreme skeptic will probably never be one to be accused of "hyping" something.

Promoter: The promoter is less cautious about having all of the evidence before promoting and idea, concept or a product. Rather, if he or she believes the source of the information, some creativity will be applied, and the promoter is ready to tell the world about this great find! An extreme promoter won’t necessarily promote something he or she knows is not true, but they probably won’t demand the kind of proof a skeptic would. The extreme promoter enjoys the promotion so much, that some people may view them as a "hype artist". Although usually very persuasive, the promoter may have a tendency to get carried away at times and can turn some personality types off.