What Is Your Type: Partner, Team or Solo?

Finding your niche in work depends on how well you know yourself. Well, I know myself, you say, let’s get on to the next steps: writing a killer resume, meeting people who want to hire me, and closing the deal. While these techniques may get you a job, a few months later, disappointment sets in when you realize you’ve repeated the past.

Surprisingly, many people do not know themselves, even highly paid professionals. They are so overextended, or driven by the need for a paycheck they don’t know what will bring fulfillment. Many are introverts who are wearing themselves out trying to keep up with extroverts. Others are extroverts who are bored because they are not getting enough stimulation.

How to Know You Are in the Right Niche

The right niche in work makes the best use of your personality type, temperament and aptitude. While the challenges seem beyond you at times, you take them on with a spirit of adventure, which transforms you into a better, wiser person. Additionally, since you and the people with whom you work have the same values, conflicts are resolved.

By contrast, the wrong niche in work is at odds with your values, temperament and skills, a mismatch that provokes ongoing conflicts with co-workers, superiors, customers or clients. But if you are willing to dig deeply until you find your authentic self, you won’t have to wait for retirement to do what you really want to do.

The following three personality types are not mutually exclusive; as with extroversion and introversion some traits cross over. But one type is your optimal way of relating to others at home and work. It will take several tries to get it right, but each job or business prepares you for your ultimate goal.

The Partner Type

Are you at your best when you interact with one other person? Do you like to say and hear, “What do you think?” If so, you are a partner type. The “partner” can be someone who starts a business with you, an agent, or client. The key is that the interaction is one-on-one. Here are more characteristics of your personality type:

  1. You need to be alone about half of the time.
  2. Creativity increases when you work with a partner.
  3. You are a good listener.
  4. You are motivated by praise from your partner.

Other clues that you are the partner type: you always had one close friend, even in childhood. You are happiest when paired, in romance, sports, at dinner. You are fascinated by duos; famous teams intrigue you.  You would like to be part of one yourself.

The Team Type

If you are the team type personality you feel at home in groups, clubs, and as a member of political and charitable organizations. You like “hot” environments where there is plenty of action. Here are more traits that define your team personality:

  1. You need to be alone about 20 percent of the time.
  2. You are gregarious and outgoing.
  3. Creativity increases around teammates.
  4. You are motivated by praise from your supervisor and team.

Other clues that you are a team type: you grew up in a large family, you had many friends throughout school years, and your contact list grows over time. You love team sports, and you would like to be a member of an outstanding team.

The Solo Type

If you like to look at an end result and say, “I did that” you are a solo. That can be the operation you perform, the company you build, the sale you make, the project you create from scratch, or the house you remodel. Here are more traits that describe your personality:

  1. You need to be alone 60-80 percent of the time.
  2. Creativity increases when you work by yourself.
  3. You have a few close friends.
  4. Freedom is your number one priority.

Other clues that you are a solo type: you have a powerful imagination; you entertained yourself as a child; and, you made your own money at an early age. Others have always followed your lead, although you are not interested in leading others. You see yourself as distinct but not separate from others.

How Types Manage Stress

How you manage stress is another way to determine your personality type and temperament. For example, if you retreat from the outside world to regain balance you are a solo (introvert). As a partner, you talk things over with one other person (a mixture of introvert/extrovert). If you reduce stress by talking with many people you are the team type (extrovert).

Solos work well with teams as long as they can remain in an autonomous role, either as a consultant or contractor. Solos also do well in partnerships when the partner is another solo. The partner can feel comfortable with a group as long as it’s small. Team types do best around other team types. Since they thrive on stimulation they feel lonely and bored around partners and solos.

The Next Step

Take a look at where you are now. What is missing? What do you need more of or less of to thrive? What employer, client or customer will benefit from your type, temperament and abilities? Ask yourself what you can do for a long time, since longevity is necessary for the work to change you into a better person.

Once you are where you belong, you won’t want to be anywhere other than where you are. Nor will you compare yourself with others because you are making the contribution to society that is important to you (values again). If you are a handyman, a nurse, a writer or editor, the president of a company, a small business owner or a chef, the work will make you over and, at the same time, it will serve others.

Nancy Anderson is a career and life consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area and the author of the best selling career guide, Work with Passion, How to Do What You Love For a Living, and Work with Passion in Midlife and Beyond, Reach Your Full Potential and Make the Money You Need. Her website is workwithpassion.com.

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