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TYPE FIVE: THE OBSERVER

Click Here! Five's are observers: they have an overwhelming need to understand the environment and therefore are curious about everything. They tend to satisfy that curiosity by standing at the periphery rather than by getting centrally involved, or by investing heavily in their own units while sacrificing their relations with the larger organization. They frequently are knowledgeable in numerous areas and seem to enjoy learning purely for the sake of learning. This desire for knowledge may be generated by a need to protect themselves from an environment that they see as unpredictable or capricious. Five's use their knowledge as the raw material for building expertise, models, world views or organizations that serve as a home base for them. Not surprisingly, they are the most intellectually gifted of the types. In addition, they are highly independent-minded and are sensitive to outside forces that might deprive them of their independence.

Possible Origins. Five's felt intruded upon as children--their privacy stolen. Children who feel that they have to escape are going to find ways to distance themselves. One way is to stay in your room and close the door. Another way is to put up a wall of emotional distance by removing yourself from your feelings. Eventually you can learn to stand directly under the gaze of someone who is trying to pry into your life and not feel any reaction to their intrusiveness.

Flawed Five's find emotional involvement a problem. Part of this may be because they are thinkers rather than doers and thus less likely to be in contact with others, and part may be because they find it difficult to deal with the strong feelings that emotional involvement generates. They live with a sense of having limited resources and energy and of being easily exhausted by personal interactions.

As managers they may stand on the sidelines, functioning chiefly as knowledgeable observers, or they may create their own knowledge-based organizational Islands," which they then protect against possible incursion from the outside, especially on the part of powerful authorities. They are likely to supervise from behind closed doors -acting as decision makers who leave follow-through to others. Although they have good or workable relationships with subordinates, Five's often have underdeveloped or poor relationships with superiors and peers.

Well-adapted Five's have overcome their fear of the environment and by trusting it, they are able to put together observations, theories, and patterns in the environment in ways that others cannot They can do this only because they are able to hold in abeyance their need for structure while they formulate and develop new and often valuable ideas.

At their best, Five's as managers learn to relax their vigilant, self-protective posture toward the larger organization They put their considerable knowledge to work in conducting often highly original, even iconoclastic projects The instinct to hunker down serves them well because it leads them to give their all to their undertaking and to ignore or fend off criticism or attacks from the outside They are often the brains behind the scenes that stay cool while others distress.

Occupations. Among Five's we find theorists, inventors and engineers As managers they may gravitate toward staff functions They may also excel as line managers in starting a new and innovative organization, in spite of the doubts of others.

Finding Oneself.

Five's will probably agree with most of the following statements:
  1. I tend to keep my feelings to myself.
  2. I like to know what will happen ahead of time.
  3. I don't know how to engage in small talk very well.
  4. Intellectually I like to synthesize and put together different ideas.
  5. I need much private time and space.
  6. I often sit back and observe other people rather than get involved.
  7. I seem to be more silent than most others People often ask me that I'm thinking.
  8. I have trouble reaching out or asking for what I need.
  9. If an issue comes up, I like to first work it out by myself, then go discuss it with others.
  10. I like to put things in perspective, to step back and take everything in. If I leave anything out, I accuse myself of being so simplistic or naive.

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