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The Trait and Style Guide (TSG) has been developed to help you understand and remember the habitual, instinctive behavior patterns known as personality traits. Traits should not be viewed as either positive or negative. They simply are descriptive, and none are better or worse to possess.

Awareness of our traits helps us understand why we behave the way we do, how we perceive others and are perceived by them. This permits us to make choices about our behavior, rather than act instinctively from our traits. We then can choose the people and situations that allow us to function most effectively.

These traits are about different paths to peak productivity.

These individuals produce their best work under pressured circumstances. They tend to leave things for the last moment, then swing into action working at a highly intense pace (up-time). Once started, they don't like to stop work until it's complete. Only then can they switch into a rest mode (down-time), which is essential for preventing burn-out. Pressure-Oriented individuals require deadlines for motivation. They are the college students who start the term paper a few days before it's due or, if they start earlier, revise the whole thing the night before the deadline.

Pressure-oriented works intensely for periods of time

These individuals do their best work with plenty of lead time and frequent breaks during the day. Their optimal work mode is paced and consistent, with no peaks or valleys. Short breaks (with some food intake) replenish their energy, keeping performance levels at their best. Pacing themselves helps prevent burn-out. Non-Pressure-Oriented individuals are the college students who start working on the term paper the day it's assigned, then do a little every day until it's finished.

Non-pressure oriented works at a steady pace

These traits explain how people develop and express ideas.

These individuals formulate, develop, and preview ideas in their heads. They wait to present ideas until thoroughly developed. Once the idea is complete, however, Quiet/Internal people expect immediate implementation. They tend to be oriented to the present and focused on operational issues. They take things literally and like immediate, tangible results.

Quiet/Internal develops ideas in their mind

These individuals verbalize ideas in raw unfinished form, then need time and interaction with others to fully develop them. Interactive/External Thinkers love batting around ideas, and don't expect immediate fulfillment. They tend to be future-oriented, and comfortable with strategic issues and long-term results.

Interactive/External develops ideas by talking them through

These traits indicate how people set goals and direction.

A high score means that individuals tend to establish goals, direction or alternatives on their own, and can design the path to achieve their objective. People high on this trait often are natural leaders. Others recognize them as capable of making decisions and suggesting what should be done.

Internal Direction makes own decisions

Individuals with this trait need an outside source (other people) to help them establish goals, direction or alternatives. Without assistance to determine and clarify what needs to be done, they can vacillate on decisions. Those with moderate scores in External Direction work best in situations involving peer relationships and consensus decision-making.

External Direction gets direction from others


These traits explain how people approach and deal with ideas.

When these individuals are presented with an idea, they think first about the feasibility and practicality of using that idea in their environment. They do more of what's been done before - only faster, better and smoother - but not fundamentally different. Conventional/Factual people use existing ideas creatively, but they don't invent new ideas. They might think of more ways to penetrate and increase market share, rather than creating new products to attract fresh markets. They think "in the box."

Conventional works within an idea

When these individuals are presented with an idea, they immediately think of alternatives and other possibilities. They wonder about what else could be done. Alternative/Visual people are considered innovative because they create something others have not envisioned. They come up with original ideas for new product rather than improving on existing products. They think "out of the box."

Alternative works outside the idea

These traits explain how people learn and work out problems.

Individuals with this trait will break down ideas, problems or situations into parts (either in their mind or verbally), weigh the pros and cons, and then assess what will or will not work. These people hate making mistakes and have little tolerance for error, so they don't act until they are certain of what to do. When a situation arises, Analytical people take time to figure it out before taking any action. They don't disrupt things by making immediate changes, but rather study the situation until they are sure how to proceed. Analytical people don't trust you until you prove yourself trustworthy.

Analytical Thinks out the problem

Individuals with this trait will first think back to their past experiences and assess what did or did not work. This information is then applied to the current problem or situation; it takes very little time for them to react. If none of their experience relates to the current
issue, then they problem-solve or learn through trial and error. These people are more tolerant of mistakes, viewing them as educational opportunities. When a situation arises, Experiential individuals act immediately, either applying knowledge from past experience or using a "try and see how it works" approach. Experiential types tend to trust you until you prove yourself untrustworthy.

Experiential works out the problem

These traits explain why some people set priorities so differently and disagree about what is important in a situation.

This trait indicates the degree to which individuals concentrate on a specific situation and weigh their priorities in the context of that situation. These individuals see the world as though they are looking through a telephoto lens. They notice the quality
and specifics of things first, and may not notice the larger context outside the lens. A Situation/Focuser orchestra conductor would get off the podium and go listen to each player for quality, but be unaware that the violins and woodwinds are playing a completely different melody. Similarly, a CEO might focus attention on one division, without noticing that another division is in trouble - or that the entire company is functioning poorly.

Situation/Focuser sees individual detail

This trait indicates the degree to which individuals concentrate on a broad view and weigh their priorities in the context of that view. These individuals see the world as though they are looking
through a wide angle lens. A Context /Scanner conductor notices if different sections are not playing together, but not that a particular player is weak. A CEO realizes if the predictions for production and manufacturing make sense in relation to sales and marketing forecasts, but will be unaware that one of the production managers is having personal problems and is not functioning well on the job.

Context/Scanner sees the big picture

These traits explain how individuals approach tasks.

These individuals tend to approach a task with the attitude that if something is going to be done, it ought to be done right. Consequently, they like to do things themselves. When they generate ideas, they prefer to work out each one in elaborate detail, often causing them to generate fewer ideas. Since Thorough individuals view everything as important and requiring their best efforts, it may be difficult for them to prioritize.

Thorough goes deeper, longer

These individuals get to a point in a task where they believe it is good enough - and move on. They usually are quicker to delegate, allowing them to move on to something else. Skimmers generate more ideas than Thorough types, but the ideas are less developed.

Skimmer goes broader, faster

This trait indicates how people relate to
responsibility, supervision, accomplishments, and others' ideas.

15a) High AUTONOMY:
These individuals convey a feeling of ownership over their area of responsibility, as well as toward everyone who works for them. However, they hate close supervision. They don't want anyone to
have control over them. Every project must bear their mark, and they need to be involved in every decision remotely affecting them or their department. They like to be the center of attraction, need to feel important, and usually think they are right. Because of their belief in themselves and their cause or product, they inspire others toward a belief or course of action. As self-promoters, they like to have the power, align with the power person, or stay as far away from the power person as possible.

High Autonomy has strong feeling of personal ownership

15b) Low AUTONOMY:
These individuals lack a "take charge" attitude or a sense of ownership toward their area of
responsibility. Supervision is accepted as a fact of life. Those with Low Autonomy may be extraordinarily brilliant or capable, but they prefer being behind-the-scenes rather than in the spotlight. Since recognition is unimportant, they often accomplish things more smoothly. They are not well-versed in self-promotion, and therefore may be overlooked and outshined by more skilled self-promoters.

Low Autonomy has strong feeling of joint ownership

This trait explains how people will relate to agreements
and adjust to change.

16a) High STRUCTURE:
These individuals like to know what to expect. Changes imposed by others are difficult for them and cause anxiety. The anxiety will be expressed by two behaviors: resistance to the change followed by a period of emotional adjustment. Afterwards, they are able to accept the change. High Structure individuals are creatures of habit, prefer the familiar, speak in specifics, and believe in accountability. When they work out an agreement, they expect it to be carried out to the letter.

High Structure thinks specifically. Change produces anxiety.

These individuals don't have much anxiety about change. They like flexibility, speak in generalities, and generally "go with the flow." They believe that a general idea or goal is important, not the specifics or means. When Low Structure individuals work out an agreement, they expect modifications.

Low Structure thinks generally. Change is no problem.

This trait indicates how selective an individual is in establishing close relationships.

17a) High CORE:
Individuals with this trait have favorites and establish close relationships with a selected few, rarely more than two or three people in a given situation. They may form different "core groups" in different areas of their life or work. In a work situation where they cannot form a core group, they may work less effectively. These individuals feel comfortable with and rely more heavily on their "favorites," who may not be high on this same trait. Core Group people like being productive, and will focus on the one or two people they believe will help them learn or yield results. They prefer small groups or one-on-one encounters.

High Core bonds to a select few.

17b) Low CORE:
People low on this trait don't require a group of close associates,
or "favorites," in order to work well. They generally are successful working with a wide variety of people in large or small groups, treating all equally.

Low Core bonds to many.



This trait indicates how an individual's self-esteem is
established and maintained.

Everyone wants to be liked, but those with High Sensitivity need approval - or their self-esteem plummets. They judge their worth by the reactions and opinions of others, so they perceive criticism
of their performance as indicating that they are inadequate. At the same time, they believe praise and flattery. Because they are so vulnerable to negative reactions, a supportive atmosphere is vital to their happiness, self-esteem, confidence and productivity.

High sensitivity bases self-esteem on others' opinion

Those with Low Sensitivity base their self-esteem on how they measure up to their own standards. They are not swayed by praise, and do not respond to criticism unless they agree. Even then, criticism doesn't change their evaluation of themselves, just their work.

Low sensitivity bases self-esteem on own opinion

This trait indicates how firm a foundation an individual
feels necessary before seeking greater challenges.

19a) High AMBITION:
These individuals are constantly concerned with improving a situation, either for themselves or their company. What they do now doesn't count, because things could always be better. They are the runners who just ran two miles for the first time today, but tomorrow will try for three. They run up the corporate ladder.

High Ambition: always going for more

19b) Mid-range AMBITION:
These individuals want to be sure that the foundation is firm before they seek to upgrade. These people are like runners who wait to see whether they can run two miles without much stress before trying two and a half. They are concerned with stabilizing systems, people and finances before they think of growing the company. They walk up the corporate ladder.

Mid-range Ambition: prefers paced advancement

19c) Low AMBITION:
These individuals are rarely found in management, except in small family businesses, because they seek to maintain the status quo. They make solid and reliable employees, however, since they will remain in their jobs long enough to know everything. They can be satisfied in the same job for many years, sometimes even turning down promotions. They usually stay on the same rung of the corporate ladder.

Low Ambition: content to be where they are

This trait indicates what is more important to an individual's productivity: the ability to accomplish or a pleasant working environment.

In order to be happy, these people need to feel they and others are accomplishing goals or tasks. They may or may not notice the physical and emotional atmosphere at work, as long as things are getting done.

High Task-Oriented: accomplishment brings happiness

In order to be productive, these people need to feel happy. A pleasant office atmosphere, including kind and understanding management, allows them to perform well. For their own satisfaction, as well as for optimal productivity, they need to be in the right environment.

Low Task-Oriented: happiness brings accomplishment

These traits indicate how much time is optimal for people to be around other individuals, and whether they will be oriented first to their own or to others' role in a situation.

These individuals need to be around people, although they don't require constant interaction. They can be with people all day and not feel drained; in fact, too much time alone may cause stress and interfere with productivity.

Team oriented needs to work with people

These individuals absolutely must have some time alone. Without time away from others, they will become stressed, sometimes interfering with their interactive skills and productivity. They can work alone quite happily for long periods.

Reflective needs to work alone

This trait indicates the degree of novelty or variation individuals seek in people, places and situations.

23a) High VARIETY:
Individuals high on this trait need variety, both in people and activities. They must have new and different experiences on a regular basis, not just a rotation of the same 10 or 20. Those high on variety like to work with diverse people, different types of projects, and to see new places.

High Variety needs different kinds of experiences

23b) Low VARIETY:
Individuals low on this trait can work comfortably with the same people all the time and do the same kind of work continually.

Low Variety is content with similar kinds of experiences

This trait indicates how easily and pleasantly an
individual works with others.

24) People skills:
If you are high on this trait (over 6), everyone wants to work with you. If you are low (under 4), even your relatives may want to leave when you enter the room! People Skills does not refer to superficial charm. Rather, it reflects the kind of emotional intelligence and social skills that make people who have worked with you for a long time look forward to continuing that relationship. If you are in the average range on People Skills, some people like you - others don't.

High people skills attracts others

Low people skills repels others

Trait & Style Guide (TSG)
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