When it comes to personality profiles most are familiar with Galen’s Four temperaments (Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic and Melancholy) or the DISC assessment (Dominant, Influence, Steadiness, Compliant) but my personal favorite is the four personalities as presented by Dr. Gary Smalley with each have an animal characteristic. They are entertaining, easy to remember and even able for children to grasp. The four animals are the Lion, the Otter, the Golden Retriever and the Beaver.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty details (believe me there are MANY) let me try to give you a quick example of each personality:
The Lion –> RRRROAAAAAR!!!
Ok you likely got it. This personality is strong, confident, decisive and in charge. They are the movers and shakers of the world who are running the show. If you want to get something done…give it to the Lion! They can also be cold, domineering, sarcastic and cruel.
The Lion bottom line is CONTROL
The Otter –> Wheeeeeeee!
Think of an otter playing, splashing around and carefree…having a good time and you have got this personality figured out. These personality types are outgoing, friendly, talkative and enthusiastic. They love a party! They’ll come! They’ll bring the popcorn! (but beware if you invite them they may or may not show up based on if something more exciting came along or if they even remembered that there is a party… as they are undisciplined, unstable and a bit flakey) They can also be whiney and easily angered.
The Otter bottom line is FUN
The Golden Retriever –> “pant, pant, pant”
Just as you picture the faithful dog, man’s best friend…this is the golden retriever personality. They are calm, easy-going, diplomatic, loyal and humorous. They do not like conflict or confrontation and really desire everyone to just “get along”. They also can’t make a decision for the life of them and are a bit on the lazy, non productive, unmotivated side.
The Golden Retriever bottom line is PEACE
The Beaver –>
hmmmm no sound works to give you an idea of this personality so just picture the industrious beaver analyzing and calculating each move as they build a dam
Beavers are the most complex of the personalities as they often have either an artistic/musical component or the mathematic/bookkeeper side of the equation. (and sometimes both!) Either way they are self-disciplined, industrious, organized, aesthetic and sacrificing. They also tend to be moody, self-centered, touchy, negative, unsociable, critical and revengeful.
The Beaver bottom line: JUSTICE
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Both my husband and I have taught about personalities for years to our high school students as well as using them in pre-marital counseling sessions and sharing them with our kids. We have quite the working knowledge of both the strengths and weaknesses of each personality and can often quickly identify someones primary and secondary personality often the first time we meet them. Our kids have picked up the art of personality predicting as well and if you came to our home you should not be surprised to hear a lot of talk about lions, otters, golden retrievers and beavers. In fact we sometimes forget when guests are over that they have no idea what we are talking about, as they get this strange look on their faces as we start calling people animals!
Ok, so now that you have had a “crash course” in the personality animals….let me tell you who recently spent 10 days together on a trip to New York and Boston —>
Three Lions and a Golden Retriever
If you think that sounds a little intense…you would be right!
Imagine three dominant, strong, confident, opinionated and take charge female lions who all want to be in control (and don’t like to be told what to do). Yeah….that’s gonna work!
Then add to the mix a sweet golden retriever who simply wants peace and doesn’t like conflict or confusion and does not thrive in unfamiliar territory.
And to put more fuel to the fire….all four have strong secondary characteristics of a beaver which means there was a fair share of moodiness (or was that hormones?), criticism, negativity and self centeredness. Good times!
The best thing about knowing the personality characteristics as well as we all do….is when the dust settles we can see it for what it is, just a bunch of lions roaring at each other and a golden retriever withdrawing to the corner with her tail between her legs. We even end up laughing at ourselves and one another (as well as feeling a bit of compassion for the outmatched, out numbered golden retriever who at times probably wondered what she was thinking coming on a trip with three Lions. Daddy retriever would have balanced things out a bit). Knowing and understanding all the personality types and having the knowledge of what your primary personality is, as well as your loved ones goes a long way to helping relationships resolve conflict, accept the value in differences and live together in harmony whether that is a marriage, a family, a friend, a college roommate or a teammate. Realizing what weaknesses each temperament struggles with will also help you to work on developing good “learned behavior” to overcome these liabilities as well as giving you a little more patience in dealing with others. (although watch out you lions cuz you are always trying to control everyone elses weaknesses!) I highly recommend becoming a student and life long learner of the personalities, it will serve you well!
Just so you know….the strengths not just the weaknesses of the Lions and the Retriever were evident as well which is why we did almost more than most could accomplish during our trip and still took time to smell the roses, soak up the sunshine and relax on a few park benches. It’s all good!