THE INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITY TYPE
Key personality traits of the INDIVIDUAL type
- Need for Uniqueness
- Need for Attention
- Need to Stand Out
- Communication Skills
- Motivational Skills
- Need for Popularity
- Willingness to Spend
- Openness to New Ideas
- Need for Change
General characteristics of the INDIVIDUAL type
The Individual type is in constant motion and is constantly changing. They gain energy from the new, the unknown. For them, anything usual or routine-like is bad! It doesn’t matter if the established system, idea, or anything is working and fulfils business expectations, if the Individual gets bored – and they can get bored rather quickly – it has to go. They are willing to take huge risks for the sake of innovation. This risk-taking is not always a process that is carefully thought through, but can be a rather ad-hoc, impulsive series of decisions.
Representatives of this personality type are generally considered pleasant, social people. This is the reason why their social circles tend to be larger than average. They like big parties, which could be anything from a dinner with friends to a techno party attended by tens of thousands of people, depending on their age. The point is to have a crowd. There have to be a lot of acquaintances, as well as opportunities to build new connections. The Individual is an extroverted type. They communicate a lot, sometimes without end. They are the ones who will not let you get bored, as there is always something happening around them. Let’s pack a bag and get on the road, we’ll see where it takes us, no need for a plan! Planning is their death. They hate rules carved in stone, as they are not good for anything except restricting their personalities, which is simply the worst thing that could ever happen to an Individual.
Individuals surpass all other personality types in creativity and innovation. This is a significant advantage in their work. Depending on one’s character, these innovations can be really practical, but they could be absolutely farfetched as well. A lot of artists are representatives of this type. Whether they are actors or work in the fine arts, they are on the very top of the list when it comes to truly new creations. This is the reason why their presence is essential in a number of sectors.
Their weakness is that they are disorganised and chaotic. They are inherently surrounded by a certain level of chaos. This is true for their work environment as well as anything that surrounds them. This can be a serious problem for them, as sometimes important details, documents, and data goes missing from under their hands. They are not the best at keeping deadlines either, as the sunshine or a rainbow in the sky is always more important than the deadline set by the boss.
They only like the bright side of life. They easily become depressed in stressful situations. And when it happens, as they are mostly happy, it is very noticeable for others. They always react positively to unexpected situations, even when there is not a single hint at a possible positive outcome. They try to overcome the first difficulties with unwavering – sometimes naïve – optimism. Most of the time, this proves to be effective in business, as Individual-type leaders can efficiently handle if their co-workers seem to lose faith in the greater purpose. The only problem is when the given business issue poses a professional challenge, as the initial ‘let’s get over the problem with a positive attitude’ approach might fall apart when they are unable to present real, practical solutions to the problem due to lack of planning and an inadequate examination of the problem. The ‘fall’ of this type was spectacular in the 1-2 years following the start of the 2008 economic crisis. Optimism did not solve the significant decline in revenue or profits, and so Individual-type leaders soon lost their positions.
How the Individual type is generally viewed varies significantly across countries. As they put a large emphasis on absolute individualism and expressing their personalities, they can only thrive in an environment where these traits are generally recognised. They are most appreciated in the southern regions of Europe; France, Spain, and Italy accept and love them. As we start moving northward – into the world of Experts – the attitude towards them becomes rather mixed.
Interestingly, 7 out of 10 times, Individual types, somehow feeling their own weaknesses and experiencing the mixed attitude towards them, force themselves into the financial sector. They become key accountants or financial directors, and in large companies too. And being a leader is important for them, as they couldn’t work as a mere accountant for long – they would soon be found out as someone who is not cut out for precise, solitary work. But as leaders, they are able to sell themselves very well. As they are quite persuasive, they are able to convince their superiors that things will only go well when they are present. Then they are very careful not to spend too much time away, when others could find out that everything is working just as perfectly without them. Wearing the mask of an opposite personality type is exhausting, and this takes a toll in our private lives. Because of this, it is very important that an Individual-type person finds the right role and area to work in, where they have some room to manoeuvre, to bring in new ideas, innovate, change, and develop. Choosing the right career goal might be the most important in the case of this personality type.
Another significant trait of this personality type: the constant desire (and sometimes compulsion) to be the centre of attention. In their personal lives, they must be the funniest, the life of the party, and the most entertaining member of the group. If there is a gathering, even if it is just a few friends, a true Individual has to do something to get the others’ attention. The desire to be the centre of attention may be controlled only by a superior intelligence, but even then, not without difficulties. Shining at events, conferences, parties, and receptions, this is their world. This is exactly the reason why other personality types have very diverse attitudes towards them. Some envy them for their openness, while they make others’ skin crawl. But this is part of being an Individual, and they just love it!
The main ideology of the Individual type may be summarised easily: I want to be unique and special, or at least I want to appear to be! This principle accompanies the entirety of the various identification methods, and fundamentally defines the life of the Individual type. The strength of their character enables them to realise this individualism. But if an Individual doesn’t have any truly special features, their life will not be happy, as they will never get the attention they seek.
Identifying the Individual personality type
The INDIVIDUAL’s wardrobe
‘Just don’t let me see the same piece on anyone else!’ This sentence perfectly conveys the Individual’s defining ideas on clothing. The brand, quality, or durability of the clothes do not concern them. But it has to be unique, something that only they have and that cannot be worn in the same way by others. They might go for the most extravagant collections. They have absolutely no problem with wearing something absolutely unsuitable for the occasion, and they do it proudly. Their biggest fear is blending in. This can never happen to an Individual. By the way, a lot of them choose the fashion industry as their profession, where they can realise their far-out ideas. Individual-type people tend to be a little ‘too much’. Their accessories, the colours, and clothes they wear are often excessive and eccentric, but this is what makes them feel good. In the case of men, ties present an excellent opportunity to express their uniqueness. And many of them take this opportunity, as the choice of the colour of the suit is limited, but nobody can restrict the free choice of tie. This is how we might come across the combination of a vibrant tie with a grey suit. And as this personality type is quite common in trendsetters, the fashion feature is always a good explanation for their attire.
An Individual’s clothing comes from a wide array of sources. A unique dress designed by a top fashion designer is a perfect choice for them, but they are just as happy with a special piece found in a second-hand shop. The Individual type doesn’t keep money in high regard, for them it is just something to spend. And they do spend it. If we know someone whose wardrobe is crowded with clothes, some of which they haven’t even worn yet because they don’t even know about them, then we can be sure that we have at least one Individual-type acquaintance.
Flamboyance clearly marks an Individual type. It is hard to picture representatives of this personality type in a monochrome dress. They are characterised by daring combinations. If, when returning from a meeting, we can’t erase the picture of a negotiating partner’s clothing, then we have most likely met an Individual.
It is worth to pay attention to the fact that an Individual, whatever mask they might be wearing, and however unfitting is the position they are in, cannot defy their nature when it comes to clothing. We will definitely be able to notice the signs of them somehow not fitting in.
The INDIVIDUAL’s work environment
Many would simply describe it as chaotic. And it is. A true Individual is disorganised at home and at the office as well, they will not keep either tidy. Keep in mind that the Individual type wants to manipulate its environment to have an effect on people. To the Individual, a big pile of documents on the desk reflects a workaholic person who is always busy. Of course, this is far from reality. The decorations can range from a Kinder Surprise figurine to a picture of the big fish caught together with friends. Thus, finding the right thing at the right time is a constant problem for them.
Colours are also at the forefront here. For them, a dim, dull environment is like a slow death. For instance, it can be problematic for them to fit in at a multinational company, where they have to face a number of limitations. But Individuals are creative and inventive; they find the road to uniqueness sooner or later. If we visit a big company, and the office of our partner ‘sticks out’ of the environment, we can be sure that we are dealing with an Individual.
It is very important for them to present their individuality to the outside world. So, if they have an adequately unique environment in their office, they will want to show it off to as many people as possible. In the office of the Individual there are no ‘rules’ or taboos. The office can function as a conference room, a study, or as the venue for friendly conversations. Representatives of this personality type tend to be quite lenient when it comes to following the rules. This often leads to disharmony. Unfitting pictures and decorations are present, which clearly give away the personality type of the owner.
The arrangement of the office is also a bit strange, as there are no rules. A seating order approved by an Individual-type leader will surely be unusual. Don’t be surprised if a back-office team is moved to the other wing of the building, to the front side. Changes are defined by emotions, not functionality.
The INDIVIDUAL’s tools
Looks over functionality, always – this is the key concept. And the automotive industry and the IT–Telecom sector builds on this. The constant innovation and the increasing amount of emphasis on design are all there to serve the needs of the Individual-type target audience. Why is it so important to convince them? They are the first to replace their old devices with new, more appealing ones.
Owning objects is not particularly important for Individuals. They are all over their new car in the first 3 weeks but tend to get bored of it after a month and would be happiest if they could get a new one. Luckily, their financial means do not allow for such eccentricities. Unusual colours and the choice of upholstery for the seats are the most important for them when choosing a car. The car must have something extra, even if they might never use it – this might be what makes them buy the car, because other cars don’t have the feature in question. They just love limited series models. The brand and – although they might not admit to it – dependability and functionality do not matter to them. If they find the right car, financials cannot be a problem either. They will agree to just about any leasing conditions to get the car of their dreams.
Even if the choice of colour and model is limited, for example in the case of an international company, the car of an Individual will still be easily recognisable by a sticker, a funny label, or some unusual interior arrangement that can take an unsuspecting representative of another personality type by surprise.
While it might pose a challenge for the Individual types to express themselves through their car, the market of this type is the land of plenty for the telecom sector. It is the sector where new devices are released weekly, where everything is replaced within a few years. This is the land of the Individual. And they don’t even consider the financial aspects of running after innovation, as for them, the new phone is what is valuable, it doesn’t matter whether it costs 30 Euros or 600 Euros. A mobile phone can be the perfect way of self-expression for this type. If we see a unique device in vibrant colours, showcasing a range of accessories, we can be sure that the owner is an Individual. It always makes me smile when I see grey Nokia phones bought by the company in red, pink, or yellow cases, decorated with several other accessories. More and more brands target this group, as the fastest rotation can be expected in this group, they can be expected to replace their phones the most frequently. This is good business. In ancient times, Samsung was the main provider for this type. The flip, slider, and rotatable phones used to be a hit with Individuals. Today the selection is wider. For instance, iPhones were very popular for a while, but today anything goes if we are targeting the Individual market in our telecom business. There are no rules. It might be worth mentioning though, that they do not buy devices that represent security and professionalism. The Individual types use their phone to make calls, send text messages, take pictures, and shoot videos. And most importantly: it must have some extra feature that other phones don’t have. They will be happy with it for a few weeks, then move on, along the principle of ‘the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’.
In the life of an Individual type, designer objects hold a special meaning. They must have something extra surrounding them. This could be anything, as long as it has a special story to it, an experience, something bright and colourful. This type often has tools that do not actually have any use but look good: a chair that you can’t sit on, a table that is hard to decide whether or not it is actually a table, or a map on the wall with no function, but again, which looks good. It all comes down to one thing: everything around them has to be special and unique.
The INDIVIDUAL’s free time
The Individual type is an extroverted, outgoing, and social person, and they plan their free time accordingly. They are always present at larger events or gatherings. Having a wide circle of acquaintances is a must for them. These are not necessarily friends, more like passing acquaintances, with a relationship as deep as saying hello to each other every once in a while. Not surprisingly, their favourite pastime is travelling. And preferably discovering new, unknown lands, even if it is not without risk, as the unknown always holds potential dangers. But they overcome these problems easily and are sure to encourage the same optimism in their partners and environment as well. It is impossible to get bored in their company, as they are always in charge of entertainment.
They like to pursue arts in their free time, be present in the media, or enjoy the buzz around celebrities. They love to be surrounded with celebrities, and they will immerse themselves in this splendour whenever they have the chance. But it must be noted that Individual types do not handle it well if they are not at the centre of attention. So, it is important for them to choose the right level of company, so that they can be prominent in it. If this need of theirs is not met, their temper will get out of hand. Drama queens are not unusual among Individuals.
It is also important to note here that the most characteristic representatives of the Individual type are sure to have an absolutely unique hobby that has nothing to do with their work or their family. If their partner cannot accept this quirk, it can even lead to a divorce. Creativity has a special significance in the life of an Individual – especially a more colourful one. They must be able to show their true personality, to amaze people, and to create something that nobody else can!
This type is also easily recognisable in the art scene. They would never copy old themes, they do not do it for the money, and their creations are always unique. They don’t even care about the reaction of others, as they know for themselves that they are great artists.
They are attracted to extreme sports. Not so much for its performance aspects, as for its extravagance. Of course, it would be hard to picture an Individual playing golf or chess. They do not hold these comfortable ‘status sports’ in high regard. They conduct their free time similarly to their professional life: they have a quick taste of everything, then leave the given task or activity unfinished. It is not easy to maintain their focus, as they live for the magic of novelty.
Catering to the pastime needs of an Individual is not an easy task! This mostly causes difficulties for their partners in their private lives. By the time they manage to organise a programme that the Individual was crazy about, they are eight steps ahead, and the plan put together with so much effort falls apart in an instant. But even the smallest things might fascinate them. A wild animal appearing in the city centre or a beautiful sunrise is enough for them to start the day on a positive note.
They tend to be rather hectic in organising their free time. If they feel like it, and they have the chance, they might step out to watch a movie in the cinema during office hours, and if it comes to it, they have no trouble at all partying for weeks in any part of the world. But being so energetic takes its toll on the Individual, so they often fall ill, mostly due to immune problems originating from depleted energy levels. At times like this they tend to fall apart and succumb to depression, and it can be a mighty task to get them out of this state. They can drive their environment crazy with their constant mood changes, but they are undeniably the funniest, liveliest personality type.
The INDIVIDUAL’s communication
They are the most communicative personality type, but it is the hardest to get real results out of this communication. Listening to an Individual’s accounts, stories, or jokes is pure joy. We can be sure that they will give the most colourful depiction of an event, which is actually functional, as this helps them get into and stay in the centre of attention.
But their delightful diction is much less appreciated in the business world when it comes to negotiations. The Individual type loves communicating, even about nothing, for hours on end. But it is almost impossible to squeeze any results out of them, as they are unable to make decisions.
Constant rambling is characteristic of their communication. They start by talking about the deal in question, but a moment later they are recounting an interesting piece of news from the day before, and a few sentences later they are already on the topic of the beautiful weather. But this is normal for them. We need to be prepared if we want to keep the conversation on track. Furthermore, Individuals constantly ‘express themselves’ in their speech, it is a show, a performance. And if someone refuses to be their audience, it doesn’t matter how favourable the deal would have been to the Individual, they can forget about doing business with the Individual for a lifetime. Making a checklist for these negotiations is essential, so we have something to follow and that helps us to pull the Individual back to the main topic.
For the Individual, communication is the most important tool for getting attention. If there is a gathering, a company training, or a meeting, they simply must share their opinions. Most of the time these have no real substance to them, but they still must leave their mark. Communication is also a perfect tool for concealing the superficial professional knowledge that is typical for the Individual type. They love discussing even a small professional issue at length, as long as they don’t have to say a definite yes or no, for which they could be accountable later. For this reason, they often use overly complicated, long sentences. We are just sitting there, listening: we heard the introduction, now it is time for the conclusion, but we are still listening to the introduction, and now the speech is over, only we never got to the point. Thus, the other personality types become more and more annoyed by this communication style.
The realisation of the Individual self is highly dependent upon talents and inherent skills, as the Individual always wants to be onstage, whether they have any talent for it or not. Thus, they are perfect contestants for reality television shows. Intelligence is also a key determinant here, defining how far the Individual is willing to go to become the centre of attention.
Individuals tend to develop a unique way of speaking. They like quoting movies or their favourite cartoon characters, which can surprise their audience. They instantly build in these quirks and movie citations into their communication; this is what makes them unique. Individuals have style. Some like it, some don’t. But we have to admit that do have style.
The INDIVIDUAL’s decision-making process
As they are a fundamentally persuasive personality type, squeezing a decision out of them is the most difficult. They want to control the other types, and in meetings, they spend most of their energy manipulating and thinking about how to impose their will on others. Do not be fooled by their hasty, chaotic appearance! They are quite determined in one thing: they will never let anyone directly impose their will on them.
Their decision-making process is best described by the expression ‘ad hoc’. And we have to be prepared that even if we got a ‘YES’ from them at the end of the meeting, by the next day it could just as easily turn into a ‘NO’, a ‘MAYBE’, or possibly an ‘I don’t have time for this right now’. We also have to keep in mind that during a conversation they do not concentrate on what we are saying, but on making sure that they themselves get enough attention. So, if we don’t employ some smart techniques to counter this, we might have to face a situation when the Individual has absolutely no recollection of what we have been talking about in the previous two hours.
Their decisions are always based on emotions, and first and foremost determined by whether or not the offered deal will help them to get attention and communicate their uniqueness. You will have to use a completely different set of arguments – from what you would use in the case of other personality types – to convince them. They are enthusiastic first buyers of new products without history. They see an opportunity in this, a chance to try something new that is not yet ‘worn down’ by others. They thrive on this. Due to their focus on emotions, the personality of the business partner has a prominent significance. Typically, the Individual is not buying products or services, but business contacts.
In the short run, having a unique personality can be useful in doing business with Individuals. Being a ‘quasi-Individual’, who conveys the Individual nature on a slightly higher level than the Individual-type decision-maker. But this only works in the short run, as the competitive spirit will soon present itself, turning the admired person into an enemy for outshining the decision-maker. In the long run, they are always looking for their professional opposites, the Experts. Although they find Experts boring and uninteresting, Expert types have the in-depth professional knowledge that an Individual will never have the patience or will to acquire. And so, they will always trust the word of an Expert contact, even if they will not hold them in high regards as a person.
The Individual type is not interested in the price! Of course, everyone has financial limitations that they should accept, but representatives of this type are masters of overcoming these limitations. If they want something, they will get the money for it, even if it risks basic operations.
The global financial crisis was a huge blow to their popularity, as their first reaction of ‘the sun will come out tomorrow’ didn’t do the trick. And operating in a changing market requires a professional approach that Individual types do not have. They need times of peace and a developing economy to shine.
Let’s be clear about something. Without Individuals, there would be no innovation and advancement that a healthy economy needs. Of course, it is important to tone down this uncontrolled desire for freedom in the business world, but don’t try to restrict your Individual-type co-workers absolutely; instead, guide them in the right direction.