Life is a process of becoming more aware of yourself and others. As you do, you become more effective at life and work. As you pay attention to those around you, you notice different types of people.
Understanding things like what drives them, how they communicate, how they contribute, what they need, and what can be their downfall, will help you as you relate to them.
In addition, it may be helpful to see examples from the Bible, key verses, and a word to remember.
Everyone is different, and we can’t pigeonhole anyone into one category. But we can use our understanding as a starting place, and let our fascination lead us. The more you understand people, the better at life and work you will be.
Here are four types of people you’ll meet. (You can download the icons at the end.)
These folks are described as performing, achieving, and executing.
They’re driven to get the job done. They go about it in different ways, but “doing the work” is paramount. They communicate around the work—clarifying expectations, refining processes, removing barriers.
They contribute by getting work done. They need time and space to work. Putting too much value on work can be their downfall. They’re earth because they get busy right away, stay productive, and have progress to show for their efforts.
- Noah, who got busy building the ark when God told him to (Genesis 5-10)
- Martha, who was doing many things for Jesus while missing the person of Jesus (Luke 10)
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Who you are in Christ is more important than what you do for Christ.
These folks are described as intellectual, pondering, and thinking.
They’re driven to think on purpose. They go about it in different ways, but “intentional thinking” is paramount. They’re known for their intellectual activity; their thinking is their work. They communicate thoughts, ideas, and solutions, asking “what if?” and “why?”
They contribute by offering their thoughts. They need time and space to think and discuss. Needing everything thought out can be their downfall. They’re wind because they take a higher view, move things along, and their effects can go unseen.
- Abigail, whose name means "intelligent" and whose strategy saved people from bloodshed (1 Samuel 25)
- Paul, who was a prolific writer, speaker, and apologist (New Testament)
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2)
Trusting God means not everything makes logical sense.
These folks are described as impacting, mobilizing, and influencing.
They’re driven to impact others. They go about it in different ways, but “making a mark” is paramount. They communicate in order to persuade, inspire, and influence others around their ideas.
They contribute by bringing clarity to situations, are self-assured, and bring decisive direction. In order to do their work, they need people to trust them. Using people without establishing authentic relationships can be their downfall. They’re fire because they incite change, spread influence, and come with heat.
- Miriam, who spoke words from God and helped to deliver the Jewish women from slavery to freedom (Exodus)
- John the Baptist, who said bold things to religious leaders despite the circumstances, which led to his death (Matthew 3)
"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men." (Philippians 2:5-7)
Leadership consists of serving people, not being served by people.
These folks are described as people-oriented, connected, and relational.
They’re driven to relate to people. They go about it in different ways, but “connecting with others” is paramount. They communicate around relationships, are comfortable with feelings, and favor authenticity.
They contribute by connecting with others. They need to establish authentic connections. Getting enmeshed in relationships can be their downfall. They’re water because they go with the flow, can reflect feelings, and are essential to life—we all need people.
- Ruth, who remained with her mother-in-law Naomi when she didn't have to (Ruth 1)
- Peter, who denied Christ because he feared people, but was restored to the ministry of "feeding sheep" or pastoring people (New Testament)
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)
Loving people starts with fearing God and wanting his will for their lives.
Like we said, we can’t pigeonhole anyone into one category. But we can use our understanding as a starting place, and let our fascination lead us. The more you understand people, the better at life and work you will be.
- Which type(s) do you most relate to?
- How about those whom you live or work with most closely?
- How can knowing this help you?
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