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Personalities in PR

When introduced to the world of PR, the head of my first agency proudly proclaimed that “you have to be an optimist to succeed in PR”. His view was that such a people and relationship-oriented profession could only really be mastered by the bubbly, cheery, outgoing types.

This is not true, of course. PR teams, like in any creative industry, are strengthened by a diversity of thought; and problems are best solved by a diversity of solutions and approaches.

Businesses are not built on single personalities (or shouldn’t be, at least - see the FTX scandal or any of Elon Musk’s current ventures). The key is ensuring that your differing personality types are properly equipped to adapt to each other.

Collect your data

Before you can analyse the relationships and interactions within your team, first, like with any data, collection is needed. At Antidote, we use the DISC model, but many other models and tests exist and allow equally good comparisons.

At this point, it is worth saying that personality tests are not scientific facts. As a result, it’s not the outcome of any individual test that’s important, but rather how it helps people understand how they think and work. After each new starter at Antidote completes their personality test, they sit down with a coach to dissect their results and consider what resonates and what doesn’t. 

Use it wisely

People are not defined by a single adjective (or even, in the case of DISC, a colour), but the point of the exercise is to provoke discussion about the ways in which we all like to work. As well as interrogating our own personality traits and how that impacts our ways of working, we are also able to generate a rudimentary but relatively accurate map of the team’s personality mix. 

At a very basic level, this encourages everyone to consider how they can adapt their working styles to best suit their team members. Telling me I’m a ‘C’, for example, means absolutely nothing, but understanding how a questioning and analytical approach might affect others with a different style is crucial to team harmony. It encourages us to consider whether this person responds well to direct feedback, or whether an encouraging, positive-first approach would be more effective. 

We also apply this theory to our clients, and consider how our clients’ personalities might impact our work. Without the data, this is necessarily less precise, but we’re still able to adapt our communication methods and styles accordingly.

Individuals powering a team

The Antidote team is a testament to the power of a good personality mix. We each complement and balance each others’ strengths and weaknesses, and by encouraging discussion and collaboration, we can ensure that contrasting traits can produce excellence in harmony: directness and circumspection, patience and reactivity, enthusiasm and precision. 

No individual personality is inherently better suited to life at Antidote. Which is lucky for me, because, to return to that opening quote, I have never once been called an optimist… 


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