Tim Bryce: Understanding the Trump personality

The media and a substantial number of people in this country do not seem to understand Donald Trump, claiming he is crude, racist, greedy, and worse.

The reality is, they really do not understand such a person.  In my 40 years of travel through the corporate world, I have met my fair share of Donald Trumps, be it here in North America or overseas.  He is certainly not unique.

In psychological parlance, people such as Trump possess a “Type A” personality (there are four:  A, B, C, and D).

The “Type A” person possesses a strong entrepreneurial spirit, typically representing the captains of industry.  These are the “movers and shakers.” As gamblers, they know how to quickly calculate risk and will not proceed until they are convinced it is the correct course of action.

Occasionally they are wrong, but they are smart enough to know how to back out of a deal as opposed to continuing uninterrupted to disaster.

One key attribute is their stubborn independence.  As mavericks, they hold the cards and want to play the game their way.  They do not like to be told what to do.

It is extremely difficult to paint such people into a corner as they are always thinking two or three steps ahead.  This explains why they want to dominate a situation and are competitively driven.

Such people are normally quite intelligent, be it through formal education, pedigree, or a healthy dose of common sense.  I met one such person who did not have much of an education, other than a high school diploma, yet possessed uncanny street smarts.

He understood what the market wanted, created a company from nothing, and made it a first-class operation.  I found him to have more savvy about his industry than 90 percent of the corporate managers I have met.

To the “Type A” person, the company is an extension of his personality.  If it is successful, he is successful.  The same is true with failure.

Not surprising, they are driven by accomplishment and possess a no-nonsense approach to business. They are not easily distracted.  They are usually well organized and understand the power of communications.  Project delays and cost overruns are closely monitored.  They can understand accidents and forces detrimental to project completion, but the one thing they cannot tolerate is incompetence.

Consequently, the “Type A” person prefers frankness to excuses.

It is not unusual for the “Type A” to become a friendly bully to encourage others to improve their performance.  Normally, they have an acerbic tongue and challenge their people through cynical teasing.  They are interested in challenging a person rather than just being overbearing.

To them, they are trying to use humor as a tool, but not everyone appreciates that.  While some may take such criticism negatively, “Type A” people normally are fair in their observations.  Aside from this, they have a playful side and an infectious enthusiasm that inspires workers and creates loyalty. This also causes customers and vendors to like them.

The “Type A” person understands the power of appearances, and dresses accordingly.  Likewise, they are acutely aware of business etiquette and use it for their benefit, such as making introductions, thanking people, tipping, commending employees, buying gifts and more.

Not everyone appreciates a “Type A” person. “Type D” personalities resist change and prefer the predictability of routine operations. They are not adventurous, resist responsibility and prefer to be told what to do.  They are the antithesis of the “Type A” and will naturally clash with them.

The question before American voters is whether a “Type A” businessman like Trump could be an effective president.

Before we answer, let us consider the effects of having presidents who were a peanut farmer, a community organizer, professional politicians, and oilmen.


Tim Bryce is a freelance writer in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. http://timbryce.com/ Column courtesy of Context Florida.

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