Undoubtedly you have heard of Type A Personality, but what does it really mean? Personality Type theory was first described in the 1950s as a potential risk factor for heart disease by cardiologists Meyer Friedman and R.H. Rosenman. They estimated that Type A behavior doubles the risk of coronary heart disease, but recent studies have invalidated these findings. Despite all the criticism, many people use the term “Type A” and “Type B” to describe contrasting personality traits. An individual may have a dominant type with a combination or blend of the other three types. Remember, everyone is unique and Personality Type theory does not explain all of human behavior. The professional goal is to understand the various types and manage them in the workplace. Which type best describes you?
Type A “The Leader”
Behavior Characteristics: highly independent, take charge, decisive, direct, business-like, ambitious, efficient, motivated, persistent, focused, risk taking, practical solution oriented, dislike routine, high achieving, no-nonsense, multitasking, deadline driven and change oriented.
Weaknesses: aggressive, controlling, too competitive, impatient, status conscious, high strung, workaholic, often interrupt, insensitive, walk or talk at a rapid pace, easily upset over small things, blunt, rushed and time starved.
Appealing Jobs: business, entrepreneurship, management and politics.
Many researchers believe that Type A behavior is a reaction to environmental factors and are influenced by culture and job structure. Many jobs today place unrealistic demands on time, emphasize efficiency and productivity, and put heavy penalties for mistakes. This only creates additional stress making people less patient. Others may be naturally intense, but this tendency is increased by environmental stress.
Type B “The Socializer”
Behavior Characteristics: highly extroverted, strong charisma, easy going, sense of humor, high energy, talkative, enthusiastic, gregarious, travel oriented, community minded, and enjoy being the center of attention.
Weaknesses: excessive socializing and may take things personally.
Appealing Jobs: advertising, event planning, marketing, public speaking, sales and travel consulting.
Type C “The Detailer”
Behavior Characteristics: introverted, accurate, logical, analytical, reserved, calculated, crave facts, consistent, procedural, rule abiding, predictable, dependable, loyal, patient, cautious, rational, risk averse, deep, thoughtful, sensitive and precise.
Weaknesses: perfectionism, overly serious, conforming, pleasing, difficulty communicating with others, unassertive, excessively detail oriented and emotionally limited.
Appealing Jobs: accountants, analyst, customer service representatives, engineers, programmers and technical careers.
Type D “The Distressed”
Behavior Characteristics: appreciate routine, need structure, orderly, dependable, supportive of others, punctual, consistent, motivated by security and benefits and work well from a set of directives.
Weaknesses: anxious, angry, depressed, worried, tense, inertia, change averse, overacting, inability to express emotions, low self-esteem, socially inhibited, lack creativity, resist responsibility and prefer to be told what to do. Appealing Jobs: administrative assistants and clerks.
Sources: Bill Garrison; Elizabeth Scott, MS (About.com, 11/8/07); Simeon Margolis, MD, PhD (Yahoo Health 9/5/01); Tim Bryce (ArticlesBase.com 9/7/07); HireSuccess.com; Shrinivas Kanade (Buzzle.com); Wikipedia.org; WiseGeek.com; Aastha Dogra (Buzzle.com, 3/11/10).