I'll start this off very directly: I am a lion... but I'm also an owl, a peacock, and a koala.
This means that, among other characteristics, I love to be in charge, I'm good at finding practical solutions, and I'm pretty independent and self-sufficient. Funnily enough, a friend of mine gave me a toy lion for Christmas and told me this very thing, and my high school mascot was a lion, though this information is probably not at all related to the personality matrix beyond a fun coincidence.
Last week, I blogged about discovering who I am through my DNA (no surprises there). This week, I'm taking my self-discovery/self-acknowledgement in a different direction: What does my personality type say about my leadership style? While working as a social media coordinator for the NSLC at Rice University, I had the chance to get to know Mr. A'ric Jackson, leadership extraordinaire and founder of Generation Leadership, "a comprehensive, on-site training program where students understand and engage their unique leadership style." Many of his lessons have truly changed my perspective and how I interact with others in my daily life, starting back on day 1.
A'ric took the staff and all of the students through the personality matrix, which is explained a little more in this video:
With the staff, A'ric explained the definitions of each personality type and had us go with our gut feeling to decide which matrix point we fit in. (With the students, he did an activity, which you can learn about from the videos I made in Session 1 and Session 2 at Rice University.)
Just in case you didn't catch the descriptions in the video, here are some of the main characteristics of each animal/personality type, as A'ric explains them. They are very similar to the descriptions provided by the textbook I used to take this same test earlier today.
Thinker (Owl): Owls tend to analyze in their head a lot and process information internally. They are non-procrastinators and like to be prepared. Quality over quantity is their motto, and they like to be detailed and accurate. Owls are problem solvers, and tend to be task-oriented over people-oriented.
Director (Lion): Lions can be trusted to accomplish a task on time, and are very goal driven. If they can get a task done now, they’ll get it done now. They’re honest to a fault, and often find it easier to apologize than ask for permission.
Socializer (Peacock): Peacocks are the socializers of the groups – they’re the party people, and are often found where the action is. They are excellent when they themselves are excited and are fantastic at getting other excited. Peacocks are alliance builders and can be very persuasive. They’re idea people, so dreams and brainstorming is their game.
Relater (Koala): Koalas are warm and nurturing. They are people oriented and don’t want anyone to have his or her feelings hurt. Koalas are excellent listeners, are relaxed and approachable, and their strong network of close friends makes them great team players.
I held off on posting this blog for a couple days in part because I was traveling from Houston to Washington D.C. and getting settled in at Georgetown University on Saturday, in part because I didn't know what I wanted to write. I am (sort of) my own staff as the sole social media coordinator for the NSLC at Georgetown, so I'm not super involved in staff training here, at least not yet. I did, however, join the office staff to take the personality matrix test in the leadership handbook that students receive here, and got more specific.
Until today, I hadn't been officially "tested" or "sorted." When A'ric gave us these descriptions, I was between lion and owl but chose lion because I had that gut feeling. After doing the textbook version of the personality matrix, that moment of hesitation makes complete sense.
According to the textbook version of the personality matrix, I am 33% lion, 25% owl, 21% koala, and 21% peacock. My gut was right.
I don't agree with all of the characteristics provided by the text, among them that lions are typically not afraid of conflict (I hate conflict) and that they have little need for friends (I love my alone time more than most, but I'm still very much a people person)... but for the most part, the characteristics listed describe me to a T.
However, this personality matrix barely scratches the surface of who I am. It doesn't tell you anything about my incessant coffee/tea intake, or the fact that I love to read. It doesn't say that I am somehow practically incapable of sleeping past 8 a.m., and it doesn't explain why I'm relatively good at picking up languages. It tells me that I like to be in charge and that I'm a very organized and practical person, but if you look at my room (either at home or here in Georgetown, where I've been for just over 24 hours) I look like an extremely disorganized and scatterbrained person. It's all relative, I suppose.
Furthermore, something to remember about this (and any other personality test) is that even if your results technically place you in one category or another, you are not confined to that category. Just like you are not confined to acting a certain way or supporting a certain team or believing in a certain religion's God/whoever. You are not defined by what others, or even this personality matrix, says about you. You are defined by what you think about yourself and how you interact with other people and with the world as a whole.
So do you, and do you unapologetically. Take what you now know about the personality matrix and decide which animal most represents your personality and leadership style, and figure out how you can best work with others. If you recognize that someone is a koala, you would probably want to approach them differently than you would a lion. This is just another tool that we can all use to facilitate better communication and interaction with the people in our lives and with people we meet around the globe.
If you're interested in learning more, reach out via comment or email and I'll be happy to share the personality matrix test I used with you!