They tend to be the class presidents and football team captains in high school, the top movers and shakers on college campuses and the forceful, full-steam-ahead bosses at work. Dominant personalities are drawn to such positions, since they offer opportunities to lead, direct, shine and tackle major challenges. These take-charge types often do well in leadership positions, but they also struggle at times with interpersonal relationships, since they typically prefer their own opinions and making unilateral decisions over hearing from others and consensus building.
The DISC personality types model, developed by American psychologist William Moulton Marston, identifies two passive and two active personality types. One of the active types is the Dominant personality. This personality type is described as task-oriented, rather than people-oriented, and is generally characterized as direct, decisive and highly self-confident. Such people prefer leading to following and frequently crave being in charge of whatever situation they're in, inclining them to seek management and leadership positions. They often exhibit risk-taking and problem-solving behaviors, and can be motivated by new challenges at work and in their personal lives.
People with dominant personalities can find personal relationships challenging, due to a strong need to always be calling the shots. This can be off-putting to those seeking greater give-and-take in a relationship. Also, dominant personalities are not typically good at listening to others or valuing their opinions, whether at work or in personal relationships, and likely have to work hard to develop better "connecting" skills if their relationships are to be successful. The dominant personality's orientation toward reaching goals and completing tasks can pose problems in personal relationships, where the emphasis is usually more on meeting one another's needs and focusing on the individual rather than achieving specific set goals.
When dominant personalities focus their energy, problem-solving skills and determination toward handling challenges at work, they can be invaluable as leaders of project teams. Their strong desire to see tangible results from any project they undertake pushes them to complete projects successfully and helps them push through any obstacles they face. They also are typically not afraid to take on new subject matter or major projects, welcoming the challenge, particularly if they are in charge. This is especially true if they are given the freedom to take risks or try new things in the process of handling workplace challenges.
The same things that push a dominant personality to charge ahead, full-steam, on activities he finds interesting or exciting can also cause problems in the workplace, particularly in the "works and plays well with others" category. A person with a dominant personality often chafes under close supervision and does not appreciate either bosses or peers questioning or criticizing his efforts or approach. He can come across as intolerant or dismissive of those around him. He also is easily bored by the day-to-day routine and therefore may not give the necessary attention to detail or repetitive tasks, which can cause problems with his co-workers.
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As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.
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