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Blossom Your Awesome Podcast #30 - Personality Types | Taking Flight With Merrick Rosenberg

by Sue Dhillon
January 27th 2022

Blossom Your Awesome Podcast episode #30 Personality Types Taking Flight With Merrick Rosenberg.

On this latest episode of the Blossom Your Awesome Podcast I have another incredible conve... More

Hello and welcome to the blossom, your awesome podcast episode number 30. Today. On the show, we have got leading personality expert, an award winning best selling author Merrick Rosenberg. Merrick is the author of taking flight and the Chameleon. His two books about the power personality. Merrick is also the founder of team builders plus and take flight learning where he and his team have trained more than 100,000 people on using their personality to build better relationships and lead happier lives through Merrick's very own reimagined approach to personality styles. So you are either an eagle parrot dove or an owl.

Which type of bird are you? We are going to find out. I am so honored and delighted to have mary care. Thank you so much. Welcome to the show. Thank you. So you've been looking forward to it. I am so excited to have you here and learn all about your expertise. Um so now why don't we get started with your background and then how you got into this line of work? Sure, Well it all began, I was working and I had this moment of awakening where I realized what a great thing it would be to be able to create an amazing culture for people and their organizations and teach people about themselves and went back and got an MBA and organizational behavior and started a team building company. And it didn't take long to discover that You know, personality clashes are a big part of conflict and organization. So learned about personality and personality styles way back in 1994 and just have been teaching people about themselves ever since.

Wow Now let me ask you, were you kind of always just like connecting with people or learning about people as far as you can remember, Was that always a part of you? Absolutely. I think I was always about just, you know, in every organization I was ever in whether it was a club in high school or in college about how people are leading and what kind of environment you're creating, this fun, people enjoy it. And so it was a very natural extension to create a team building company where you talk about creating a great culture where people can can love what they do and also be very successful. Mm hmm. And now let me ask you. So were there moments leading up to this where you had jobs and you're thinking okay, like I could do a better job leading this organization. I mean, did you have those moments? I I did. I actually discovered team building while I was in college back in grad school actually and and I was like, wait a minute.

You could get paid to build teams and and teach people how to work together. So I went and got a job at a team building company. There were only about a half a dozen in the United States at that point. And it did not take me long to realize that this was one of the most dysfunctional group of groups of people had ever seen, and I'm like, wait a minute, if they can be this dysfunctional as a team building company, uh, you know, this is this is not a good thing. So it made it inspired me to go out and start my own business because I felt like, you know, they are incredibly dysfunctional and yet quite successful. I could do better than that. So that experience actually inspired me to go out and start my own business. Oh, wow, that is awesome. Now tell me, and we're going to get into this. But so how, you know, with different personality types, is it possible to build a successful empowered team with a bunch of type A's? Oh, absolutely. It's really about understanding each other's style and and being able to tap into the strength of the people on your team?

I mean, it's it's about respecting people and valuing people for who they are, but it's sometimes it's about recognizing that you may have some gaps in terms of what you need from a personality perspective and you've got to seek that out in others. Okay, and then on a personal level, because I'm assuming that this, you know what you're teaching, we can apply this to our own personal, you know, relationships, right? So how do we find those gaps if we're struggling with somebody, how do we learn to kind of acknowledge, wait, okay, this is something's missing here. Well, the first thing is to understand, I've taken the four styles for personality styles and created a system that's very easy to remember and, and and apply. And so I'll show you how you would use that and you could use that whether it's at home or at work. And so I took what has been an alphabet soup of letters and tried to make it more visual. So I'll give you the four styles and you can see if you can, you can see how these would apply in the team perspective. You've got eagles and eagles are confident, are assertive and take charge and they want to win and their direct and you've got parrots, you picture parrots, they're talkative, they're fun, they're social, they just want everybody to be happy and having fun.

We've got doves who want everyone to get along. They're very compassionate and soft spoken and harmonious and they're good listeners, very empathetic. And then you've got owls that are logical and analytical and detail oriented. And so, you know, if you have those type A people tend to be the eagles and parents, their fast paced things are moving, they like action, their decisive and spontaneous. Whereas the type B people are owls and doves and more laid back there more calm, they're more relaxed, They're good listeners. And so it's really about understanding who you are and who the other people are on your team or maybe in your personal relationships, whether it's a spouse or Children, it's understanding yourself and understanding them, understanding what they need. And now do you find, I would imagine this to be the case, but you um confirm this for me, Do you find that people are not clear on what personality type they are?

You know, it's funny, people are very accurate in terms of identifying their style because they can take an assessment. They can figure out their style and people usually are pretty darn accurate in terms of figuring out which one of those birds styles they are and we're all a combination of all four. I'm apparent eagle, so you could be a combination. Um but they're, they're incredibly inaccurate in terms of understanding how effective they are. You know, I always, I love asking an audience raise your hand if you're in the top 25%ile of performers in your organization, You can imagine pretty much everybody raises their hand, which of course tells me that unless I've only ever met the top 25% people are very inaccurate in terms of identifying how effective they are, but they're surprisingly accurate in terms of identifying their personality style. Okay, that's really, I find that interesting, but wow, that's amazing to know now, of course I have to ask you Merrick because you are the ceo of one of the fastest growing companies, what personality type are you.

So mine is the parrot, which is very outgoing and talkative, which is why I love to be on stage and interacting with audiences. But also the eagle which drives the business side of me founding an organization and growing a company and helping people to learn and grow. So those are my two core styles. But you can imagine I there's an expression you have to staff your weakness. So I surround myself with with owls and doves to make sure that we are paying attention to the culture. Which is what doves do. Making sure that we are are doing things accurately. Which is what owls bring the process. So a good leader will make sure that they they staff their weakness and they fill in for those gaps around them. Mm I love that. And God if we could just do this in life like if we could pick and choose our owls and parents and doves. Right. Well we can, I mean we do this. And even in our personal relationships, I mean if you think about our spouses, there's an expression opposites attract and and and we are are so consistently drawn to our opposite.

If you think about from a personality perspective, eagles and doves tend to be married most often. And and parrots and owls because it's like we think they completely there. My other half like yin and yang And so so we are often drawn to people who are different from us because they bring something else to the relationship. Mm hmm Now tell me with the team building. So how does that? Um walk us through that process to kind of get that perfect team all in alignment and all to kind of see it with the same eyes or the same goal. Sure. Well we might think that the best possible team is the team that has a little of every style. And and to a degree there is some truth to that. That if if you have that diversity there's power in the fact that people think differently. But what's really important is just recognizing that we each bring something else to the equation.

And in the most effective teams, they honor people's styles and respect people for who they are. They value the differences. They tap into people's strengths and and maybe you have a team that has one or two styles because that's what they do. If it's a sales team, maybe you have a lot of those parrot eagles. If you have a group of nurses, I tend to see lots of doves. You know owls are often the that logical analytical style. That's in I. T. Or finance or eagles. I sometimes work in hospitals. Eagle doctors and and doves who are the nurses. And and if it's just a matter of taking that team and recognizing that each of us brings something different to the team and that we have to value that. As opposed to judging people because they're different than we are or who would approach problems differently than we would. Let's respect people who are different and actually seek that out because they're going to add to the team not to not detract from it. Mm mm mm mm I love that.

Now tell me so, you know, because we hear this thing like people can't change now in relation to personality. How is that? Is that true or false? Well, our styles absolutely do change over time. I work with just as many people who say, they look at the graph and they say to me, Wow, this is exactly what I would have been when I was 15 years old as I have just as many people who say I am so different now than I was even five years ago and a lot of times the role that we're in in our life situation. It brings out certain traits and the more you display a behavior, the more hardwire it becomes and the more your style actually does change. So it is the belief that our personality is just fixed. We are, who we are really isn't true. We, you know, if that was true, there wouldn't be such a thing as maturity, right? We mature, we grow we learn and sometimes that changes how we see the world and how we act in it Now.

How about some actionable tips for somebody who has some traits to their personality that they don't love or they want to enhance or you know, let go of or do better in some way, But there's two core things that I would tell people. One is don't impose your style on the people around you. So a lot of times what happens is we think, well, this is how I like it. This is how they would like it. So you have an owl who provides you with a tremendous amount of detail. If it's at work, they give you all the specifics of exactly how they want you to do a project. If it's at home, it could be a spouse that tells you exactly what to do and how to do it and you in either place, you may feel micromanaged, like you have no freedom, especially if you're a parent who just wants to be given the goal and said, I'll figure it out. Let me do it how I want to do it, I'll make it happen. So we have to be careful that we were not imposing how we would do things on other people.

The inverse of that would be a parrot who provides very little detail talks to an owl who wants a tremendous amount of information and just says, here's the goal, go for it. That's not treating the owl the way they need to be treated. So the first thing I would say is make sure you're not imposing your style on others and and the second one is, is to don't overuse your strengths. You know, if you take your strengths and you overuse them, your strength becomes a weakness. If you're an eagle, you're directness can become blunt and insensitive. If you're a parrot, your optimism becomes unrealistic for an owl, your logic, your detail orientation can become perfectionism and you become very critical, you're a dove, even imposing too much caring and compassion and become smothering. And so the key to using our style is to use the strength, but don't over use that strength to the point where you push it into the red zone and now it no longer serves you. So those are the two big things that often share with audiences and in my books, it's don't impose your style on others and also don't overuse your style use it?

Well, mm, I love that. That was so um just beautifully put because there's really those extremes and um thank you for that. It was so clear and descriptive and I love your eagle parent owl dove um that really kind of lays it out there. Can you see your style? Because you think about the styles, I'll show you how, how, you know, a lot of times we can just look at them, even just knowing them for a short time. Like what do you think your style would be? As you hear you hear about the four birds, Oh my God, I don't know, I would have to, I feel like I'm a little of everything, but that's just me wanting to have credit for everything. All the good, there is what I refer to as the chameleon and that's really the goal. The goal is to, to be so flexible and adaptable that you do what you need to do in that moment. So when you need to be direct, you put the eagle at them. When you need to be empathetic, you put on the dove hat when you need to make sure you're doing things accurately and there's quality in the work you do.

You've got to be the owl when you need to, you know, be enthusiastic and motivational and optimistic and upbeat you put on the paragraph. So, so we really do need all of them. And ultimately the, it's what I talked about all the time is striving to be the chameleon so that you have the ability to just flex to whatever the person you're talking to needs or the situation needs. So that is the goal be the chameleon. Mm hmm. And I'm not saying I am, but I, you know, could see that I have some of those traits but I would have to think about this deeper. But I think that's so beautiful. Your philosophy. You know, the fact that it's not fixed, right? It's not just okay, you're this or you're that and allowing people to understand that. Hey, yeah, you can be all of it. You can be all of these things and what happens is whatever is your natural style. Because we have like one or two which are a little easier for us. They feed us. It's like it feeds your soul.

And when you are in that mode, it's easy when you're working out of your natural style, it takes energy. You know when you talk about just releasing your awesomeness to the world, I always tell people you have to be who you are that when you're using your style, it will feed you all day long if you're that parrot for me when I'm out on stage, I it energizes me. I could, I could stand up there all day and talk to people and then get off stage and talk to more people. Whereas an owl that might exhaust them. But what exhausts me is spending my days looking at spreadsheets and data. But an owl might say, look, I love the fact that I can work with complexity and analyze information and make data driven decisions. And at the end of the day, the owl goes home and they feel great. And so, so it's, you talk about just releasing that, you know, that awesomeness to the world. How do you do it? You've got to be using your strengths when you play to your strengths all day. It's, it's simple. It's like it feeds you and it, it motivates you.

You could do it without taking energy from you. But rather it will feed energy to you. Mm hmm. Now Merrick. Let me ask you because you're just um So inspired. I can just, you know feel it inherit. And there's just so much passion Hair. And um what do you do? What are you doing for yourself on a soul level? Is there a routine, What are you doing that just kind of feel inspired day in and day out. But there really are a few things. I mean one I don't feel like my job is work. So even just, you know, spending time writing and speaking about the birds feeds me. And so I, you know, I said if you enjoy your job, you don't have to work a day in your life. I really feel that. But on a, on a personal level you have to ground yourself and I lose myself wherever I travel. I pop into a yoga studio and I'm just me on the mat. In that meditative space that just the outside world disappears.

And it's just very grounding and centering. I think everybody needs to find that for themselves. A place that just re centers you? Re ground too. And I love the fact that I, when I'm home I can do yoga but I can also poppin anywhere I travel and wherever I'm speaking. I find somewhere to go. Mm hmm. And now what is this like for you on a personal level is this kind of the ultimate fulfillment to get this feedback and know that you're inspiring. All of these people. You know, what's funny is that I I tend to live in the corporate world. I speak at conferences around the country and around the world. But it's mostly for companies that bring me in. But but what I absolutely love is that I probably get more emails and letters and comments and linkedin or twitter or facebook and social media about how this has changed their marriage or the relationship with a son or a daughter. And and that amazes me that that even though I may often be talking about how to apply your personality and tap into your strengths in the workplace, people are bringing it into their personal lives and it's making a difference for them.

I mean, and how great is that to have people say it's changed my relationship with my daughter or my spouse. I mean, that's just fantastic to be able to look back at your career and No, you've had those moments. Is it? It's a great thing. Mm wow. That is awesome now. And I think, you know, there's an aspect of it obviously because your philosophy, it's so human, right? You're saying, okay, the dove is compassionate and empathetic and you know, the owl is inquisitive and you don't want to kind of overstep your talents and be mindful of others. So you're kind of teaching that in the workplace, which I think is just so powerful and so amazing because we're never really taught to do that in corporate situations. Absolutely. And in fact, if there's one statement I hear more than any other, it's I wish I knew this before. And and it's filled with sentences like I wish I knew this before I got married. I wish I knew this before I became a ceo or a manager or started working or I wish I knew this when I was younger.

It's what inspired me throughout the pandemic. I was like, I'm going to come out of this with something positive. And I wrote a Children's book called Which Bird are you To help Children understand their style because we can bring this to Children. How amazing would that be? I taught this to my kids when they were six years old and they get it, they could meet somebody and in seconds say to me that person is a parish or that is an owl in seconds and it's incredible. So I I love the idea of just bringing it to, to to Children to that that younger generations so that they don't have to wait until they get into a company to learn this. They learn it about themselves earlier. Mm I love that. And I think it's so beautiful that it's really your teaching. You know, it's not judgment. It's awareness around, you know, those were surrounded around how to kind of get the most out of it and have the awareness of what feeds and nurtures this person, that's right. And when you when you get rid of judgment, when you get rid of anything, it always gets replaced with something else.

And I say that all the time. Look, the idea here is that we're removing judgment and what we're replacing it with is accepting others and valuing the fact that we're different. So instead of judging that were different. Let's look at each other and value the fact that you bring something else and and the fact that you think differently. How great is that? Because you're going to add something else to the equation that I didn't have if I just had people around me that thought like me and honestly, I don't need all the people around me. I need people who are going to share different perspectives. And it's the diversity of thought of of style and personality that that really creates that whole team and And that whole relationship Because you're adding something new. Mm hmm. Now everyone has one of these or two of these. And I hope not more than two of these. But I know at least one difficult personality type. Whether it's in the workplace or you know, friends and family, whatever.

That may be. What is that powerful guidance you can give us to kind of begin to deal with a difficult personality type. Well, the first thing I would say is that that usually whatever is pressing your buttons isn't about you that that everybody is having a battle that they're dealing with and you don't know what they're going through. So first of all, let's let's take a step back and not judge them for a moment. And the reality is when when you remove that, this isn't about me, it removes the sting and the personal nous. So the eagle who's in overuse if they're a little too blunt and direct, that's really not about you. That's just about them over using their style. Or even the dove who is smothering and maybe kind of codependent like feels they need to do everything for you that really isn't about you. It's not that they don't trust you. It's really it tells you about them. So once you remove that, that component of, you know the way they act isn't about me.

So I'm not going to allow them to have the power to determine my emotional state. Like I'm I'm not going to give them the ability to upset me. So let's just understand that you know what? Maybe they're they're they're fighting this battle and it's not yours to fight and don't internalize it and don't let them prevent you mm. I love that. I love that. I think um that is awesome because we just it's so easy to just take it personally, you know, right? Absolutely, and we do and then we internalize it thinking it's about us and and then now we're in conflict and there's drama, but when you remove all that judgment, the drama goes away and now, you know, imposing our personality on others. How can we do less of that? Well, I I think the first thing is you have to understand two things. You have to understand who you are and then you have to be able to read them quickly. So it's the most self aware people are the most successful people and they are successful because when you understand your natural strengths, you recognize when you're using them and when you're over using and when you can read other people, you recognize what they need and so you can identify that I shouldn't be imposing my style on them if I'm if I'm an eagle and I'm very direct and I recognize that in myself and then I could read that someone else is a dove.

Well, I can't be that blunt and direct with the dove where I might offend them. And so I have to not only understand that I'm an eagle, but I also have to recognize that you're a dove and I need to treat you how you want to be treated. So there's both the self awareness and that other awareness that you have to cultivate so that you're not treating people the way you want to be treated, but rather you're treating them the way they want to be treated, wow. Now, you know, I just I think this is so cool, Merrick that you know, so much kind of leadership stuff and things we read, it's about building yourself up, right? It's a it's very kind of self focused, Me me me where this approach is yes honoring and recognizing your own traits but your having that deeper awareness around what's what other people, what their traits are. Right. I think this is true and most people take personality assessments.

They're very self focused. It's only about self awareness but which is great. I mean some of the most self aware people are the most successful. I said that a few minutes ago but but the fact is that we need to also cultivate that sense of what the people around us need. That's how you really use that knowledge. It's not just about who are you, It's also about who are they? And it's funny even in the kid's book, even in which birds are you? I integrated that in the Children are not only going to learn about their own style, but they're going to learn about the people around them and how to treat people the way they need to be treated, which is A skill set we all need, whether it's two or eight years old or 80, we need to know how to how to treat the people around us so that we can build strong relationships that are healthy and long lasting and by by doing this by treating them the way they need to be treated people like those people, they like to be be honored of who for who they are. So it's just it's really so simple if we just have to understand our style, understand who we're talking to and flex to what they need.

Mm hmm. And I think it's so cool that you're doing this for adults because we so many people just kind of grow up and forget all about everyone else. But I think that's amazing. Um I love that. Now tell me in a, you know, team building situation, what is the guidance you have? You know, hypothetical scenario? I'm putting together a team and I have three too many Eagles or something. Right? So how do I get everyone to kind of jive and work together? The key is to understand two things. One who's in the room. In other words, what is the makeup of this team? Do we have a lot of one style but we also have to ask ourselves who's not in the room, Are we missing one style. So in other words, if you look at a team and you said, all right, we're missing the owl. Okay. We're gonna need to make sure we we ask questions a lot of questions before we just say, let's do it. We need to make sure we've evaluated everything and thought everything through.

Or maybe you're missing the parrot? Maybe we have great ideas. But do we know how to promote them and get people excited about them. Or maybe we have, as you said, a lot of Eagles, you have to be careful that you don't go from idea to implementation in 2.3 seconds. They might say sounds good. Let's do it. And so if you understand that you have a lot of one style or you're missing one style, then you make sure that those strengths don't become overuse eagles making rash reckless decisions because there's just too many of them. Or you make sure that you're not under using one of the styles because it's just not in the room and nobody has that voice. So, and you're, you're forming a team. It's all about understanding who's there. But also who's not there. And is there an abundance of that one style? That means there may be an abundance of that energy. So you just have to take a look at who's in the room and try to get a sense of of what you need to do and what the potential blind spots because there may be people missing. Mm hmm. And now tell me Merrick, what is next for you?

What are you working on any other books? Um, I know you have your two books taking flight and the chameleon or it's actually three books with the Children's book. Right. I actually have a 4th one which is called personality wins. Which teaches people about how personality plays out in terms of presidential elections, which is kind of was a fun pet project for me to understand how, how we vote based on personality. We think we vote based on party and platform, but personality wins and it keeps winning all the time. So that, that, that was a fun one. But, but what's next for me is is really bringing personality styles, not just adults but to Children into school systems with created a curriculum for Children and students for schools. We created a Children's profile, uh, where Children can figure out which bird they are. I've written the Children's books. So what's really next is is not just bringing it to adults, but it's also bringing it to kids and and bring it to kids in school so they can learn it at a young age.

I love that. That is so amazing. I'm going to have to go out and get your Children's book for some kids. I think adults would enjoy it too. I think, I think if we haven't learned these lessons as adults, I think we may find adults reading it to Children. It's, it's for about ages 8-12 or so, but younger. I think adults could read it to kids who are a little younger, but I have a feeling that while the adults are reading it, they're probably going to be absorbing the styles too. So I think, I think it'll be good for parents as well as Children. Oh, that is awesome. Um, now tell me in closing some, what is your hope or message or wisdom you would like to leave us with? It's really just to shine the light of your style but just don't shine it so brightly that you you blind the other people around you. You have to let them shine their light to and you do that by using your strengths and allowing others to share to share their strengths of the world. Mm I love that.

Oh my God, that was so amazing. Thank you so much. You have been so awesome and so insightful. Thank you. Well, thank you for having me. Thank you. Mm hmm. Mhm. Mhm, mm hmm.

Blossom Your Awesome Podcast #30 - Personality Types | Taking Flight With Merrick Rosenberg
Blossom Your Awesome Podcast #30 - Personality Types | Taking Flight With Merrick Rosenberg
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