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Diplomacy in Action

The Personalities of Change


As we transition from old situations to new, we pass through a series of stages, and the reaction and individual ease with which that happens varies greatly. Why did Ethan embrace the change while Tara resisted? You may have guessed by now that it often has to do with their personality prototype.

Ethan is a Creative Problem Solver. Often his primary motivator is risk taking and adventuring. Of course he would look forward to this type of upcoming change. On the other hand, Tara's strongest talent prototype is in being a People Person. Leaving her friends was causing her high levels of stress. She will need to be assured of ways she can stay in touch with her friends. Her parents will have to explore and support her with ways to make new friends, and to maintain her existing friends. They might find her a pen pal in the new school to start an e-mail friendship. Thus when she arrives in her new home in Africa she will already have an existing friend. Each personality prototype style has an attitude about change, how a person can contribute to the change process, and what kind of support they will need during transitions. Consider the following four charts and notice the patterns. Consider how this applies to your personality prototype!

The Many Personalities of Change!

1. Practical Manager: Champion for Pragmatism
     Generally cautious about change!
How we view change: Generally opposed to change.  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
What support we require during transitions: Proof of the need.  Understanding the efficacy of the recommendations.  Schedule for the transition.  Need all the details worked out ahead of time.  Need to proceed slowly.
How we help during transitions: We can organize things during the transition.  We can keep records and receipts.  We will follow through.
How we can hinder the process: Perfectionism.  Over committing.  We can get confused if we are presented with too many options.

2. Learned Expert: Seeker of Knowledge
    Change is okay under the right circumstances.
How we view change: Will support change if there is a logical reason.  If people have researched it first and found food reasons for it, we will support it.  So we often say things like "Yes, but ...."
What support we require during transitions:  Carefully researched plans that are logical.  We need to be provided with the big picture.  What is the vision at the end of the tunnel?  We need to understand the benefits of the change and how the change will help us grow intellectually.
How we help during transition: We will research the aspects of the change like finding facts about the new location.  We can evaluate plans objectively.  We will be able to share the big picture.  Act as the voice of reason if others are upset or arguing.
How we can hinder the process: We can become bossy and act like we know it all.  We can make sarcastic comments when we are feeling overwhelmed.  We may become disinterested especially about mundane matters.

3. People Person: Master of Harmony
    Enjoy change especially if we are all in it together.
How we view change: Enjoy change, but only when it feels right.  "I have a gut feeling about this."
What support we require during transitions: People to support us.  We need to be assured that our friends will be included or involved in someway.  We need to feel included int he decision-making.
How we help during transition:  We can act as a cheerleader.  We can take the pulse of others around us to see how they are feeling about the change.  We can provide a hug when needed.
How we can hinder the process:  We might protect others from responsibility.  If we are sad or overwhelmed we can appear unfocused.  We might not attend to the schedule or detailed directions.  We must learn to be an "in the box" thinker.

4. Creative Problem Solver: Flair for Adventure
     Lovers of change..
How we view change:  Change is necessary.  We love the process.  "Go for it."
What support we require during transitions: We need to have some choice in the process.  Don't bother us with details.  We need to have fun or see opportunities for fun in the process.
How we help during transitions:  We can come up with the most creative solutions and be very convincing if necessary.  We have lots of charisma and a great sense of humor to help with the process.
How we can hinder the process:  Be careful, we can exploit others if stressed.  We can be unpredictable and take risks.  We don't take no for an answer and can sidestep rules.

� Much of the information in this Chapter is taken from Staying in STEPP, a guide for nurturing social and emotional intelligence by Nicols & Baum to be published by Creative Learning Press.
� Baum and Nicols, 2002
� Baum and Nicols, 2002
� Baum and Nicols, 2002



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