It will not take you long to peruse through this website and this blog and find out that I REALLY like personality insight. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know how I’m wired and how others are wired. Knowing more and more information about the people who surround me is so important to how I engage with them and love them; I’m sure it’s the same for you as well.
However, (you knew that was coming didn’t you) it is absolutely critical for me to realize the difference between knowing something “about” another person and actually “knowing” another person. Insight into somebody else’s personality type is NEVER meant to be used as a weapon against that person. It’s never meant to be used to stereotype or pigeonhole somebody into a little box that determines what we ”think” we know about them. Ian Cron, a leading expert on the Enneagram (which is, I think, the best personality tool out there) says it best:
“Just because you know somebody’s ‘type’ does not mean you know that person.”
Ian Morgan Cron
I mean sure, you can know some great things and have some great insight about somebody that will help you interact with them. But don’t think for a moment that you actually “know” them. In fact, don’t ever just slap a label on them and call it a day. Regarding the Enneagram, we should never say things like, “Well, Tony is an ‘8’ so we know that he likes conflict and that’s why people have a hard time working with him.” That’s not knowing Tony at all… ** Side note: John Crist has a hilarious video on this thought. Check it out here. You will for sure LOL!
How we should use insight
How then should we use insights that the Enneagram, DISC, and other personality types provide us with? I would submit that instead of using insight as a “weapon” to explain away another person’s bad behaviors that we would use insight as a “tool” to understanding another person’s point of view. We can use these personality insights as a gift to another person to empathize, meet them where they’re at, and help guide our interactions with them.
This means we can steer clear of phrases like: “What a ‘4’ thing to do.” Or, “Shocker that a ‘D’ on the DISC would react like that.” Let’s not go to labeling and stereotyping other people. There’s a very clear line between using insight to help you love another person and using insight to reign over another person. The knowledge we have about somebody’s personality does not mean we actually “know” them as a person. So let’s begin doing the hard work of getting to actually know one another.
At the end of the day, I want the people in my circle to know this:
I hate NOTHING about you!