To become a musician, I had to learn the different genres of music. Each genre has its own specific style and rules for how it’s to be played. If you know the genre of the song you’re playing, you can perform better and improve your results with your audience.
People are like music in this sense. There are specific personality types, or genres, that have common elements to how they prefer to deal with people, time, tasks, and situations.
If you know the different genres of people, you can follow their rules and get better results working with them.To become a leader, I had to learn the different genres of people.
What’s Your Genre?
The first step to better results with people is to know your own genre. Are you Classical, Rock & Roll, Pop, or Jazz?
The Classical Genre
Classical music is precise. It’s detail oriented. The composers tell the musicians exactly what notes to play, and exactly how loud or fast to play them. Then the musicians play those notes exactly as written.
People who are Classical are much the same way. They value precision, accuracy, and doing things the right way. They are great with details and love to get into the weeds.
Like the musical genre, Classical people like things to be predictable and move forward in a logical, linear way. They want everything mapped out in advance so they know where they are and where they’re going.
Classical people don’t like surprises. They also don’t like chaos, broken rules, or coloring outside the lines. So when there’s a sudden change in plans or things are unclear, Classical people struggle. And they can fall victim to paralysis by analysis because of their need for detail and clarity.
But there’s no one better at knowing all the details and following all the rules than a Classical person.
The Rock & Roll Genre
Rock music is all about a driving beat pushing to a big finish. Its uses simple chord progressions and rhythms pushed forward by a clear and heavy downbeat. It’s direct, not so subtle, but very effective.
People who are Rock & Roll are all about the finish line. They are achievement oriented and like methodical progress toward a goal. They’re focused, assertive, and clear on what they want. For them, it’s all about getting things done, on time and under budget.
Like the musical genre, Rock & Roll types can be strong-willed, driven, and sometimes a little too loud or domineering. They need to be in control, so they push hard in the direction they want things to go. Though they are very good at this, they can sometimes lose sight of the needs of others, and come across as bossy or mean.
But no one gets things done like a Rock N Roller.
The Pop Genre
The point of pop music is to get people to sing and dance along with the song. It wants you to like it. Not to be impressed by its complexity, or thrilled by its adrenaline. Pop music wants you to hum along and have a sweet, happy time.
People of the Pop genre are the same. They want to be liked, and they want everyone to get along. They are all about the feelings and the experience. Pop people care about relationships more than results and will go out of their way to take care of others.
But they don’t like conflict, and will usually sacrifice their needs for the feelings of others. They would rather give in than argue, because they care more about the harmony of a group than getting their own way.
Others may perceive Pop people as weak and take advantage of their kindness and deference. But that’s okay. It’s a small price to pay to be popular.
Because everyone likes Pop people.
The Jazz Genre
Jazz is an intense and inspiring style of music. It uses complex chord structures, syncopated rhythms, and requires that musicians play the written notes, then improvise their own. It demands creativity and freedom in order to be played.
Jazz people are the improvisers of the world. They are big-picture creative types that love to inspire and influence others. Jazz people are cool, clever and hip folks who prize their freedom and seek to express themselves in innovative ways.
They can be the life of the party, the center of attention, and the source of great positive energy.
They can also be a pain in the ass.
Jazz folks tend to gloss over the details and bend the rules. And they often show up late and push things to the very last minute. They can irritate with their impulsiveness, and make the other genres of people a bit uncomfortable.
But when the situation calls for a creative approach, Jazz people can jump in, inspire others to action, and save the day with their great improvisation skills and showmanship.
Identify Your Genre And Play To Your Strengths
Can you see yourself in these different genres? Most of us are dominant in one of them, but you may be a combination of two or more. But the first step in getting better results with people is to know your own genre. Then play to your strengths.
So if you’re Pop, don’t try to push others to get results. That’s not you. Use your caring and niceness to get them to like you and want to hum your tune.
If you’re Classical, dive into the weeds and be an expert. Know all there is to know about your topic and help others with analysis and detail. This is your gift.
If you’re Rock ‘N Roll, push hard to the finish, and be direct. It’s what you’re good at, so go hard and get things done.
If you’re Jazz, don’t stress about the planning and details. You are the master of improv and creativity, so follow your instincts and be awesome. You will be admired for it.
Then once you’ve figured yourself out, we’ll talk about how to figure out the genres of the people around you…