Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Race to Win - Second Edition EXCERPT


Temperaments and Personalities

Most people in a motor racing paddock have no idea about the following information. However, after reading the original Race to Win, I had Indy 500 drivers call me to say the temperaments chapter revolutionized how they communicate within their families and the business associates.

From the beginning of time it is common knowledge people are different in every possible way. They are different in their background, their upbringing, and their physical appearance. In this chapter I will focus on the four basic temperaments that shape who you are as a person and how you interact with the others. This chapter has the potential to revolutionize how you communicate with others through your unique style. It is your individual style of seeing, and, more importantly, communicating with the world around you, and having a basic understanding of the temperaments that can have a profound impact when dealing with your team, your family, and your business.

There are four primary temperaments, and, like blood types, they never change. Each come with their own set of strengths and weaknesses and characteristics you will be able to discern, and therefore assist you in navigating your way through conversations and conflicts with a better understanding of all points of view, and therefore a greater opportunity for a quicker resolution.

As a side note, a majority of corporations, large and small, give personality tests to applicants during the hiring process to make sure the individual fits the position being sought. It is an invaluable resource for studying behaviors and why people respond the way they do. It is also interesting to note that until I understood the four different types, I assumed everybody viewed life, or should, from my view. Can you begin to see the potential for conflict? One more thing, it is very common to be a blend of another temperament. In other words, you will have a primary and a secondary blend of temperaments, but your primary will always be dominant. As you read and understand this information you will begin to categorize your friends, teammates, and team leaders, and you will have a deeper understanding of how and why they communicate the way they do. You will also learn how to better walk through their door of communication and be a stronger group because of it.

The Four Basic Temperaments
 The original Greek names are Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy. Please remember a temperament is not right or wrong, just different. Everyone has a dominant temperament and it will be blended with a secondary.

Choleric: “The Doer”
This temperament is task- and result-oriented. These people possess strong leadership skills and are very driven. Making friends is not their priority, getting the job done is. They would appear be somewhat aggressive, assertive, almost abrasive. They usually end up in a management role because of their ability to get all the tasks done.

Sanguine: “The Talker”
This temperament is fun, extroverted, outgoing and colorful party people. They usually have a lot of friends. Life is all about adventure, excitement, and being active, engaged, and stimulated. They laugh and talk a lot, and are fun people to be around. You can usually find these outgoing people in public relations, sales and marketing.

Phlegmatic: “The Watcher”
This temperament is the most likable of all four types. They are easy-going, non-offensive, and loyal types, and are usually good followers and good listeners. They would be somewhat people-centered, romantics, family-oriented types who like togetherness. If they were an animal they would be a golden retriever. Sometimes appear indifferent and apathetic. But never mistake their style for weakness.

Melancholy : “The Thinker”
This is the deep-thinker temperament, who is very black-and-white, extremely analytical, and can often appear to be moody. They can be visionaries, perfectionists, people who love charts, graphs, and facts. These would be race team engineers, statisticians, math gurus, doctors, and accountants.

To give you an idea of the words that might describe the four temperaments, consider the table below:

Bottom line
Honest feelings
Inner experience
Stir the blood
Brotherly love
Fast machines
New and better ways

Good time
Concern from the bottom
of ones heart
Track record


Now let’s look at what behaviors they each might exhibit.

When you consider the above temperaments, the majority of the population has at least two different temperaments operating at any given time. But it would be rare, if ever, to have your opposite as a blend. For example, you could have an analytical (Melancholy) race engineer who has a driven (Choleric) or easy-going (Phlegmatic) blend, but would be very rare to have a life of the party (Sanguine) as a secondary.

Consider this: What if you were working with your race engineer (Melancholy) and he was very data driven laptop engineer. His communication style therefore requires you to sit down for an hour after each session and accurately discuss in minute detail every aspect of the chassis, engine, gearbox, and race track. He would probably also want you to pore over data graphs in fine detail in an effort to provide him with as much information as possible. It is his job then to take all that information and have it make sense and use it to help the car go faster. If you are a driver who does not like to get bogged down with the details, and if you walk in and simply tell him it oversteers and you’re off to play golf, the chances are you will not have connected with him, nor will you have satisfied his requirements. This would be an ineffective way to communicate with your engineer.

On the other hand, if your race engineer is what I call a trench engineer, and all he needs to know is the very basics of the problem with the car, and you want to sit down for an hour with him and explain every aspect in minute detail, and ask him to spend hours studying data graph, again you will not have connected with him nor satisfied his requirements.

If you had the skills to be able to read what type of person you are dealing with, don’t you think that might give you a head start to having effective communications with the people you matter on your teams? Absolutely it would.

The real key to effective communications is three-fold:  how to project your own personality and wishes in a supportive way, how to recognize the personalities of the people you are dealing with, and  how to communicate most effectively with them.

Derek Daly