I’ve found business help books are helpful in creating memorable characters, especially books that deal with personal interactions. Over the next few weeks, I’ll highlight a few things I’ve learned recently from personal research and from an ebook I got off the Kindle store, Four Secrets to Liking Your Work, part of the Career Survival Kit Collection.
Four Secrets draws heavily from the research used in DISC Personality profiles, which divides personalities into four groups based on how much a person focuses on people or tasks and how much they either respond to or change their environment (reflective vs. assertive). Today I’ll share a bit about the task + assertive personality, labeled as “Dominance”.
High-Dominance people (and characters) are daring and adventuresome, direct and outspoken, competitive, persistent, and innovative self-starters. They are self-confident, results-oriented risk-takers who quickly take charge. They overcome opposition and challenges to shape their environment. They organize people and resources to obtain quick results. High-D’s are motivated by power and authority, direct conversation, opportunities for individual accomplishment, self-directed activities, and new challenges.
Unfortunately, they can at times overuse their position, seeming to have little concern for others. Their direct nature can come across as lacking in tact or diplomacy. They can become impatient, impulsive, and overlook other, better alternatives. Under pressure they can become demanding and intimidating. When things don’t go their way they tend to leave the situation: “I’m through!”.
Mannerisms of High-D people including fast-walking with arms swinging and head held high. They have more collisions as they assume others will get out of the way. When standing they usually pose with one foot in front, carrying most of their weight. They talk with their hands, pointing a lot. Their words are rapid, direct, and action-oriented. They sit with one ankle resting on one knee, taking up a lot of space. They blow off steam with exercise or other physical, competitive activites.
High-D’s can get along with other High-D’s, but may have a lot of conflict over who is in charge. They connect best on a personal level with Influencers (people + assertive). They accomplish tasks best with team-player Steadiness (people + reflective) though there is not much personal connection. They butt heads most with Compliance (task + reflective), as their quest for quick results collides with the Compliance person’s need to ensure quality and accuracy. Sparks can fly as with D’s rules are made to be broken, while with C’s rules are the law.
I’ll end with a warning to my writer friends. Artists such as ourselves are more often High-C’s since we have the creative task-focus plus the patient personality to actually get things done. That being said, it’s easy to automatically assign our antagonists with High-D, as they are the personality type we least understand or enjoy. Keep in mind only 18% of the American population are High-D. Sure, they gravitate toward the top of organizations, but give it a second thought before making your villain High-D. You might find that other personalities are better suited for the story you want to tell.
Question: What are your thoughts about the High-D personality?
P.S. If you are interested in taking a DISC profile, here is one I recommend… look for “48 Days Profiles”.