Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to info@alessandra.com!

How has your heritage influenced your personality?

These examples are not meant to over-generalize or stereotype individual behavior; instead, they are meant to help us understand how cultures tend to socialize or group people into patterns of behavior that are more consistent with past customs and expectations. In this regard, it is easier for us to understand the more natural behaviors of each style when we look at their heritage.

RELATORS
Indirect and Open

Two countries that seem to have emphasized the Relator lifestyle as a cultural norm are Poland and Spain.

Both cultures have historically found ways to get along with foreign elements while methodically plodding forward in the direction expected, even though others have often dictated that direction in the short run. The Polish people are world-famous for their friendly, hard-working perseverance despite any obstacles that may confront them.

And the Spanish people (those beloved Latins) make others feel at home while practicing such distinctive customs as their renowned midday siestas. Taking siestas actually allows them to go home to their families during the workday. This is consistent with the preferred slower lifestyle of this temperament, without disrupting the differing customs of guests in their homeland.

Citizens of both countries are known in their native lands and in the United States for their neighborhood restaurants and extensive group social activities. Compare the following distinguishing characteristics of this Relater type that describe people you know who have been influenced directly by their own ethnicity, social group, or cultural roots:

- Easygoing -- calm, measured, low-key behavior and outlook

- Slower paced -- wait until they know the steps or guidelines before acting, then move forward in a pre-set manner

- Patient -- tend to define themselves by their desire for stable relationships with others; often view problems or concerns as workable

- Predictable -- favor routine and stable conditions and practices

- Persevering -- likely to stick to a project for longer periods of time or at least until the concrete results have been produced

- Modest -- less likely to "blow their own horns," but are often appreciative when others sincerely acknowledge their contributions

- Accommodating -- like to get along with others through predictable role relationships

- Neighborly -- prefer friendly, pleasant, helpful working relationships
SOCIALIZERS
Direct and Open

Every country, culture, and sub-culture socializes their society's members into typical daily patterns of behavior. In this respect, both Ireland and Italy are often mentioned as settings where the Socializer type seems quite commonplace. Globally, people refer to them as highly emotional people who tend to "wear their hearts on their sleeves." The Irish are known for their animated, interactive storytelling and neighborhood socializing. In fact, these immigrants with similar lifestyles have settled many areas of the Northeastern United States as Irish-Italian communities.

Italians' Socializer attributes have made them world-famous in the performing arts, restaurant and hospitality fields, and other person-to-person areas such as fashion and sales. How often have you described a native Irishman or Italian you have met by the following general description of the Socializer tendencies?

- Optimistic -- prefer to view life's positives; often block out negative situations, facts, concerns

- Fast-paced -- talk, move, and do most activities rather quickly

- Emotional -- readily show their feelings and respond to others' feelings

- Approval-seeking -- look to others for acceptance and re-energizing; want people to approve of and like each other, too

- Fun-loving -- seek an upbeat, positive, casual atmosphere and love a good party, especially with friends

- Excitable -- show emotions and become enthusiastic, at best; rattled, at worst, when pressured or tired

- Spontaneous -- behave impulsively; dislike planning or dealing with follow-through details

- Expressive -- at times, they may forget and divulge secret information; or they may say too much to the wrong people
THINKERS
Indirect and Guarded

Under adverse political and geographic conditions, two Thinker countries have historically figured out creative, intuitive ways to survive. Both Sweden and Switzerland have harsh winter climates, but they have mastered the art of survival. Switzerland, especially, boasts a substantial corner on the market of world finance. For a small country, it controls a disproportionate amount of the world's money. And Sweden, long known as a land that appreciates beauty, continues to have a worldwide impact in exporting its aesthetic talents, products, and services resulting from cultivated efforts.

Whether watching a professional tennis match or beauty contest, we frequently see a representative from sparsely populated Sweden in the running for top honors. And whether shopping for distinctive items -- such as Scandinavian sweaters, needlework, furniture, crafts, or other unique objects -- or tasty and eye-catching bakery goods, the artistic flair of the Swedish heritage has universal appeal.

Which of the following Thinker characteristics listed below match individuals you know with cultural roots similar to those discussed above?

- Careful -- methodical and cautious; don't jump into things initially

- Precise -- need to be accurate, so they check and recheck in their effort to find the right or best available answer

- Proper -- more formal, discreet, and inclined to allow others to be in their own space, expecting the same for themselves

- Private -- keep thoughts to themselves; do not willingly disclose their own or others' thoughts and feelings

- Reserved -- somewhat formal and cool; takes time to get to know them -- they have few close relationships

- Logical -- process-oriented seekers of reason

- Inventive -- like to see things in new or unique ways; often have a unique perspective that includes or addresses both themselves and others

- Contemplative -- introverted and reflective, they ponder both the "why" and "how" elements in situations
DIRECTORS
Direct and Guarded

Two cultures that have produced many Directors are northern, industrialized Germany and South Africa.

Germany's reputation for producing internationally-known, high-quality products that function well, such as BMW automobiles and Leica cameras, has been earned in part by their Director-like tendencies such as focus and motivation. Their desire to be #1 (and their ability to have a good time) is seen in the huge effort they devote to organizing the annual Octoberfest - arguably the best beer festival in the world.

How often have you described people you know of German or South African background by the following behavioral descriptions of the Director temperament?

- Take charge -- naturally seek direct control and want to run things their way

- Controlling -- fear losing personal power or status

- Competitive -- want to win

- Motivated to be #1 -- seek being first or "on top" whether other people approve or not

- Task-focused -- strive to get the job done, often less aware or oblivious to others' feelings, which may make them appear insensitive

- "No nonsense" view life -- in terms of overcoming the obstacles to their successful achievement of desired results

- Strong-willed -- once they make up their minds, they prefer to stick to their ideas, even becoming headstrong, especially under stress

- Impatient -- expect other people to help them get results, ASAP!!!

- Fast-paced -- often somewhat involved with many projects simultaneously; may even exhibit "workaholism" tendencies

Here's to more personal insight,


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