Travis Bradberry, an award-winning author, and co-founder of TalentSmart, had a very interesting post on LinkedIn recently about how people with Type B personalities can be overlooked in the working world. As someone who used to work with a LOT of Type As in the workplace, I wanted to present a few thoughts about some of the differences in our qualities.
Let me start by clarifying that I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a Type A. I think every organization needs a few Type As – they are outspoken in many cases, true; but they are also the go-getters that know how to do what needs to be done. Give them a job, they will get it done. They are clear about how to go about a given task, where others would likely be more indecisive. That’s the good part.
But I have also learned that if you put TOO MANY Type As in a particular work setting, the result is often managers and supervisors involved in heated battles because one of them wants to be IN CHARGE. Put another way, you may need a hard-driving Type A personality to take command in important situations… but MORE than one? Probably not a good idea – they will inevitably lock horns.
So long as we have the same destination plugged into our GPS, what difference does it make if you’re going 80 on the freeway, and I’m going 60 on an off-road (like the one in the picture above)?
Where does Type B fit in? People with Type B personalities like myself are often content in the background. But just because we tend to shun the spotlight doesn’t mean we don’t care – we’re just more laid back about it. Dr. Bradberry correctly points out that being laid-back is not the same thing as being disengaged or indifferent!
Reading Dr. Bradberry’s post was very enlightening. It made me feel much better about who I am, because for years, surrounded by Type As – who seemed to dominate the newsrooms I was employed in for years — I felt like a second-class citizen compared to these powerful personalities. It was as if I lacked ambition.
Bradberry has this to say about Type As: “We’re awed by your drive and by your breathtaking pace. we recognize the rewards that come your way, and we’re impressed. But we’re wise enough to know that we’re not wired that way.”
Indeed. It takes all types to make a workplace effective. We Type Bs are happy to stay in the slow lane and let you pass. So long as we have the same destination plugged into our GPS, what difference does it make if you’re going 80 on the freeway, and I’m going 60 on an off-road (like the one in this picture)?