Everyone is different, so how do you learn how best to approach someone according to their personality?  Recently, we ran a training session in our office on 'bird personality types'.   This was a worthwhile exercise as we discovered the varying character types in the office and how to best communicate effectively with them.  

The four different personalities were:

  • Eagle - authority and power.  The eagle is a controller; someone who is confident, dominant, assertive, impatient and ambitious.  This person often puts results before people's feelings.

Wants:  results.   They generally have a strong need to be the boss and to have the authority to make things happen.   They also need to have power and be challenged.

Communication:  The best way to approach the eagle is to make it fast, stick to the point, only give them the bottom line and don't try giving them any excuses!  Let them be the boss otherwise you may find out that they are the boss in no uncertain terms.

  • Peacock - popularity and applause.   The peacock is a talker; someone who is confident, outgoing, flamboyant, dramatic, persuasive and animated.   They like to put people before tasks.

Wants:  popularity.   The peacock has a strong desire to be the centre of attention and to gain recognition, applause and fame.

Communication:  Approaching the peacock means that you need to make it fast, warm, friendly and animated.   Let them do most of the talking and be the centre of attention, otherwise you'll find you have 'lost' them.

  • Dove - security of belonging.   The dove is a feeler; someone who is shy, friendly, sensitive, patient, supportive and loyal.   They like to listen more than talk and generally put people's welfare first.

Wants:  friendship.   The dove enjoys being a supportive and caring member of a small group or team.   They like the security of belonging.

Communication:  Taking it warm, slow and friendly is the best way to approach a dove.   They enjoy no risk, no change and no pressure, otherwise you may get a 'yes' that really means 'no'.

  • Owl - security through facts and figures.   The owl is a thinker; someone who is quiet, analytical, logical, conservative, reserved, cool, cautious.   They enjoy listening more than talk and they put logic before feelings

Wants:  predictability.   The owl needs details, structure, set procedure, analytical facts and figures - proof.

Communication:  Make sure you give the owl plenty of information.   They need you to take it slow, cool and very logical.   They also enjoy no risk, no change and no pressure, otherwise you may get a 'no' that could have been a 'yes'

The test does not end with an assessment or a diagnosis.  It is a self assessment tool that enables a person to identify their own unique and distinctive traits that clarify their personality and innermost being.  I was personally shocked at how well my bird described me and it was no surprise that our two partners were classified as being confident, assertive and bold – an eagle and a peacock.  This was a particularly useful exercise in an office environment as we were able to gain knowledge of colleagues' personality types and consider the best way to approach each one.