Communication Success

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Communication Success with Different Personality Types

How to communicate effectively with different personality types

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“The secret to success is to understand the point of view of others."  -Henry Ford

What is human behavior? In what ways are we similar and different? How can we successfully communicate with one-another?

My new reference guide “Communication Success with Four Personality Types” is an interpretation of some of the most popular personality tests used by organizations in hiring, professional development, and performance evaluation. The purpose of the reference guide is to present an overview of four major personality types, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and provide information on how to communicate more effectively with each type as family, friends, colleagues, manager, and customers.

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The four personality types are: The Helpful Nurturers, the Creative Idealists, the Cerebral Realists, and the Strategic Directors. Most of us have a dominant personality type, with one or two secondary types. These traits can change and evolve over time*.

Each of the four personality types also has a higher and a lower maturity version. While the higher maturity version of each type generally succeeds in life, both personally and professionally, the lower maturity version typically suffers from specific problems.

Here are some of the most dominant traits of each type:

The Helpful Nurturers tend to be “nice”, supportive, sensitive, and friendly.

The Creative Idealists tend to be energetic, motivating, persuasive, and fun.

The Cerebral Realists tend to be detail oriented, task driven, analytical, and matter of fact.

The Strategic Directors tend to be powerful, achievement conscious, control oriented, and productive.

Below is a description of the Helpful Nurturer personality type. For more information on the four personality types, download free excerpt of my reference guide (click on title): “Communication Success with Four Personality Types.”

Common Professions: People-oriented and service professions, such as nursing, counseling, social work, K-6 education, executive assistant, and customer service.

Traits: Sociable. Value interpersonal relationships. Subjective decision-making. Conduct often based on values and intuition. Emotion oriented. Persuasive. Take care of others. Often embrace supportive roles. Romantic introvert.

Challenges: Personal feelings can get in the way of objectivity. Can be too Passive. Can’t say “No”. Conflict avoidant. Take care of self last. Sacrifice for others at expense of self.

Relationship with Other Types:

Idealist positive: Admire Idealists. Want energy to rub-off. Want to be part of the fun.

Idealist negative: Overwhelmed by high energy of Idealist.

Realist positive: Glad capable Realist can handle details of task. 

Realist negative: Think of Realist as cerebral, cold and impersonal; lacking human sensitivity and consideration. 

Director positive: Feel supported by “people person” Director.

Director negative: Find Director intimidating and domineering. 

Core Needs: Nurturers want to be liked, accepted, understood, and loved.

Core FearNurturers fear rejection. For some Nurturers, rejection can feel like emotional death.

Validating Core Needs: As genuine and appropriate, remind Nurturers on a regular basis how much you appreciate who they are, what they do, and the quality of the relationship.

In Summary: For a Nurturer, a day without a smile, kind words, and friendliness from others is like a flower without air, sunshine, and water. The flower will wilt, just as the Nurturer’s heart will grieve.  Love and appreciate a Nurturer, and the Nurturer will love and appreciate you back ten-fold.


Communication Success with Nurturers

Key: Validate Nurturers’ Core Needs—to be liked, accepted, and loved. In daily interactions, stress acceptance of person and quality of relationship.

Consider applying the following if you’re genuine in your intentions: 

With Nurturer Partner, Family Members or Friends:

  • Emphasize the importance of relationship. Remind them often how much you value them in your life, and how important the relationship is to you. 
  • Be sensitive to unspoken needs. Don’t wait for Nurturers to ask for help, as they rarely will.  When appropriate, see what they need, and help them without asking. Nurturers can be very touched by this, for they feel they have found that rare individual who understands at least some of their often unspoken needs.
  • Show appreciation, offer tender loving care. Do or give something special to pamper them.  For they tend not to pamper themselves, and will really appreciate the gesture when someone thinks of them. 

As Co-Workers:

  • Show appreciation for all that they do for others. 
  • Mention how much you appreciate them as colleagues.
  • Ask if they feel okay about their role in a group or task. 

As Your Manager:

  • Meet regularly to check-in, maintain good working relationship.
  • As appropriate, converse about selected harmless, personal information.
  • Show appreciation for support.
  • Compliment both publically and especially privately on what they do for you, others, and the organization.
  • Validate feelings before discussing important subjects and tasks.

As Customers:

  • Let them know you value your relationship with them as customers.
  • Stress how your products or service can help the ones they love, and contribute to their happiness and/or well-being.
  • Emphasize personal, on-on-one service. Mention how they’ll be taken good care of as your special customers.

In Problem Solving and Relationship Challenges:

  • Separate the person from the issue. When challenges arise, stress that the issue does not affect the quality of the relationship. 
  • Stress security of the relationship before discussing issues. Let them know that you value them in the relationship, and at the same time the issue needs to be resolved. 
  • Let them know how much you appreciate their willingness to problem-solve with you.
  • Thank them warmly and show appreciation when they show support, compromise, or sacrifice. Be sure to let them know you notice their efforts.

For more information on the four personality types, download free excerpt of my reference guide (click on title or cover): “Communication Success with Four Personality Types.”

Also available:How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People,” "The 7 Keys to Life Success," "Wealth Building Attitudes, Values, and Habits," "Branding Your Career Like Steve Jobs — Seven Essential Lessons in Work Success," “Successful Office Networking,” and “Seven Predictors of Long-Term Relationship Success.”


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Preston Ni, M.S.B.A. is available as a presenter, workshop facilitator, and private coach. For more information, write to, or visit

© 2014 by Preston C. Ni. All rights reserved worldwide.


*It's important to note that this material is for reference only. There’s always a risk with personality sorters of putting people in boxes. Even when a person clearly matches one personality type, not everything written about the type may match the person. We’re far too complicated to fit neatly into broad categories.

Preston Ni is a professor, presenter, private coach, and author of Communication Success with Four Personality Types and How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People. more...

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