Creating Good Characters – Personality (Influence)

As an author, I spend more time developing believable, relate-able, and memorable characters than anything else.  I’ve found that if I invest a lot of time up-front in designing and learning who my characters are, it takes a lot of work out of writing the actual story. It also makes my writing more character-driven than plot-driven, which in my opinion is always a much better and more satisfying experience to read and to write.

This week, I’ll touch on the High-Influence personality, drawn from personal research and the ebook Four Secrets to Liking Your Work, part of the Career Survival Kit Collection. For more background, please see the intro and dominance posts.  For brevity, keep in mind these four personality types:  Dominance has the need to direct, Influence has the need to inspire, Steadiness has the need to stabilize, and Compliance has the need to regulate.

Those with the Influence personality focus on people instead of tasks and have an assertive approach.  They are charming and popular, confident and optimistic, inspiring and enthusiastic, persuasive and convincing, sociable and trusting. They are good in negotiating conflicts, creative problem solving, and cheering on others.  They share their thoughts and feelings freely.

Instead of shaping their world through action and organization like the Dominance personality, they persuade and influence others to create change. They are motivated by social activities and recognition, relationships, having the freedom to express and move in their own way, and to be free from control and details.

Weaknesses of this personality type include a proclivity toward impulsiveness, disorganization, lack of follow-through, unrealistic goals and dreams, inconsistent listening skills, and having the appearance of superficiality.  When under pressure they can oversell their point of view.  When things don’t go their way, they tend to pout and give up, feeling rejected.

Mannerisms of High-I people include walking medium-slow while talking to others or even themselves. They tend to run into things since they’re not paying attention.  They stand with feet apart and sway.  Unlike Dominance who point and draw lines while talking, Influencers use circular gestures or will just keep their hands in their pockets. While sitting, they cross one leg, and bounce it to some rhythm or tune they have in mind. They blow off steam with social activities.

High-I’s best connect on a personal level with other High-I’s and then High-D’s (Dominance) and less so with Steadiness and Compliance, who can be a bit turned off by the I’s need for the limelight.  On the other hand, High-I’s work best with S’s and C’s, due to their enthusiasm and team spirit matched to the others’ ability to organize and get things accomplished.  D’s and I’s don’t work quite as well due to the need of D’s to direct and the I’s need to be free from control.

Again, I’ll end with a warning to my writer friends on the use of High-I’s in your work. Since the majority of authors are High-C’s, we may tend to dismiss High-I’s as flighty and ditsy, while portraying them as stereotypical valley-girl cheerleader types.  The thing is, on a professional level we need them to be our publicists and marketers to help us sell our work!  If we need them in our lives, then our stories need those characters for similar reasons.  Also, considering that 29% of the U.S. population is High-I, nearly a third of our characters should have this personality. And that will also give a sizable portion of the population characters they can personally relate to.

Question: What are your thoughts about the High-I personality?


P.S.  If you are interested in taking a DISC profile, here is one I recommend… look for “48 Days Profiles”.

About EDC

EDC is an award-winning author with a passion for telling imaginative stories resonating with universal truths. His latest novel, Runaway, is a futuristic action/adventure inspired by the book of Philemon. EDC was born in Georgia, growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, where he now lives with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Emma. Besides writing and being employed as an analyst in the airline industry, he has worked as a volunteer with youth, church planting, and Compassion International. He enjoys landscape gardening, listening to alternative rock, and playing the swordfight game on Wii Sports Resort.
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1 Response to Creating Good Characters – Personality (Influence)

  1. Pingback: Creating Good Characters – Personality (Compliance) | Edward D. Casey

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