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The Personality behind Decision Making - The Lion

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“Always be yourself, express yourself, have Faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it”- Bruce Lee

As we continue to discuss Decision Making in Risk Management; I am excited to start a new series on The Personality behind Decision Making: How your personality type may help or hinder how you work with others and make decisions. Merriam Webster provides us with a definition of Personality as “The set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving…that makes a person different from other people.”

History paves the way of where we are today in our understanding of personality. Since ancient times, people have been exploring new ways to explain behavior by categorizing personalities into certain types. In 1758 a gentleman by the name of Franz Joseph Gall; the founder of Phenology began a look at personality by looking at head shape. In 1848 Phineas Gage, an American railroad construction foreman, was struck and injured by a dynamite explosion in which an iron rod pierced through his head damaging the majority of his left frontal lobe. This incident began the link between specific parts of the brain and personality. Although Phineas Gage survived this horrific incident his personality changed drastically after this event. Erick Erickson in 1902 began what is known as the Stages of Development; describing personality from birth to death. Later in 1908, Abraham Maslow created the most famous theories of motivation and personality called the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In 1921, Herman Rosharch created the Inkblot personality test, a test that is still used today. Sigmund Freud, Albert Bandura, and Carl Rogers are just a few more of the many theorists that study personality.

Dr. Gary Smalley, an author, public speaker, and family counselor discusses temperaments based on four animals titled “The Five Minute Personality Test”. I will be using his work along with his co-developer; Dr. John Trent in this new series on how your personality trait may help or hinder how you work with others and make decisions. I encourage you to figure out your personality type, think about how it affects your relationships and decision making. You will find that it may just help you work better with your customers, employees, co-workers, banker, broker, friends, spouse and children.

The Lion

I was surprised to see from Merriam Webster a definition of Lion as “A very important, powerful, or successful person”. Smalley and Trent describe the Lion as leaders. Lions are decisive and bottom line thinkers. They love to solve problems, seek new adventures, and in a group setting always take charge. Lions are confident and self-reliant and task oriented. “However; if their strengths get pushed out of balance, those traits can become their greatest weaknesses” (The Two Sides of Love: Using Personality Strengths to Greatly Improve Your Relationships. Dr. Gary Smalley & John Trent, PhD. 1990, pg37). Lions are motivated by results and are always in action. If you don’t like to sit down; you are probably a Lion. Lions focus on the NOW and doesn’t like to waste time. A lion get right to the point and tends to make quick decisions based on a goal or end result in mind. Do you tend to make quick risk management decisions with little facts or discipline guidelines or Strategies to make that decision? Lions take command in pressure or tense situations and their greatest need is to see results and solve problems. Lions also have weaknesses. These may include the following: impatient, impulsive and demanding, blunt, poor listener, insensitive to the feelings of others, fears inactivity and bored by routine. If you work or know someone that tends to put projects (work) before people and relationships you have a Lion in your midst.

Knowing you are a lion or working or living with a lion may help you in personal as well as business relationships. Do decisions with Risk Management get resolved by just one individual, the Lion, or is there input from others welcome. Will the Lion’s strong and quick decisions making trait allow for discipline changes when poor decisions require adjustment or does pride and greed filter into unwanted end results? The positive traits of the Lion will keep a disciplined Risk Management - Hedge Policy on line with successful results!

So how can we work with Lions more efficiently? If you are not a Lion but work or live with one here are some strategies you can use to better understand and tame that Lion! (from Smalley and Trent)

  • When talking to a Lion, Be Efficient and To the Point!
  • Provide them with Options and Information on what it does and by when.
  • Provide Immediate Action. Even if you don’t have an answer tell them when you will have one!
  • Support their Goals and Objectives!
  • If you disagree, argue facts not feelings!
  • Be Precise and on Time
  • Focus on the Results or Bottom-Line

Lions, the best advice to give you are to take a moment to breath, take a walk with your family; play with your children. One of the mistakes Lions make is move away from relationships. Find time and ways to have a “softer side”!

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