Have you had that conversation with a friend where they despair that a friend, family member or work colleague has done ‘something’, and they just can’t understand why?
I’ve had a growing interest in people and personalities for years, starting with passing curiosity to taking the time to study the subject at university and in my career. There’s an old proverb (there always is, isn’t there….?) that couldn’t be more appropriate for this post:
“There’s nowt so queer as folk” (The Mad Hatter)
When I have studied personality types before, it was more about understanding those personalities from an academic perspective and how the study of personality types has evolved over the years. In short, and taken from my final dissertation thesis:
The key theories covered during the epistemological research were Galton’s (1884) Lexical Hypothesis, Allport & Oddberts (1936) Lexical Database, which was a devolution of Galton (1884) as this database condensed the original database down to circa 17’000 words. Following this period of relative stagnation (Allport and Odbert (1936)) inject impetus into the study of trait analysis (about 5,000 adjectives linked to traits) which leads to the invention of 16PF (16 Personality Factors) by Cattell (1943). This body of work would eventually be reduced down by 2 clever people (Murray Barrick and Michael Mount in 1981) to what are now considered to be the Big 5, 5 personality traits present in us all in varying degrees.
- Extraversion – (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved)
- Agreeableness – (friendly/compassionate vs. critical/rational)
- Openness to experience – (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious)
- Conscientiousness – (efficient/organized vs. extravagant/careless)
- Neuroticism – (sensitive/nervous vs. resilient/confident)
Well, what I’m saying is that it’s all rather…. stale. What I want to know is what does it mean?
- Why is it that people do the most unusual things?
- Why do people make stupid decisions?
- Why are some people so unreasonable?
- Why are some people so selfish?
Well, the Greek’s got hold of this and came up with their own system, which I’m a huge fan of. You might have even come across some of these before, but let’s take a look and see what they mean today. Hopefully, you’ll be able to make better sense of your friends, family and colleagues using this system, but most importantly, I’d love to know which one you are!
So, here they are, The…
(MALE) – So we all know this guy, right? Loud, charming, charismatic drives a flashy car… in positions of leadership (or has ambitions to get there), has big muscles and in no way is a shrinking violet, he’ll also have an appropriately sized ego to match. In short the Alpha will let you know he’s the Alpha.
These people don’t hold back, they do everything in life at 100%, regardless of whether they are right or wrong (they always think they are right) which can be exhausting for others. People naturally gravitate to Alphas because of these traits. On a primitive level they are attractive. Alphas tend to take the most out of any given situation and are likely to be successful in whatever field they’re in. But, there are some flaws in these characters. They can be superficial, lack emotional intelligence and, therefore, in relationships are only compatible with submissive partners. Alphas will use whatever, and whoever, they need to in order to achieve their goals. Proceed with caution.
(FEMALE) – She’s a rockstar! Stops a room dead when she walks in. She has all of the male characteristics (perhaps not the big muscles part), she is a powerhouse and even makes men nervous.
Among her peers, she’s the queen bee. Her friends will always value her opinion higher than others around them. They will all secretly want some of her charm, confidence, and beauty. Alpha women don’t care about other people’s opinion; she’s pretty headstrong and determined to get things done…. her way! She’s not intimidated by powerful men either, in fact she sees them as a game to play. Don’t get me wrong, she has emotions but guards them very closely. In relationships, she’ll need a very strong individual to keep her interest.
CAREERS – Leadership roles, Front of House, Project Management, high-pressure roles.
- Dominant, commands a room just with their personality
- Self-assured and confident, doesn’t need anybody’s validation
- Sometimes loud… ok, maybe more than just sometimes
- Forthright and don’t we know it
- Selfish.. but they can’t see that
- Loves to be at the centre of attention
(MALE) – He’s modest, easy-going and has a strong sense of responsibility. He’s the perfect next-door neighbour and ideal if you’re looking for a life partner. Naturally submissive, most other female personality types will get on well with a Beta male.
There’s so many positives about the Beta male, he’s a great listener and will empathise with anybody, he will offer sincere and meaningful advice, but… Given his passive nature, a Beta male’s personality (true personality) might not ever really shine through because he will always be putting everybody else’s needs before his own. He might even have confidence issues.
At work, the Beta male’s qualities make him a great team player. He will always give his best to a task for the good and benefit of the group, but this means he’s vulnerable with more ambitious colleagues who will claim credit for themselves. This means the Beta is often misunderstood and underestimated and will be passed over for promotions.
(FEMALE) – Sensible Suzie…like her male counterpart, she’s totally reliable and will be the one who brings the cakes into work. She’ll never get the same level of attention as her Alpha boss, but she doesn’t need, or want, it.
Her stoic reliability make for an amazing friend, (everybody needs a Beta friend), although she’s not the popular centre of attentions she’s the one you’ll go to when you need a shoulder to cry on. Her kind heart means that most people will warm to her, and while she may feel a little bit uncomfortable in large social gatherings, she’ll do her best to support you.
If your girlfriend is a Beta, compliment her and let her know how much you value her, because she’ll never see her own true value.
CAREERS – Care Giving roles, Nursing etc.., Customer Services (any industry, Beta’s love to serve)
- Friendly and loves being helpful
- Avoids conflict and can be sensitive
- Will try to fit in
- Seek acceptance (knowingly or unknowingly)
- Being kind and considerate is important
- Looks to connect on a deeper level
- Self-protection and knowing their self worth is important, this gives them incredible emotional strength
(MALE) – The shy guy… think about the total opposite of an Alpha. Here we have a guy that doesn’t only lack the drive to pursue his goals, he probably hasn’t set any in the first place. His view and ability to look into the future is pretty short term, so his ability to focus will be limited and therefore there might be lots of unfinished projects.
Gammas might be similar to Betas in that they are quick to say yes, the proverbial ‘Yes Man’, taking more and more out of their bosses in-tray, but the problem is that this enthusiasm probably doesn’t correlate to an ability to get all of the work done.
Romantically, they’re a bit clingy and at risk of being cheated on. They’ll rely on their partners to take the lead in relationships which might be ok for their partners, depending on their own personality types. But a lack of self-esteem will be an ever-present issue, and partners will have to be careful not to dent their confidence.
(FEMALE) – She actually differs from her male counterpart in that she is future focused! Like the Alphas, the Gamma female knows what she wants in life but instead of grabbing it with both hands and taking it, the Gamma female will ‘set the conditions’ to make her soon to be partner fall for her. Clever! Once she has her partner, she’s likely to mate for life.
Like the males, she will happily help out a friend or colleague, but the key difference is she knows the extent of her ability; she won’t bite off more than she can chew. The gamma woman is a strong, and intelligent woman.
CAREERS – Management and planning positions, Public Sector is a good fit
- Driven and hyper organised (lists for lists)
- Confident and independent
- Knows their worth and takes pride in their work and actions
- Forthright and will stay true to themselves
- Doesn’t rely on anyone else to do their job
- Can be difficult for others to come into the Gammas world, Gammas attract Gammas
(MALE) – The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet are Alpha and Omega, and in Christianity the letters are used to refer to God and Jesus in the Book of Revelations, Omega is also a famous Swiss watch maker. No idea where I’m going with this, so I’ll just get on with the personality type. Omega is at the opposite end of the Greek alphabet to Alpha, and similarly, it is the antithesis of the Alpha personality type.
The Omega male is driven by something different, it’s not money, women, fast cars or anything like that, so for some they are difficult to read. Generally laid back, they are happy in their own company and will happily sit and play computer games for hours on end. Uninspired by getting a ‘job’, he’s intelligent enough to know the value of others, but will rarely commit everything to a task, he’s there in body, not in mind. The Omegas will do what’s necessary to keep their job, and aren’t excited by doing a great job. That said, Omega’s do like to be dependable, after all they are intelligent (they just make different choices to others).
Romantically, he likes to do things on his terms and wants to be sure that his needs are being met. That’s not to say that his partner doesn’t get a vote, but Omegas choose their partners carefully because of this. They generally don’t like partners who need a lot of attention, it’s not uncommon to find Omega’s single, happy, but single.
(FEMALE) – The Omega female is as intelligent as her male opposite, and unlike the difference between Gamma males and females, the Omega female is like the male. Like her male counterpart, the Omega female is intelligent, situationally aware and does have a degree of emotional intelligence. She’s not interested in pleasing others for the sake of it, and most of the time prefers her own company.
She’s a reader, she absorbs information and stays upto date on things, she might even be considered ‘nerdy’. Professionally, she’s happiest when she’s given an task and is allowed to complete that task on her own, because she has absolute belief in her own ability. Like the male, she’s not a great team player, but will help if asked. She’s not rude, she just lives in her own world.
Opinionated to the core, she may have similar forthright traits to the Alpha female, but she differs to the Alpha because she is sensitive, it’s just that she chooses not to show it. Not very organised, she’s got a messy desk or bedroom
Romantically, the best match for any Omega is another Omega. She’ll be committed to 1 person of nobody at all.
CAREERS – Management and planning positions, IT, public sector is a good fit. Anything that will stimulate the mind, repetitive jobs would be big no-no.
- Intelligent, romantic, and slightly introverted
- Overly sensitive
- Comfortable in their own company
- Usually bookworms
- Studious and through
- Keep themselves to themselves
- Can be difficult to make new friends and partners
- Known to bottle up feelings and therefore allowing pressure to build
- Use movies, books, literature to escape
(MALE) – You’d be forgiven for thinking that we’ve covered just about every type of person we possibly could by now. Welcome to the Delta male. Mr Delta, wants to be seen, heard and known (sounds like the Alpha!). However, he doesn’t quite have the natural magnetism that the exudes for 1 critical reason, he has self-esteem issues and on top of this, he’s prone to blaming others for mistakes where he can. Now, that’s not to say he has low self-esteem, he just doesn’t have it in abundance like the Alpha.
He’s an ambitious type and has the intellect to carry his desires far up the career ladder. He believes in hard work and fair play (not foul play) and as he can be quite competitive will work harder than his colleagues to make sure he wins or is seen to be the best among his peers. But it’s those esteem issue that will always let him down in the presence of an Alpha.
In relationships, if his partner is willing to put the effort in to unlock the Delta he will dote on her and make for a committed and devoted husband. He’ll often choose a modest and reliable partner similar to himself, rather than a partner with Alpha traits. He wants to get something from the relationship.
(FEMALE) – She’s a quiet type. Reserved and naturally introverted, she’s a little different from a Delta male. The Delta female looks at others and often wonders why they waste so much time and effort on the things in life that mean the least. She’s able to compete and achieve similar success to other female personality types but, can’t really be bothered.
She’s carefree and fanciful, others will see her as an unrealistic dreamer and to a certain extent that may be true. Happy to get lost in a book, the Delta female has a dirty little secret… she is secretly anxious and has confidence issues. Calculating, she loves to attend courses, improving herself personally and professionally but it’s not just about progressing through life, it’s how she deals with self-doubt.
CAREERS – Creative arts, music, anything but a computer and an inbox!
- Great communicators
- Self-conscious but can be shy
- Prone to self-sabotage unless brave enough to face their fears
- Similar to an Alpha but keeps their hopes and dreams to themselves (perhaps never pursuing them)
- Fear’s a broken heart so is reluctant to take risks, possibly due to being burned by past experiences
- However, they do like to learn from past experiences
- Empathetic and helpful to others around them, quick to solve other people’s problems.
(MALE) – Magicians (some may say manipulative), Sigma males have all of the dominant attributes of an Alpha but mask them until it’s advantageous to reveal them. Sigmas are cunning, sharp and emotionally intelligent, but aren’t influenced by emotions. Self-confidence is unquestionable, Sigmas don’t need anybody’s approval and might be seen as a lone wolf, they don’t follow the crowd and will do whatever they want, even Alphas are unsure of Sigma males! Sigmas are highly adaptable and will learn from, not only their mistakes, but the mistakes of others. They don’t engage in small talk as they see it as a waste of time, but when they do speak, it’s likely to have been well thought through.
Sigmas guard their emotions to the point that they may appear cold. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, their distance is a defence mechanism. The limelight isn’t the goal for the Sigma, quite the opposite, a Sigma seeks stability and power by pulling the strings not by being a puppet. He’s quiet by nature but behind those eyes, know that everything he does is intentional and calculated, he’s always planning and doesn’t switch off.
Highly ambitious, a Sigma will NEVER be happy unless they are their own boss, yes, they will be excellent employees, but they know that they are going through the motions.
Romantically, Sigmas are charming and charismatic but don’t crave the attention of an Alpha. He will need mental stimulation and freedom to act, but that aside, a Sigma is committed to his decisions and can be a loyal partner, but equally they are happy enough in their own skin and would prefer to be single than unhappy in a relationship.
(FEMALE) – As mysterious as her male counterpart, the Sigma female is irresistible. She has all of the Alpha female’s dominant traits and none of the negatives, and the reason for this is Sigmas are natural thinkers. She will find comfort in silence because this is where she can bring her strengths to bear (thinking). This must not be confused with daydreaming, Sigmas are calculating and plan for outcomes, they don’t dream.
She’s her own worst critic, the opinions of others are irrelevant as nobody can criticise her harder than she does herself, she’s ok with this perverse reality because it pushes her to be at her best all of the time. Happy to make friends, a Sigma female is more comfortable with 1 or 2 close trusted friends, group scenarios aren’t her thing so don’t expect to see Sigma females out on a Saturday night.
Romantically, she’s very picky with who she’s going to choose to be her partner. She will demand the highest standards of them because that’s what she demands of herself. Men will find a Sigma female very attractive because of her independence in life, outlook and ambition. She has a certain class about her that all other female personality types would love to have, even Alpha females look at her with a tinge of envy!
CAREERS – Leadership, Entrepreneurs, Senior managers
- Can be intimidating but also mysterious
- Combination of the other personality traits
- Focused on the goal not people.
- Very loyal and emotional (but that is hidden)
- Similar to Alphas but able to understand feelings
- Intriguing, powerful introverts.
- Commands the attention in a room by being there
- Prefers others to have the limelight
- No desire for praise or accolades
- Know’s how to play the game
- Devoted in relationships,
- Juxtaposition of power and vulnerable
Reading this, you might have identified your own personality type. Or, you may have found that you have bits of one and bits of another that fit better with you; that’s totally fine.
These personality types aren’t fixed, you’re not born a Gamma and that’s you for life! Things change, people change, these are just the primary traits that make you, you.
The point here is to have a better understanding of those personality types and to see if you can leverage their strengths of any that you identify with. Similarly, you might recognise some of the flaws, in yourself and others, and this means that you can get to work making improvements or helping others.
Have fun with it, share this with your friends (unless you’re a Sigma, because you’ve probably decided you don’t need any 😉).