EXPERT PERSONALITY TYPE
Key personality traits of the EXPERT type
- Direct Communication
- Analytical Skills
- Sense of Justice
- Critical Approach
- Logical Thinking
- Technical Skills
General characteristics of the EXPERT type
We have arrived to the last of the four personality types, which is the rarest, according to our analyses. In the case of the Expert type, we usually have to use superlatives when talking about either its positive or negative traits.
Experts strive for perfection and precision throughout their lives. Their fundamental life goal is having everything absolutely well organised. This focus on perfection will easily upset everyone around them, as they are just as much subject to these expectations as the Experts themselves. If the Experts discover an imperfection – either within themselves, or in others – they will be sure to announce it, and in a spiteful, grotesque, and teasing way. This is why they are not the most popular characters. Who needs these constant mildly, or depending on the given character, strongly sarcastic comments? They are the ones who will definitely correct every minor grammatical mistake, even when talking with a friend. They question everything that is not based on facts or logical conclusions. And they dismiss emotions; they regard them as useless garnishing that clouds people’s judgment.
Their lives are all about gathering, organising, and analysing information. They choose a narrow field for themselves to specialise in and invest an incredible amount of energy into becoming ‘a master of one trade’. They are by no means polymaths, and they do not agree with the concept anyway. For them, it is critical that people should have an absolute knowledge of their professional area. More importantly, they only share their ideas on topics over which they have a comprehensive outlook, so most of the time they only express their opinions within their own profession. They take it poorly if others do not behave in the same way, and, at least based on the proportion of personality types, others usually don’t work like this. Situations like this might lead to cut-throat conflicts in their private and professional lives.
For them, hierarchic, ‘trumped-up’ positions mean nothing at all. In their case the ‘the best professional is king’ principle applies. Because of this, they can be cruelly bold and sincere even with their superiors or families, which, let’s admit, is hard to tolerate.
They live in the world of numbers and facts. Their statements are always based on logically built-up facts, and they cannot accept any other approach from others, either. They are usually good with numbers. Not surprisingly, they are most often ‘found’ in the IT and financial sectors. They don’t try to climb the corporate ladder; for them, career advancement means advancement in professional knowledge.
Expert types can be irritating in their private lives as well as in the business world. Experts will lose a lot of connections due to their constant remarks, researching and investigating everything others say, and revealing everyone’s weaknesses and mistakes. It is not an accident that they don’t have many friends or colleagues that they can stay on good terms with, but this feels just right to them. But it is also true that Expert-type relationships are much deeper than the contacts of any other personality type.
Expert types have an introverted lifestyle. They are quite happy to spend their free time alone. They usually have solitary hobbies that are often closely related to their work. They don’t separate their private lives from their professions, as they enjoy their work very much, after all, this is why they chose it as their life goal. They can spend hours or even days processing and analysing a new piece of information.
As they aim for a perfectly constructed world, novelty, a new relationship, a new service, or anything unknown means a new, rather robust task for them. They don’t reject it, as a Supporter would do, but they don’t like it either, and if it was only their decision, they would never upset the perfect system they have developed with such great effort. Experts have routines that they follow rigidly. If a grocery store worked for them once, they will continue to go to the same place. If a brand works for them, they will stick to it. Expert types are the ones who buy 10 perfectly identical shirts of the same colour. If something has proved to be perfect once, changing it would be sinful.
Experts continuously train and inform themselves, but they are never satisfied. Unlike the other personality types, an Expert will never state that they know everything about a given topic. This creates a certain everlasting discontent, and if they are unable to handle it, their lives can become miserable.
Their most important feature, which is of course much appreciated in the business world, is that they gained such a professional knowledge that makes them indispensable in certain situations. The 2008 financial crisis has clearly exposed the crucial importance of this personality type, as there was no choice but to accept these unpleasant, emotionless people, as they were the ones to show the way out of the crisis. Their professional knowledge was able to help the given company to move on, and to successfully compete for new market positions in the newly rearranged markets.
Experts are cognisant. If they take an interest in something or someone, they will keep asking questions, collect information, analyse it, and give feedback on anomalies. This makes it difficult for them to build new connections. They are fundamentally mistrustful types, and they are unable to accept new things until they are empirically proven to be true. This attitude can be a serious problem in the business world, as it makes it rather difficult to sell anything to them.
Representatives of this personality type tend to be rigid, stern-faced, and their appearance is usually more serious than that of other personality types. They don’t like the ‘everybody should be happy’ attitude. They have a pessimistic tendency; they don’t try to stay on the bright side of life all the time. They are perfectly fine with the well-known, factual, and overcast environment. As they have a logical mind, they don’t tolerate it well when others don’t understand something. In these situations, they start by judging the other harshly, and then move on in a dismissive fashion, offending the other party to the core. But this doesn’t discourage them at all, as they have absolutely no intention of building or maintaining any kind of connection with uncomprehending people.
Punctuality is sacred to them. And they expect the same from others, in all circumstances. Being more than five minutes late for a meeting with a friend – and even five minutes is stretching it – is a sign of utter disrespect. And they usually do express this, and not in the friendliest way. Sometimes, of course, they themselves also make the same mistake, due to unpredictable external circumstances, but if an Expert-type leader is late for a meeting, there will be a serious reason for it.
Identifying the Expert personality type
The EXPERT’s wardrobe
Many think it is easy to describe the wardrobe of an Expert, as they don’t care about clothes at all. Well, you have to put something on because of social standards and everything, but that’s all. One mustn’t make a fuss about it. But based on our experience, the question is not that simple.
The clothing of an Expert is fundamentally ‘featureless’, which shows their utter disinterest in the topic. We couldn’t even say that their clothes are immaculately pressed, although they have to be stored in the wardrobe neatly, as hunting down a new piece of professional information is always more important that ironing your shirt. But when you have to go, you have to put something on quickly. They are more or less like an absent-minded professor, who will never give you slack, but otherwise they are distracted.
The Expert wants to fulfil the requirements of the given role or position. Thus, if they work in a sales area or a management position, the matter of clothing will come into focus because it is a professional requirement. In that case, they can no longer say that it isn’t worth the effort. Expert types can learn to present themselves adequately, in a way that is suitable for their position, just as a Ruler type does. And Experts are highly skilled at putting little pieces of information together. Sure, their way of dressing cannot be called unique, but they can deceive a lot of people. True Experts will develop their ‘own’ style by combining different clichés that they have perceived to be successful. One thing is certain: the brand of their suit, the colour of their tie, even the style of their shirt will be one that they have seen on a person respected by them. So how do we tell apart an Expert-type and a Ruler-type leader? The Expert doesn’t allow any sloppiness. Their shirts will be buttoned up to the very last button, and I simply can’t imagine a weather so hot that would make Experts roll up their sleeves! Everything about their clothes is strictly in place. So, they always wear the same clothes as the Ruler types a bit more rigidly.
Experts are also perceptive observers of their environments in their private lives. They are well-informed and try to adjust to the requirements of the modern world, provided that these fit their professional position. In a place where an Expert-type leader might run into a business partner, they will pay special attention to their ‘casual appearance’ as well. When they are no longer subject to these requirements, they return to their original self, and just quickly put on something before stepping out of the door, as their natures dictate.
The EXPERT’s work environment
The Expert type is characterised by an overly organised, rigidly clean environment. Tidiness and orderliness above all. There must not be any excess objects on the table or in the drawers. They develop the habit young that they cannot start working until there is an acceptable level of tidiness around them.
If we enter an office where the walls and the desk are empty, there are no decorations whatsoever, and in general the whole room seems to be void and bleak, then we can be sure that we are standing in the office of an Expert. The work environment of a multinational company is often confused with the Expert character. And actually, they are rooted in the same principle: no showing-off allowed. But the basic multinational environment will be gradually changed by the other personality types working in it. In the case of an Expert, this cannot happen.
An Expert-type leader will carefully compose the perfect environment for the external world. If the situation requires, it can be Ruler-style, maybe with a hint of Supporter. There is only one style that they will never accept: the Individual.
An Expert-type leader will often include ‘padded cells’ in the office environment. This is based on their own needs, but they want to give enough space for their employees to be able to think and work without disruptions. They like to create contrasting areas in the office that are physically separated from one another. They will organise the seating order with the precision of an engineer, which is reflected in the whimsical saying that if the computer calculates twelve and a half men as the most efficient number of workers, then the office will be designed to accommodate twelve and a half men!
The EXPERT’s tools
The Expert has two basic criteria when it comes to buying various tools: functionality and trust. They care about what they need and what the new device offers; ideally it doesn’t have any extra features on top of that, as the Expert doesn’t want useless garnishing. But they will always ask for the opinion of professionals that they hold in high regard before making a purchase. Their purchasing behaviour is defined by these two sets of information.
The topic of cars is usually far from the expertise of the Expert. So, in case they need to buy one, they will start gathering information on the topic without end, and then, even after they have all the facts in hand, they still don’t feel that they have enough information to make the decision. So, the final push to actually pick a model is usually administered based on the account of a close friend or a statement by an Expert that is part of their circle of friends.
But because this doesn’t count as their own decision, they will place the new purchase under meticulous scrutiny. They will surely drive any mechanic crazy, as they demand that the mechanic explain even the smallest, most common malfunction to them in detail. This whole process, as it is an uncharted territory for them, is a continuously stressful situation for them. This is the reason why most Experts, once they deem a given brand or model acceptable, will not replace until they have no other choice. Just like Supporters, they are not the favourite of the automobile market, as they like to stick to the same model to the end and get the most out of it. As long as they can use it, they don’t have to bother with replacing it, and that’s good, it means a time of peace. Not to mention that sales pitches don’t really have an effect on them, especially if they have some experience in the field already.
They always prefer brands that are all about functionality. Having a design will never convince them to spend their money, as for them, design equals a degradation of quality. The only feasible reason for a car to have a flashy design is to cover up its hidden faults in functionality. Well, one thing is certain: they are not the ideal consumers of today’s world.
While cars are not really their scene, telecommunication and IT gadgets absolutely are. They are always up to date with the innovations, new functions, of what can be expected of each model. They know which phone is merely eye-catching, and which model is truly professional but just didn’t have quality marketing. And they just love to share this knowledge in online forums and blogs, making even the biggest players in the industry tremble with fear.
The EXPERT’s free time
‘The Expert’s WHAT?!’ would be the first question of the Expert. And it’s true: private life, work, free time, and office hours tend to merge into one in the case of this personality type. This is due to the fact that their work often becomes their hobby as well, as they put all their energy into improving themselves in their chosen profession.
If for any reason they cannot have a career in what they love, and this is mostly linked to money issues, then they will follow their passion in their free time. The hobby of an Expert will usually be something involving details and precision: model building, puzzles, etc.
They are usually highly specialised people who tend to fall behind others when it comes to ‘general knowledge’, but they don’t really care about it. But they are incredibly thorough and well-informed in their fields of interest, where they are connoisseurs. This can lead to funny situations, when they know absolutely nothing about pop stars that everyone else knows, but they can recite the last three Presidents of Ghana by heart.
It is not easy to organise a free-time activity for an Expert. They get a boost from the very things that drive others crazy: looking up a research study, analysing a list, numbers, facts, facts, numbers, and that’s it. If they somehow end up at a gathering, which they try to avoid apart from a few close friends with kindred spirits, they are not social, they listen, analyse, and evaluate. Due to their dominance, they might even make a few uncalled-for remarks or comments if someone is trying to entertain the group with ‘illogical nonsense’. Conflicts develop particularly easily with Individual types.
They are extremely realistic, and they are unwilling to leave this role even during a party. They are not ‘laid-back’ characters. But if, for some reason, they do engage in organising a programme, it will have a detailed plan that is perfectly designed for the occasion – most often they will only do this for the family. The event or party will be rigid and without surprises due to being over-organised, but this is how they like it. They make lists of things to be packed for a trip to avoid unpleasant surprises. They despise vulnerable situations, for instance, when their baggage gets lost at the airport. They did everything perfectly, and so they are unable to accept that someone else’s carelessness should ruin their day. In the case of a family dinner, the relatives will be notified well in advance, the menu will be set in stone, the ingredients will be neatly stocked in the fridge, and they will even plan the games the family will be playing. Spontaneity is nothing other than risk-taking for them, which forces them to deviate from the professionally designed order of things.
Experts do not react well to unexpected events. Travelling with an Expert, we have to be prepared that if something isn’t like they imagined it would be, then they will go as far as stating who made a mistake at which point. They are not looking for a solution, only someone to blame.
The EXPERT’s communication
The Expert sticks to the ‘don’t open your mouth unless you have something worthwhile to share’ principle. And they expect the same from others. They are generally considered antisocial in the business world and at the office due to their non-communication, as they tend to bury themselves in their thoughts and their computers. They don’t have an opinion on topics that they don’t know well, as this would be unacceptable professionally. It is a typical scene when salespersons come back from a business meeting frustrated and depressed, as their beautifully structured pitch designed for interactivity didn’t work at all, the clients listened to the whole thing without a single reaction or question. Then comes the surprise in the form of an e-mail – certainly not a phone call – containing the exact name and parameters of the product the client wishes to buy.
Indeed, the Expert types will always gather information before forming an opinion or reacting in any particular way if the field in question is unknown to them. So, they listen, and do not speak. They bombard their negotiating partner with unpleasant, scrutinising questions, and do this rather harshly. This horrifies the other party and makes them feel like they are being tested. And it is right: the Expert tests, teases, and taunts. They need to get the most important information there and then: is the other party a professional or not? Can they be trusted in case of a deal? As they themselves do know much about the topic, they need a contact who is an expert of the product or service. They know no limit when it comes to testing people this way, and this makes them lose a lot of business opportunities – but, of course, they don’t mind this at all. Their communication in these cases, outside their field of expertise, is direct and negative. But the situation is entirely different when the conversation is about their own field. They can talk with people belonging to ‘their professional circle’ for hours. This might be misleading for their audience. If the Experts stands on stage at a conference to talk about their field, they can give the impression of a natural communicator, much like their Ruler- or Individual-type peers. But they reveal their Expert nature when they don’t have a leg to stand on.
Experts can be the most unpleasant characters in the name of professional accuracy. Their meeting with another personality type often ends with serious insults. There is one thing that an Expert will never tolerate in anyone: professional incompetence! If someone is trying to be smart in their field, but without adequate knowledge, they will ‘slaughter’ the conversational partner on the spot. And trust me, this expression is not exaggerating, as their goal is to never let ‘non-professionals’ deceive anyone ever again with their sugary communication. They need to advocate for this, for the sake of professional credibility. And a strong Expert will do this without hesitation. You don’t want to hear such a conversation!
This personality type, due to the reasons discussed above, primarily communicates in written form. They don’t like interactivity. They especially despise the phone, as it is not personal enough to enable a pleasant conversation with people respected by the Expert, and it is not written communication, where everything can be traced and tracked, and looked up again. This might cause problems for them, as they are almost unreachable on phone, and some personality types regard this as a personal insult.
Their written communication is stiff, factual, and logical. Their e-mails and documents don’t have highlights and sections, as what they write down must be professionally significant, there is no use to prioritise, one should read all of it. Because of this, their writing lacks structure and focus, and is difficult to follow. They themselves are not too focused, and this is reflected in their communication. They typically want to share all the details, as this is part of ‘professionalism’. Thus, their written style is usually disagreeable, detailed, and circuitous. On top of this, they tend to insist on a learnt, artificial style, which sooner or later makes their communication schematic and uninteresting. As they don’t believe in the power of emotions, their way of speaking – although they are capable of demonstrating great professional depth – is grey and unpalatable.
The EXPERTS’s decision-making process
For outsiders, this is the greatest mystery of the business world! But getting know this personality type, their decision-making mechanism and thinking are not so hard to trace. First of all, we have to make a difference between their decision-making mechanism within their field and outside of it.
Let’s start with the easier one! Within their fields, it is useless to try to influence them or make any plans to convince them. They have a perfectly set notion of the given thing, and even if they feel uncertain about one or two details, they have 3-4 trusted contacts to help them with the issue. And this is the end of the process, the decision is made. So, in this regard, they are the nightmare of the world of trade and the marketing profession. It is not unusual during negotiations that the enthusiastic salesperson doesn’t pay attention, and the client has long made the unshakable decision of buying or not buying, but they just go on and on, pushing the product, trying to convince the client, while the Expert is quietly preparing annihilating sentences.
You must have noticed that we use synonyms of ‘annihilation’ quite frequently in the description of the Expert type. We do so for a reason, as the Expert is not satisfied with seeing a ‘charlatan’ give up and walk away. They want to make sure that this person will never again even think of deceiving anyone with their skilled communication and questionable professional background knowledge.
Things get a bit more complicated when this personality type wanders into an unknown field. They hate this, but sometimes life doesn’t leave a choice for them. Well, solving the situation is not easy for them. But they will definitely prepare a roadmap for this unpleasant adventure. First, they listen and take notes. As they do not understand or know the given topic in depth, they focus on the other party to notice any logical contradictions that they might say. So, they make their decision dependent on whether or not a trust develops between the two of them. And they will never build trust on emotions; it is strictly based on objective facts. If this trust does develop, they will not consider or evaluate the product separately. So, we can safely say that the Expert type buys the contact person, not the product. And companies better be aware of this, as an Expert will stay loyal to the contact, not the company, and will follow them to any competitor.
The other pillar of their decision-making process is the analysis of information gathered from personal connections. If the Expert has a friend whom they recognise as a professional of the field of purchase, they will accept their opinion without a second thought. And they will go on to become a satisfied customer, as whatever problems may arise regarding the purchase, it must be an inevitable part of life, as their expert friend must have been right in their decision.
The most delicate situation will arise when the Expert needs a certain product or service, but the representative of the seller company blows their chance, which actually happens in 90% of the cases, and the Expert doesn’t have a professional friend to help them out – then the Expert will embark on a journey to gather information. This will delay their decision, which they might not even make in the end. They will never have enough information to feel confident enough to make the perfect decision. And the Expert accepts nothing less. If they still must make a purchase, they will almost certainly choose the wrong product or service, thus becoming a dissatisfied customer forever.
These are the facts, but let’s see how we can influence an Expert. Analyses, diagrams, statistical tables – these pave the road to success. We must accept it if we are not compatible with this type. I find it very hard to imagine a long-term Expert-Individual cooperation. In the case of all other personality types, there is always a chance for a successful partnership, but this is not true for the Expert type. They think of Individuals as unprofessional because they speak too much. Supporters give them the impression of a weak person due to the fact that they can be influenced by emotions. This makes it very difficult for these types to do business with an Expert, and even if they manage to do so, they will never gain their trust.
Keep in mind that an Expert can only be convinced by numbers. Data have to be ‘translated’ to their language. It is not enough to tell them ‘we are market leaders’. Their first question will be: ‘In what aspect?’, ‘Can you show me the figures that support this statement?’, or ‘Could you specify in which period?’. So, these traditional sales phrases are not just useless in negotiating with an Expert but are actually damaging. It is very important to note when making the first contact if they are not an expert in the given field, and there are learnable, sophisticated techniques to do this, and to make it clear that we are experts in the field. So, the required technique in a nutshell: let the client know that this is our field and we do not tolerate anyone meddling in it, as we also do not meddle in their field of expertise! If you can create this mutual respect, you are sold to the Expert.
Regardless, their decision-making process is slow, and their decisions are final. They will digest a given question for quite some time, and it is better to avoid pushy sales techniques, as these will actually push them in the wrong direction. But if they do check in after a while, they always have a clear idea of what they want. Always let them call back! An Expert will not tolerate being badgered! The communication style used with them has to be unvarnished, cold, measured, and to the point.