I’ve been taking some training recently on a tool which helps distinguish the different types of thinking and action we all have. There are a lot of different assessment models out there in the coaching world, and this one uses a model of five archetypes.

In our discussion today, I was pondering how these different innate preferences tend to exacerbate conflicts and misunderstandings.

It seems that we all want others to think like we do! It’s logical, right?

At one level, we know that’s not true. Everyone is different, and that makes for a robust and exciting life experience.

But we constantly fall into the trap of thinking that our way makes the most sense, so therefore anyone with any sense will see that’s the right way to do things. I fall into this trap all the time.

It’s not about skin color, social class, gender, or any of the other dimensions that we often focus on when we talk about diversity. It’s about natural ways of thinking, emoting, and interacting with those around us.

But it’s fascinating that people with certain preferences will gravitate toward particular jobs, careers, and social groups. Those “get stuff done at any cost” folks will tend to be rewarded as business leaders. The “make sure we address everyones’ concerns” people will be great in caring professions.

But most of behavior is learned, so we all have the ability to do things which are outside our innate comfort zones. I’ve learned how to become more of an extravert in certain situations, even though that’s not my tendency. I’ve also worked hard on my balance between getting stuff done and bringing a team along with me.

So it’s great to be aware of your natural tencies, so you know the traps you tend to fall into. But after that, learn some skills and tools which can help you reach your goal.

Because you, my friend, are unique.