Why Study Personality Types?

Personality Notes for NLPCT Canada Enneagram Training, 

 Posted by Barb Luedecke Ph.D., C. Psych., CMC,

Enneagram Personality System Instructor for NLP Canada Training Inc.

Coaching with the Enneagram, April 10& 11, 2010

Personality: What is it? And why should/would you want to know about it…in yourself and others? What will a knowledge of personality do for you?

What is “personality”?

From wilderdom.com on the web, I found several definitions of personality.  These definitions go all the way from:

“the entire organisation of a human being at any stage of development” (Smith & Vetter,1982,p.5) through to

“a dynamic organisation, inside the person of psychophysical systems that create a person’s characteristic patterns of behaviour, thought and feelings” (Carver & Scheier, 2000, p.5)

These are fancy words and make sense in an academic way, but what exactly could you gain if you were to know more about “personality”? 

Another web-site (businessball.com) seems to me to provide some pretty good and practical answers, as follow:

“Motivation, management, communications, relationships - focused on yourself or others - are a lot more effective when you understand yourself, and the people you seek to motivate or manage or develop or help. 

Understanding personality is also the key to unlocking elusive human qualities, for example leadership, charisma, and empathy, whether your purpose is self-development, helping others, or any other field relating to people and how we behave. 

The personality theories that underpin personality tests and personality quizzes are surprisingly easy to understand at a basic level…. This knowledge helps to develop self-awareness and also to help others to achieve greater self-awareness and development too. 

Developing understanding of personality typology, personality traits, thinking styles and learning styles theories is also a very useful way to improve your knowledge of motivation and behaviour of self and others, in the workplace and beyond. 

Understanding personality types is helpful for appreciating that while people are different, everyone has a value, and special strengths and qualities, and that everyone should be treated with care and respect... The relevance of love and spirituality - especially at work - is easier to see and explain when we understand that differences in people are usually personality-based. People very rarely set out to cause upset - they just behave differently because they are different. 

Personality theory and tests are useful also for management, recruitment, selection, training and teaching…”

And further:

Understanding personality - of your self and others - is central to motivation. Different people have different strengths and needs. You do too. 

The more you understand about personality, the better able you are to judge what motivates people - and yourself. 

The more you understand about your own personality and that of other people, the better able you are to realise how others perceive you, and how they react to your own personality and style. “

So, the real question may be…Do you want to know more about how you and the others in your life operate, whether at work, social gatherings, or at home? 

With that knowledge you will:

• more efficiently and effectively communicate, motivate and/or interact with them to

• better accomplish the ends and purposes of these interactions, while at the same time

• reduce opportunities and instances of mis-communication and conflict?

If any of the above resonates with you, grabs your attention and interest, or shows you a clearer picture of how you may enhance your way of operating in the world, you may wish to explore our NLPCT course on the Enneagram system of personality.

What it will do for you

Application of the knowledge and awareness of the Enneagram system of personality has been credited with helping save and/or enhance many different types of relationships and situations, including:

• work (dealing better with boss/subordinate(s), team(s), and/or customers/clients and/or

• individual/personal (dealing better with shyness, procrastination, time management, conflict, and/or stress) 

• family (dealing better with spouses/partners, siblings,  children, teenagers, and/or more distant relatives)


Smith, Barry D.; Vetter, Harold J. (1982). (Eds.), Theoretical approaches to personality. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Carver, C,S., & Scheier, M.F. (2000). Perspectives on personality (4th ed.) Boston: Allyn and Bacon.