THE RULER PERSONALITY TYPE
Key personality traits of the RULER type
- Willingness to Invest
- Need for Power
- Image Focus
- Career Focus
- Embrace of Conflict
- Management Skills
- Need to Earn Money
- Problem-solving Skills
- Profit Focus
General characteristics of the RULER type
Most psychological systems are a bit lenient when defining personality types; they tend to avoid using straightforward descriptions that might sound offensive. These formalities are unnecessary in the theory of RISE, firstly, because the Ruler type would never consider a stronger expression to be a problem, and secondly, the name isn’t the only reason why Rulers are not the favourite of the other types. But it will be very helpful in the identification process to be able to instantly associate this name with what we see and experience. So, for the sake of efficiency, let us stick to this name instead of trying to mask representatives of this type with names like ‘dominant’ or ‘leader’, as their lives are centred around their desire to take control of situations, to rule others, and to position themselves above everyone else. And they don’t do this to achieve some ultimate goal or higher purpose, but simply for the pleasure of being in charge and furthering their personal agendas. RISE does not consider a given personality type good or bad, they are just a particular set of psychological traits that must not be judged positively or negatively. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and, of course, every individual has a choice of whether or not they want to promote a given psychological trait.
Rulers are confident, and, in most cases, they have excellent leadership skills. They can inspire their peers to follow them and are capable of exercising power and building up their statuses. Keep in mind that they are always focusing on power, their personal agenda, and on how to achieve these. Rulers always have perspective, they always see the ‘big picture’. They have vision, a tangible goal to aim for, and they are able to motivate others to work toward these goals. They have character. They are the kind of people who are impossible to ignore if they step into the room – they have real presence. Most of the time they have a more aggressive nature than the other personality types, as they want to reach their goals, come hell or high water, and they are not afraid to use anyone for this. ‘Using’ people comes naturally to them. This doesn’t mean that they objectify people – although sometimes this is not too far from the truth – but they tend to only care about others as long as they are useful and are willing to cooperate toward common goals. After reaching this goal, when maintaining a personal relationship with the given person has no further practical use, they tend to move on without any issues. Of course, this process might look very different in the case of a Ruler with an IQ of 100 or one with 150, but the result is still the same, only presented in a more pleasant form in the case of the latter. This is why it’s often said that a leader who wants to be successful in the long run has to possess the Ruler personality type as well as the right level of intelligence to be able to make the most of it.
A Ruler’s inherent faults are their selfishness and overly confident nature. The biggest drawback of this personality type is its superficiality, so they sometimes do not analyse things in enough depth, furthermore, they are unable to handle problems arising from this superficiality. Rulers usually cannot learn from their own mistakes, and do not pay any attention to others’, and so they tend to run headfirst into the wall. They need to reach a certain level of maturity before they adopt the ‘think first’ approach. But once they develop, they have the potential to become indispensable leaders in any organisation.
Rulers believe in efficiency and results, and they want to see this in simple, practical, recordable, and presentable numbers. This makes them very reasonable business partners. They do not treasure emotions too much, as they tend to conduct their affairs on a ‘money talks’ basis. Their whole life is about proving their efficiency first to themselves, then to the world soon after. Of course, the latter is always presented a bit shinier than the reality – they can market themselves well, which enables them to better rule their surroundings. Symbols of success and displaying obvious signs of it are ever so important for them, and if anyone wants to make them listen and get through to them, they will have to show proper respect towards them. Vanity is generally considered to be a negative trait, and so they are not too open about it, but if we are facing a Ruler type, we have to be prepared to face a certain level of vanity.
It has to be noted that it’s almost impossible for them to maintain personal relationships in the long run, and it costs them a lot of energy to manage these. If people do not have an important role in a Ruler’s life, it’s very difficult for them to act otherwise. This is why Rulers are often quick to ruin the things that they have built up in their lives so much more efficiently than any other type would have. Thus, a Ruler’s life is a continuous cycle of creation and destruction.
The most important thing for a Ruler is displaying their hard-fought status to the outside world via various image elements. They are prepared to make big sacrifices for this status, sometimes even going against their own interests, thereby ruining their family lives and losing jobs that were once secure. Of course, their intelligence is also an important factor here, as this has a huge impact on the Ruler’s behaviour, determining what they do, when they do it, and with what momentum.
Identifying the RULER personality type
The RULER’s wardrobe
It is usually easiest to identify Rulers by looking at how they dress. But the biggest danger in being so sure about this identification method is not examining the ‘why’, which could cause the biggest problem in case of the Ruler type. Most other personality types would like to appear as Rulers in their professional lives, and unfortunately sometimes even in their private lives. Thus, we will see the Ruler-type clothes much more often than actual Ruler-type people.
Their wardrobes are always centred around brands, as these communicate status the best. Choosing the right brand is critical in the Ruler’s life. The brand has to accurately convey the particular person’s financial status, which, in turn, clearly communicate the position they hold. Choosing the brand and evaluating it is maybe the biggest challenge in the application of the systems, as people tend to think in clichés, indulging their own biases. People tend to project their own idea of an elite brand on other people when trying to identify a personality type. In the case of a Ruler type, we always have to interpret the brand while simultaneously identifying their environment! Status means different things in a metropolis or a small village, it varies across continents. The same status may be conveyed through an entirely different collection in France than in the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, or the United States. Forgetting this would be remiss.
We cannot say that Tom Tailor is not a Ruler brand, and Chanel surely is. For instance, Boss was a perfect status symbol in the Hungarian business world at the beginning of the 2000s. These suits had a single distributor in Hungary, cost at least 1000 Euro, and so one could be sure that buying one of these would project an impeccable image. As times changed, more and more big international brands opened for business in the capital of the ex-communist country, and big-shot executives switched to Zegna suits that cost 1250 Euro to demonstrate status. For the Ruler, status is best expressed by price, and so they try to focus on wearing clothes that others cannot afford. Of course, they always try to adjust this spending mania to their current position, or rather a little bit above it. Rulers always want to give the impression of having a little more power, a little more money than they actually have, so they are the best customers of the premium clothing sector.
Besides expense, exclusivity and limited availability are also major factors. Things that can be bought easily by anyone are not considered Ruler premium. It is also important that they need to put extra energy into buying the preferred brand, because other personality types might not invest that extra energy into buying it, and so they can truly be part of an ‘elite’ circle. But they don’t aim for individuality or uniqueness, indeed, they deem these qualities dangerous. They only find brands acceptable that are easy to recognisable for others and communicate their status almost instantly. They only love pieces that are directly identifiable. Branding on the shirt that is still visible, such as a Burberry or Armani logo, is always a preferred. Beyond suits, it is unimaginable not to have an easily recognisable status logo on other types of clothing. The world keeps changing – although the expectations of Rulers are rather constant – and even the biggest brands try to go into the direction of ‘the brand speaks for itself, even without a logo’, but this is not much comfort for the Ruler. The only real assurance is having Bikkembergs or Yohji Yamamoto written on the shirt, as the latter for example means that the given piece of clothing cost at least 150 Euro, and paying this money was not a problem for the one wearing it. Rulers don’t like new brands, as those have not yet built up the reputation and image that Rulers want to project by buying a piece of clothing.
The RULER’s work environment
The work environment of the Ruler type is impressive by design. As in the case of every other subfeature, there is quite a big emphasis on status elements here. The office of a leader looks exactly like their abode. Many think that Rulers simply have modern office environments, as they see that Rulers keep up with new trends since design is important for them. But I have to highlight it again in this case, too, every detail is there to serve the Ruler’s main purpose: whoever steps into the office will know exactly and without doubt how much the furnishings cost. One thing is certain – the presence of designer chairs that are impossible to sit on and tables where it is impossible to distinguish the front from the back are obvious signs of a Ruler personality type. But in certain cases, the representatives of this type will go in the exact opposite direction and go for an antique style. But in any case, the presence of money is tangible when stepping into an office like this. And this will get recognition from another Ruler, while other personality types might get a slightly uncomfortable feeling – of stepping into the boss’s office, their temple. But that is OK, after all, this is kind of the aim of all this window-dressing.
The Ruler’s office is decorated with the signs of triumph, and things suitable for bragging. Unmissable signs include: a cup or a trophy that otherwise has nothing to do with the ‘core business’ but points to the achievements of the owner of the office; a diploma or certificate in a visible place; diagrams showing the advancement and development of the company, such as newspaper articles about its achievements. Of course, these articles will only be from the period when the company was already managed by the Ruler, as this is the whole point of it. But before anyone would draw the negative conclusion that Rulers are show-offs, I would like to add that Rulers use these details to remind themselves daily of the results of their own efforts. For them, a trophy is just as much for themselves – of course it cannot do much harm if others see it too. They want to truly experience their own success, as this drives them to reach higher. But if we want to avoid talking in circles, a certain level of vanity and egotism is essential in the life of this type.
Another feature of their office environment is a high – but still acceptable – level of division based on position and power. Such leaders will certainly not sit in the same environment as their assistants, and they will not use the same devices. It is made obvious who is the boss. And the question of intelligence comes into play again, which fundamentally defines how ‘pushy’ they allow themselves to be in order to get ahead. Stepping into a workspace like this, we feel that everything is in its place. The seating order and the locations of the employees reflect practicality and efficiency. It is not designed to facilitate personal relationships; the fastest, most professional work arrangement is in the focus.
We have already mentioned what we can expect to find in the Ruler’s office, but it also is worth listing a few things show that the office is not a Ruler’s: an untidy, chaotic work environment, where the desk is a mess and paperwork is lying all around; if there is no ‘unity’ in the furnishings; if the environment gives a ‘friendly’ impression; the presence of plants or other homely decorations; or even an overly tidy, absolutely ‘cold’ atmosphere. There is another personality type that needs to see their family every day, even while at work, so they tend to sneak in a photo of their loved ones to the office, but this is not the Ruler. The fact that there is a picture of a spouse or children on the desk does not exclude the possibility of a Ruler type. It is best to interpret the environment as a whole. The Ruler types are driven by pride when they place a photo on the desk. This is not so much for themselves as for their environment. It is not that they do not love their families as much as other types, but when they are at work, they want to focus on work. They do not need a photo to think of them anyway, but it sure feels nice to show them off.
The RULER’s tools
When assessing someone’s personality type, the objects surrounding them are also great clues, as our daily tools convey a lot about us. A car, mobile phone, computer, or laptop will clearly determine the personality type of its owner. But our employer might have a huge influence on what devices we use. The bigger the company, the likelier it is that devices are standardised.
Unsurprisingly, communicating status is also a prominent factor for the Ruler here. If the company policy does not make this possible, then they do not care about this way of proving themselves in a work environment. They will definitely not place their phone theatrically on the table, and they will not talk about their car to a stranger. But the Ruler type is quite inventive when it comes to image features. They are the kind who will not spare the expense of buying the most fitting personal mobile, even if the company also provides a phone for them. They are the ones who will always have the right brand of laptop or PC in sight, even if the company does not want to spend on it. We always have to look at the brand when assessing the tools and devices of a given person!
Without question, the status value of mobile phones is changing the most rapidly of all. For instance, 10 years ago, Nokia and Sony Ericsson were definite status symbols in Europe, and everyone understood that only the owners of these two brands can effectively communicate their statuses to the world. Today, these two brands have disappeared from the toolbox of Rulers. Looking at the market today, there are two brands that are still in the pool. The Ruler market is defined by Apple and Samsung. Still, phones are the biggest challenge for Rulers, as there is no true Ruler brand on the market anymore. The most typical to Rulers is that they want to get the latest iPhone before its official release, or on the first day it is released, so that they can show how up to date they are. But it is certain that mobile phones are no longer among the status tools of the Ruler type.
Functionality is not at the forefront when a Ruler purchases a tool. Even though mobile phones are not explicit indicators of personality type anymore, other technical devices can still tell us a lot about their owners. A sure indicator of a Ruler type is the presence of an Apple logo in the office. Today an Apple MacBook or an iMac is still an obvious attribute of the Ruler type. Their pricing means that only people with adequate earnings can afford to buy these devices. And you need the right position to get the right level of earnings! One of the best status devices today is Apple’s MacBook. Of course, there are also practical reasons to buy them, but based on their price, there is more to a MacBook than just practical features! In the world of Rulers, Apple dominates the computer market.
The next big topic is the question of cars. There is no better indicator of personality type then having the analysed individuals choose their own cars. At big companies, the company policy can often be a determining factor in car selection, although Rulers can be pretty persistent in getting their points across to their superiors when it comes to cars. Rulers have a set list of brands that they deem to be valuable status-wise. Of course, this area had also gone through some significant changes in recent decades. While 5-10 years ago a Maserati or Jaguar was the car of choice of the ‘Individual’, the character that is a little bit of a show-off, today both of these brands have shifted a little in the direction of the business world. It is important to note here that for a Ruler, it is not the most expensive or most unique car that is the most suitable. The adequately business-like, well-known brands that are widely considered expensive are their favourites. There is a fierce competition in this segment recently, and so a number of brands may represent the Ruler status. Today Jaguar, Maserati, BMW, and Lexus are considered to be the most Ruler-type brands.
The choice of colour is also an important factor, both in the case of cars and other devices. The current ‘cool’ colours dominate the scene. It is hard to imagine a Ruler roaming around in a vibrant-coloured car that has nothing to do with traditional colours. So, having a fire engine red Ferrari is definitely not an attribute of the Ruler type, even if it costs an unreasonable amount of money.
The RULER’s free time
The Ruler is a natural-born competitor, and so they have to set goals for themselves in their free time too. The most important activity that defines the Ruler is sports. Sports can be the favourite pastime of any personality type, but Rulers do it differently. It is not the simple idea of doing sports that relaxes them, their key motivation is not the pleasant time spent with friends, and they do not stand for the principle of ‘participation is more important than winning or losing’. They usually opt for performance sports. Even alongside a successful career, they will have to make sure that they can meet their own expectations in sports as well. They do not just go on a hike, they need to set a goal time; they do not just go to work out, they need to see quantified results in muscle development; and they do just jog, they look to steadily improve their times. Proving themselves to themselves has a major role in their lives.
It is a common mistake in the identification process if we cannot distinguish leisure and activities that serve to relieve stress. A given personality type will usually give preference to the leisure activities of its opposite type after a stressful period. Thus, it is quite common for a Ruler-type manager in an intense period to retreat to their homes and cut back on communication and activity. These leisure activities are not characteristic to this type at all, this is all about recuperating. It is safe to say that the Rulers will enjoy their free time if they are surrounded by their own favourite status elements. This may include family, a dog, or their favourite car, among many other things. They tend to plan their free time, do not leave anything to chance, and they do not like unexpected situations and unplanned surprises.
The RULER’s communication
Rulers want to change their communication the least among all types, as they tend to be the most efficient in presentations, leaving all other personality types in the dust. They are the best presenters and the best performers. They state their ideas confidently, clearly, and directly. Their voices resonate. As they tend to think in big pictures, they build up their synopsis well, and are able to keep their audience interested. Rulers are very good at conveying their message in any conditions, and in a way that speaks to the core of the audience. They respond well to unexpected situations, not afraid of interactivity and sudden questions, and they do not have a problem if they get interrupted.
Their biggest weakness is being overly confident when it comes to performing, and so they tend to regard preparations as unnecessary after a while. Although the audience most probably will not notice any of this, as there will still be a flow in their speech and it will still be enjoyable to listen to, but they might not be able to get their point across entirely, and that will damage efficiency.
But they are not necessarily the most pleasant conversationalists as bosses or business partners. As they are always focused on demonstrating and enforcing their power and conveying their will, often they are too strict, offensive, scornful, or even humiliating. If a Ruler-type boss gets to one of its subordinates, it could easily lead to tears, although the Rulers always know how far they can go. Their main goal is motivating people to fight for their purpose, and so they would never hurt someone without a reason.
More or less the same goes for business negotiations. Rulers are quick to make decisions when it comes to business. If Rulers decide that they are not interested in the issue, they will not be afraid to end the conversation flatly and quickly – with utter disregard to the fact that four people have worked for six weeks to arrange the given meeting. Nobody can waste a Ruler’s time. But if they are interested in the issue, if they see an opportunity in the conversation, they always find a way to steer the conversation in a favourable direction at the right moment.
Rulers use communication as a tool to further their own agendas. Their favourite is verbal communication, as they are quite fond of confrontational situations. They also like to handle conflicts personally, as their attitude is one of their greatest tools of exercising their power. Rulers like theatrical gestures that show off their position. They like to take on presentations at conferences and other occasions, especially if they can throw in a few impressive sentences that are received well and provided that the audience is not too professional to be able to ‘attack’ them with specific, in-depth questions. If this happens, or they get into a situation from which they cannot escape by quickly changing the topic, their communication will become more and more aggressive in an effort to save their face and protect their status. Thus, it is also true that the biggest ‘burns’ are also in store for the Rulers, as they usually do not know when to leave the stage.
Their written communication – when it is unavoidable – tends to be clear and concise, and the main message is always clear. Their style is very direct and declarative. They despise long, elaborate sentences with an indirect message. The signs of respect and recognition have to be present in every sentence, even if this might seem like an outdated, unnecessary formality today. For them, it is most certainly does not count as such!
The RULER’s decision-making process
Rulers make decisions promptly. They are able to assess whether or not the given opportunity is advantageous for them instantaneously. Thus, they have confident, definite answers to business issues without conducting in-depth analyses. Of course, life would be too easy if these decisions were always the right ones, although the Ruler will maintain that they are right to the end, even when they are already aware that they made a mistake. The Ruler’s decision is defined by the big picture: whether or not a given opportunity, person, or asset supports their current goals. If they do, then let’s go, but if not, then their answer will be no, regardless of any human factors.
Price is always a significant factor in the Ruler’s decision-making process. They are definitely looking for a product, service, or employee that has status value, and whether or not the ‘asset’ to be acquired will raise their status. Such products, services, or employees are not cheap, but this is not a problem for the Ruler, they like to spend on these kinds of things. Indeed, this communicates the right image: if something costs a lot of money, then not many will be able to buy it, and so it is exclusive to an elite circle. Thus, if they buy them, they will also be part of this circle. It is as simple as that. Indeed, however surprising or counterintuitive this may be, the Ruler likes to pay a high price for a product or service that is important to them.
But even the best businesspeople can tell the same story after negotiations with a Ruler business partner: the Ruler tried to squeeze an unacceptable price out of them, saying that if they did not accept their offer, there would be no deal. Indeed, this story also fits the picture! And however strange it is, there is a connection between the two. The Ruler is looking for a product with status, which is first and foremost expressed by the list price, and how much this can be sustained by the seller. So, the Ruler type – before rushing into buying an expensive product for the supposed status of it – has to check that the image of the product is sound. This is why they engage in ‘unabashed’ bargaining, which borders on dictating. If the other party reacts to the confidence of the Ruler by significantly lowering the price, there will be no deal for sure, as this is an obvious sign for the Ruler that the status conveyed by the list price is just window-dressing without real substance. If it is possible to get such a huge discount on the product, it will not be an adequate tool for satisfying the desire of the Ruler to become part of an elite circle. On the contrary, it would just make them a loser in a ‘discount club’. In this case, they will definitely not buy the product!
Another reason why the Ruler might engage in bargaining is when it is about a well-known product that has an unquestionable status, and the Ruler knows this, but they are unable to pay the price, as their resources do not allow for it. But they would like to project ‘more’ of themselves already. So, they are left with one option: they plainly state the price that they can actually pay for the product. Of course, one would need a little more experience to recognise the difference between these two possibilities, but it is always worth keeping in mind that a price war will eradicate Rulers from our clientele.
Rulers do not like to experiment with brand new things. A new product’s reputation is always questionable. It will either work, or it won’t. And Rulers will not put their own reputation at risk willingly. For this reason, they usually do not become first buyers. But they only need a little experience to realise the potential of a product, and then the ruling instinct kicks in: there is no better deal than discovering a future hit at the very beginning and purchasing it at the starting price – as it is a new product – as well as enjoying the long-lasting appreciation that first buyers get.
Knowing their angles by now, and being aware of the speed of their decision-making, it is time to highlight one more very important thing about Rulers: ‘they are always right’, just like the protagonists of all the jokes about bosses, which were most probably modelled after them. Do not make a mistake: Rulers are quite reasonable, and they tend to recognise their mistake in no time. But never force them to admit it, as this will lead to no good. This is especially true as a client, as they will not admit to their mistake, and they will leave the deal on top of it, whatever the cost. They will not exercise any discretion in making decisions. When it is about defending their status, they know no mercy. They cannot be convinced by any reasonable argument. They will be inclined to give up their job or position, or just leave the deal behind, even if they are sure to lose a substantial amount of energy and money invested in it. The Rulers will not change their decision, so it is better to not count on it. Their biggest weakness is their tendency to consistently stick to bad decisions based on superficial information. They see the bigger objective, but they do not put much effort into designing a detailed plan to achieve it. And in certain situations, this would be essential. Chances of making a big mistake in such situations are rather large. One of their positive traits, on the other hand, is that they have really good business acumen, they ‘feel’ the money and are able to get it.
Many think that Rulers are greedy, but this is not quite true! Their lives are defined by success and status. For a Ruler, being promoted to a leadership position means much more than, say, a 30% pay raise. They see money as the measurement of success. So, when Rulers talks about money, or is asking for money, they are in fact communicating: ‘recognise me and my achievements, because I am really something’. And of course, in today’s world, this is best expressed by money.
So, if Rulers are so aggressive and hard to handle, how can one influence them? Well, it depends on the situation and the particular positions at play. Our experience shows that Rulers may only accept one other personality type besides their own, the Expert. Apart from this rare exception, they tend to only regard their own kind as equals, and so another, less dominant personality type has little chance of controlling or influencing them. This, of course, does not mean that it is impossible to do business with them for anyone. But to do so, it is essential to have an ‘I recognise your greatness’ approach. Although, exactly because of this, they will never recognise the other party as an equal, but it is possible to make a deal.