It is obvious to me that liberals are entirely different than conservatives, but why is that? Like so many things these days I find myself thinking back to experiences that I had in the past to come up with answers for today’s questions.
Many years ago I took a sales training class called the Versatile Salesperson. The premise was that if a salesperson was left to their own devices, they would probably only successfully connect with customers who had the same personality styles. However; if you could train a salesperson to be more versatile, they would be able to relate to a wider range of personalities. This would greatly increase their sales effectiveness. It seemed very logical and in practice actually worked quite well.
While that lesson served me well many years ago, I think it has also helped me to understand the differences between a liberal and a conservative. When I reflect back on that sales training, it taught me that people generally have a dominant personality style or trait and they are secondary in another trait. These styles or traits are listed in the box below.
The four quadrants are four distinctly different personality styles. The styles diametrically opposite from each other are opposing styles and are quite different from each other. As a result, when a person is dominant in a style such as analytical, they are usually quite weak in the expressive style and vice versa.
Therefore, a person’s secondary style can almost always be found in an adjoining quadrant to their dominant style.
While everybody has some level of association with all four styles, it is a rare individual that is truly versatile across all four quadrants. I personally thought this training proved to be quite valuable in training sale personnel to be more adaptable and relate better with their clients. However, I also came to understand that where a person fits on the chart pretty much tells us what they are going to do in life.
I will try to provide some examples of this. When referring to styles, I will always list the dominant style first followed by the secondary style. As an example, engineers are often dominant in the analytical quadrant and secondary in the driver quadrant. So, they would be analytical driver. However, there are some engineers that are analytical amiable. I think these are the people that tend to go more into technical sales.
Other examples include physicians who tend to be analytical amiable, teachers who tend to be expressive amiable, ministers that tend to be amiable expressive, business people tend to be driver analytical and so on. Because these are generalizations, you will always be able to identify somebody you know that doesn’t quite fit this pattern. However, I think in “general” it is really quite accurate.
As you will always find in life, there are some outliers to this description. I think one example of this is the rare individual that is versatile across all four quadrants. I believe these are the people that often become CEOs in the business world. I also think that you will find some people that are tightly wound into a single quadrant. I think a good example of this would be Sheldon on the CBS show the Big Bang. I think it would be fair to characterize him as an analytical analytical so tightly wound into a single quadrant that he is incapable of relating to people in the other three quadrants.
Since I have such a strong belief in the validity of what I have just communicated, I found myself trying to use it to help me understand the differences between a liberal and a conservative. I think when a person studies the “typical” liberal you will generally find that they fit into the bottom two quadrants. Conversely, I think you will find that most conservatives are usually in the top two quadrants. Yes, I really do think liberals and conservatives are different and it can be quantified.
Again, I am sure that as people think through this they will come up with all kinds of exceptions to this statement. However, I believe that if you continue to think about the issue you will also realize that they are “exceptions” and that “generally” the rule applies.
There is a reason that there are very few Republicans that are dynamic speakers, they just do not fit into the expressive quadrant. Oh yes, there are some like Marco Rubio. However, for every Rubio there are a lot more like George W. Bush who really struggle getting their verbal messages across.
But on the other hand, the Republicans are blessed with many good people that solidly fit into the top two quadrants. These are the quadrants where you will find your strong managers, leaders, governors and presidents. They have the ability to govern well, but are not overly impressive on the podium or the campaign trail.
I think President Obama provides another excellent case study. I personally believe that Obama is a classic expressive amiable. So when Obama is constantly on the campaign trail rather than being in DC governing, when people ask why he never ran anything before becoming President, when people criticize him for being over his head and not governing well, we now know why. Obama is a classic liberal that is an expressive amiable and his strengths and skills do not lie in the quadrants where we typically find our best presidents.
I think we need to understand there are no good or bad styles, no right or wrong styles; they just are what make people different. I also think it goes a long way in explaining the differences between liberals and conservatives. And most importantly, I hope it helps to reaffirm my belief that the correct way for liberals and conservatives to work together is to COMPLEMENT each other’s strengths not to compromise on their principles.