Years ago, before we could go on the web like this and find thousands of articles, podcasts and webinars I got out of my apartment nearly every weekend, rain or snow or ice, to participate in the great self-development seminars available throughout the Chicago area. Most of the groups met motel meeting rooms near O’Hare Airport or in “the Loop” near Lake Michigan.

One memorable weekend workshop I attended focused on the Four Grid Personality Styles. The research centered on identifying the four basic types of people (you can find many newer permutations of these concepts in an online search under keywords such as: Personal Effectiveness, CORE, relating styles, personality grid).

Twenty or so of us started out that particular Saturday morning with a multiple-choice questionnaire. Our goal was to pinpoint our own personality types and master our business and personal communications techniques.

We were young professionals, seated in a semi-circle on folding chairs, marking answers to questions which revealed our learning styles, normal responses to stress, decision-making processes, aptitudes, and preferred activities. As we moved through the questions we began to determine which type or combination of types we fit into: Creator, Supporter, Controller or Analyzer.

I found the multiple-choice questions insightful and inspiring.

However, I could feel my friend Sandra’s growing upset as she struggled with the choices. Just before our lunch break she burst into tears.

Why would a multiple-choice quiz about her personality type have such a dramatic effect on Sandra?

Our facilitator halted everything and asked Sandra, “What happened? Are you okay?”

“Oh, I just HATE my work!” Sandra sobbed. “It’s wearing me out. Four long years of the same thing every day and I’m totally exhausted. I apologize for making such a scene here. But, after releasing all that tension and making a fool of myself I feel lots better.” Her smile returned.

At lunch, over sandwiches and French fries, a few of us talked with Sandra.

Sandra, who was in a business partnership with her husband Jerome, stayed home in their office every day and managed inventory, organized sales receipts, and logged all of his business expenses. Jerome was out on the road every day doing their marketing and selling. It had been on Jerome’s insistence that Sandra work from home and run the day-to-day aspects of the office. “I HATE paperwork,” moaned Sandra. “It’s my least favorite thing in the world. I sit there, alone, every day with numbers on paper. It's not my thing!”

I already knew a lot about my friend Sandra. We had been neighbors for several years. Sandra was in her glory whenever she entertained and socialized. She was always up for taking off with a group on an adventure.

That Saturday, with only a couple of hours of exposure to the four-grid personality style concepts, I was certain Sandra would be categorized as a “supporting creator” type (more of a creator, with elements of the supporter).

Jerome (who I now guessed was an analyzing controller, with an emphasis on controller) had been the one to assign Sandra the daily tasks appropriate only for someone with an “analytical-style” personality. Paper work was better suited to Jerome than to Sandra.

The endless stream of facts and figures without any creative element was drowning Sandra’s spirit.

As previously mentioned, since that workshop I’ve run across several systems of “four grid personality” profiling. The concepts are pretty much the same no matter whose program or book it is. Every time I search the Internet regarding four-grid personality style research I find yet another expert in the field with another e-book and online workshop. Learning all you can about the four types of personalities is invaluable in making career choices and for those who interact with others in business.

Here's a quick summary of the four personality styles:

* Essentially, everyone is either people-oriented (right brained) or task-oriented (left-brained).

* The people-oriented folks are grouped into the categories of Creators (or Promoters) and Supporters. Of the two people-oriented types, Creators are the more extroverted and assertive.

* Task-oriented individuals are referred to as Controllers (or Directors) and Analyzers. The true Controlling-style folks are obviously more assertive than the Analyzers.

* Just like Sandy and Jerome, most of us have elements of more than one style.

I’m glad to report that Sandy eventually took over the marketing and sales position within their business partnership (a better fit for a creator-style personality). Her happiness with that role dramatically increased their business’ bottom line. Jerome now directs and manages their rapidly growing corporation (and oversees the bookkeeping). As Sandy began to take over the promotional aspects of their company and turn in profits well beyond Jerome’s, he was able to step back into a strong directorial role.

Where do you fit in to the four-grid personality type system?
I hope you are following your bliss in the style that works best for you!

Author's Bio: 

Chicago Native Cait Stanley, formerly sale manager for the world's leading audio programs producer/publisher, no heads up her own company for mentoring and training business professionals.