Type A and B Differences
The potential for fireworks in a relationship increases when a type A personality marries a type B. That’s just what my husband and I did. Did we realize this when we got married? Heck, no! We were in love! I laugh now when I think of the song I wrote and sang to him on our wedding day. It was all about my knight in shining armor. Very corny! I did have a glimpse into Greg’s extrovert and take-it-easy side, but he was a pro-ball player and my hero!
There are basically three areas we will focus on in this article that have helped us move successfully through our Type A and B differences. First, we’ve learned to understand each other and how we are different. Second, we’ve aimed to manage our expectations. And third, our goal has been to appreciate and be thankful for each other. Those three areas have not always been easy, but have made all the difference in our marriage, now of many years. (see How to Successfully Grow Old Together)
Understanding Each Other's Differences
A type A personality usually finds fulfillment in completing projects, whether it’s at home or at work. They are driven and proactive. They also multi-task and are usually good at doing several things at a time. The type B personality is usually more reflective and innovative from the time spent thinking. They usually like to do one thing at a time and are less competitive on projects.
The type A personality tends to set time restraints. I understand this principle very well as I have done this on multiple albums and even musicals. When I went to produce two of my musicals on a stage for their world premieres, I booked the theatres, then auditioned the actors. In both instances, the script, or book as it is called, was in transition. But I knew that I had a hard deadline. Per union rules, you only have six weeks to rehearse a cast before a performance, so all changes need to occur during that time. That definitely added a great deal of pressure on my schedule as the writer but I knew I’d get it done and did just that!
The type B personality is not as affected by time restraints. In fact, they may not create a creative project with a hard deadline. I have known musicians who have never quite finished their album project because it wasn’t quite right. So much time was spent on reflecting, rewriting and self-evaluation they couldn’t actually get it done. This is why those personalities work well with a good manager who will keep them on task. It’s important to note that with any main characteristics of both personality types, those components cross over to either type, especially with individual projects.
One of the main areas my husband and I have learned to work through our differences is to manage our expectations. It’s so easy for a type A personality to think, Why didn’t you get to that project yet? You’re just procrastinating! A type B is wondering, What is the big deal? There’s plenty of time! In our case, my husband would be thinking farther out as he was reflecting on the process. I definitely was not good at understanding this at the beginning of our marriage! As a type A personality, I wake up and start working right away. My husband, working in the financial service business, was thinking How much money do I need to make this year? So there was no urgency in making as many deals as possible at the start of his day. And he was still very successful.
This sort of urgency is carried out in multiple ways, not only in business. It can appear when purchasing a home, in projects around the house and even in travel plans. Every situation is different. This definitely applies to work relationships as well. A type B personality can be a huge asset to a company with foresight, then insight and value they provide to a project or product. Learning to work together is the key, combined with patience and understanding.
Appreciation and Thankfulness
As my husband and I have learned to understand our differences, we’ve also learned to affirm and appreciate how we are different. I started understanding my type A personality even more after having a son who is of the same temperament. This son was the reason I quit homeschooling and I wish I knew then how similar our driven personalities were. It would have saved me a lot of grief! I’ve now learned to appreciate who he is.
My husband has also learned to appreciate who I am and vice versa, especially through the many years we’ve been together. Our differences are also apparent with an upcoming trip we are taking to Europe. I made all the travel arrangements and he is reading up on history, discovering side tours that would be interesting, specific to our trip. He even recommended a great historical movie. (Check out Midway!) I am thankful for the detail he is providing now and my appreciation for his insight has grown throughout the years. (see The Mindset of a Grateful Heart)
In summing this up, whether a personal, family or working relationship, successful teams end up developing a rhythm. From many personal examples, one of the most difficult aspects of becoming a widow is the loss of rhythm. You allow (or expect) your spouse to do certain things and your spouse expects you to do the same. Some of those expectations almost become unconscious and when one passes, you realize that half of you isn’t there anymore. Things that normally got done now aren’t. This is especially true for many women in the area of finances.
That principle can also be true in a working relationship. Appreciate the rhythm that is created from your different personalities. Seek to first understand yourself, then focus on understanding, appreciating and thanking those who have characteristics that complement yours. That will go a long way in creating your happiness, accomplishment and making our world a better place!