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Understanding the 4 Personality Types: A, B, C, and D of Building Ace Team

Pratisrutee Mishra
May 31, 2024

Amidst the various interpretations of personality, understanding the Four personality types - A, B, C, and D, and its role in screening candidates can be difficult. This blog demystifies the basic four types of personality in psychology and breaks the surrounding myths to help you dive into the advantages it has to offer. 

The History of the Four Personality Types

Four personality types of humans were first mentioned and described by the philosopher and 'father of medicine', Hippocrates back in Ancient Greece. His description was primarily based on fluid composition of the human body or the Humoral Theory of medicine that classified people into 4 types of personality in psychology--Choleric, Phlegmatic, Sanguine, and Melancholic.

hippocrates quotes on 4 personality types

Fast forward to the mid 20th Century, and the ABCD personality types was an accidental discovery of Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman, two cardiologists who observed stark differences between two distinct behaviors of people. According to their formal research, Type A people were mostly competitive, hostile, aggressive, and were more prone to heart issues. 

4 personality types

On the other hand, Type B personality types were relaxed, patient and easy going and typically less likely to develop heart problems and blood pressure. Over time, they expanded their study to include two more categories 'Type C' and 'Type D'. While 'Type C' people were distinctively characterized by qualities such as being detail-oriented, precise and logical,  Type 'D' people are  known to be pessimistic and anxious. 

This study laid a framework that bridged contemporary belief to scientific insights and opened the opportunity to study the complexity of the human psyche in more detail. The types of personality in psychology influence not only what we do but also how we do it.

Therefore, personality tests are important tools to identify the right candidate that fits your job role, as well as your organization culture! Coming back to the main theme, how does personality evaluation help in fitment identification? Let's take a quick look at the compilation of people's personality types and their behavioral patterns in the context of hiring.

What is a Type A Personality?

Type A personality comes at the forefront of personality types A, B, C, and D. They hold the top position even in its core characteristics. This personality is fueled by a sense of urgency, a huge ambition and a competitive temperament. These are often the leaders or the managers at your organization. To find even a hint of type A's personality traits would mean you have found the hidden gems of your workforce. 

Type A Personality Characteristics

Type A personality can be characterized by their palpable energy. Individuals with this trait often strive to be on the top and seek perfection and excellence at work. These people are no doubt the best frontliners at their organization. Here's a checklist of traits to help you identify your type A personality: 

  • Time Conscious: Type A personalities thrive in start-ups and dynamic settings, driven by a constant sense of urgency.
  • Competitiveness: They are natural competitors, typically excelling and leading the pack through sheer determination.
  • Goal-Oriented: With a focus on setting and achieving ambitious goals, Type A individuals are key assets for their companies.
  • Multitasking: They are adept at handling multiple tasks, a skill highly valued in today’s fast-paced work environments.
  • Leadership: Type A’s are inclined towards leadership, adept at planning and inspiring teams with strategic vision.
  • Stress Tolerance: They perform best under pressure, showing remarkable resilience in the face of challenges.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Type A personality

While type A personality is a gem in the rough, they frequently suffer from overdoing themselves. People with this personality tend to be aggressive and exhibit less tolerance to obstruction. They may resort to an independent working style, which will make it hard for team members to approach or confront them. So, is their overall character a good fit for the workplace? Let's see:

types of personality in psychology

To identify Type A personality from a heap of qualified applicants, HRs can effectively rely on Situation-Judgmental Tests and Structured Behavioral Interview Questions. This tool directly or indirectly checks for the people's personality types with core behavioral traits such as impatience, hostility, competitiveness, and capacity. 

What is a Type B Personality?

The contrasting other personality in the quadrant is type B personality. It includes all individuals who prefer to go with the flow, and are flexible, relaxed and internally satisfied. These people have high social and interpersonal skills, are sensitive to their surroundings, and are less reactive to unfavorable conditions. They comprise a major portion of the workforce at every organization.

Type B Personality Characteristics

Type B personality people are like salt, while their presence may not be loud, but their absence speaks for the position they hold. Being laid-back and non-ambitious may make them sound like a less preferred candidate, but it's too early to judge this book by its cover. Here are some more characteristic traits of type B personality you must not ignore:

  • Relaxed Attitude: They remain calm under pressure, fostering a stress-free work environment, ideal for high-pressure roles.
  • Flexibility: Their adaptability and openness to change suit versatile roles and dynamic work settings.
  • Creativity: Known for innovative thinking, they thrive in roles that value creativity and new ideas.
  • Interpersonal Skills: With strong communication and listening skills, they enhance team collaboration and client relations.
  • Work-Life Balance: They prioritize balance, leading to well-rounded, satisfied employees less prone to burnout.
  • Non-Competitive Nature: Preferring collaboration to competition, they contribute to a cooperative team atmosphere.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Type B personality

Type B personality can bring a mix of advantages and disadvantages of hiring with them. Though they are certain about finding a balance and keeping things just right, they miss out on many opportunities and are often unwilling to take up hectic responsibilities. The table below will help you understand their personality as a whole: 

people's personality types

It is important to note that these characteristics are general to type B personality, however it may not apply to every individual with similar characteristics. This is because human nature is way too dynamic to have a certain conclusion. Hence, when you are considering candidates for a role, it is beneficial to look at the whole person and how their unique blend of traits fits with your job requirements and team dynamics. 

Type A vs. Type B Personality

Being in contrast to each other, they also make complimentary team members. Cracking the code of productive team dynamics involves identification and orientation of different personality types in their suitable position. Here is a comprehensive compilation of how type A personality and type B personality functions: 

personality and its types

While too little ambition can never build a high performing team, too much aggressive working can break one. Therefore, managers and HR professionals need to find a right balance with an  in-depth awareness of all the types of personality in psychology. 

What is a Type C Personality?

Unlike Type A or Type B personality, Type C is a combination of the best traits of both and some unique  characteristics of themselves. These individuals are cautious, focused, and consistent in all aspects of their life. They hide a ton of potential within themselves that can be unlocked with the right training and management. 

Type C Personality Characteristics

At its core, type C personality holds mystic characteristics that make them unique amongst all the other three personality types. They tend to be introverts, and prefer working alone most of the time. Team dependency draws their productivity down. The traits that are mostly observed in type C personality are as follows:

  • Quiet: They tend to be reserved and introspective most of the time.
  • Focused: Type C individuals are best known for their ability to concentrate deeply on tasks.
  • Introverted: They often prefer an independent working style and may have trouble opening up emotionally.
  • Thoughtful: Type C personalities are very considerate of others’ needs and strive for group harmony.
  • Controlled: They exhibit self-restraint and like to maintain control over their environment.
  • Cooperative: Despite their introverted nature, they work well within teams and strive for group harmony.
  • Creative: People of Type C personality have a creative side that can come up with innovative solutions.
  • Conflict-Resistant: These individuals tend to avoid conflict and prioritize maintaining peace.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Type C personality

Like every other personality type in psychology, Type C also comes in a package of both good and bad sides of themselves. It is important to weigh the proportion of strength and weaknesses in an individual belonging to type C personality. The composition of their traits may present this personality type uniquely for different situations and settings. The following table will help you check your preference over their positive and negative traits: 

pros and cons of personality types

As type C personality people are sensitive to their environment and to changes, a necessity to mold the system pops up. Aligning the role and work environment with the individual’s personality traits can maximize their potential and encourage them to make their best contribution towards the organization.

What is a Type D Personality?

'D' for distressed or discomforted is what people with Type D personality are characterized as. They have a high volatile mood, a tendency to experience negative emotions, and may resort to escaping when faced with challenges. Type D personality may exhibit lack of self-confidence and suffer from imposter syndrome. However, due to their extra cautious side, they are well prepared in advance to face adversities. How do they contribute to the workplace? Let's understand their core characteristics in detail.

Type D Personality Characteristics

  • Negative Affectivity: They frequently experience negative emotions like fear, anxiety, and depression.
  • Social Inhibition: Type D individuals often feel uncomfortable in social interactions and may avoid them altogether.
  • Pessimism: They tend to have a half-empty glass view of life and often expect negative outcomes.
  • Organized: They often prefer structured environments and can bring a high level of organization to their roles.
  • Supportive: Known for being caring and compassionate, they can provide strong support to their teams.
  • Problem-Solving: Despite their challenges, they can be effective problem-solvers when they feel secure in their roles.

In the workplace, Type D individuals might be more prone to stress and burnout due to their high levels of emotional distress and tendency to suppress their feelings. They may also find it challenging to form close relationships with colleagues, which can impact team dynamics.

Pros and Cons of Hiring Type D personality

Type D personality too comes with a range of good traits along with the bad. In a healthy and secure working environment, these individuals tend to perform their best and contribute meaningfully. Here's how hiring a type D personality can affect your workplace dynamics: 

various types of personality

Understanding these traits can help in making informed decisions when hiring or managing people with Type D personality talent. This personality type may require time to time counseling and encouragement to make them believe they are noticed and appreciated for their hard work. 

What is a Type X Personality?

A Type X personality is not one of the traditional four  different personality types A, B, C, or D but rather a composition of two or more of these types. Individuals with a Type X personality exhibit characteristics from different personality types, making them quite versatile and adaptable to various situations.

Some key traits of a Type X personality are Adaptability- Agility- Creativity- Unpredictability- Indecisive.

In the workplace, Type X individuals can be highly valuable due to their ability to adapt and their broad skill set. They can take on leadership roles using their Type A attributes or switch to a supportive role with Type B or C traits as the situation demands. This flexibility can be particularly useful in dynamic environments where roles and expectations frequently change.

4 personalities vs. Other Different Personality Type Models

As complex as the human psyche is, the personality differentiators too have a diverse range. From focusing on certain traits to observing the broad characteristics of individuals. To find the best tool that helps you assess your candidate, you must compare the available options. We have compiled the top personality model preferences of HR’s to screen their candidates as well as to check their existing workforce:

4 personality types

Each of these personality models alongside the ABCD personality type model offers unique insights into 'why people do what they do'. Assessing with personality model driven psychometric tests can be used for different HR operations such as hiring, team building, training, employee orientation, performance management, improving workplace environment, etc.

The personality types A, B, C, and D  surely provides a foundational understanding of people's personality types and preferences in the workplace. However, as the discovery of intricate traits and unique characteristics of the human psyche come to the forefront, a need for a more sophisticated and nuanced approach increases.

PMaps Assessment solutions ensure that you are ahead of the best practices in the industry with not only technology but also insights. Our assessments are based on the more detailed Big Five Personality Traits and the 16 personality factor model. It delves deeper into the complexities of human personality, offering a fair and holistic view of your candidates and employees. 

Backed by AI and ML-driven psychometric assessments, we are confident to transform your talent acquisition and management into informed decisions. Take the next step in your HR journey—try PMaps’ psychometric assessments for 7 days for free, starting today and unlock the full potential of your team! Want more? Contact us on or 8591320212 for a quick pilot!

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PMaps - Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about this blog through the commonly asked questions:

How were these personality types developed?

Various types of personality in psychology were developed through extensive research and theoretical analysis. Some early theories were given by Carl Jung and later developments by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs. It led to the creation of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). 

Some others like the Big Five personality traits were developed through empirical research and factor analysis. They identify key dimensions of personality such as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

Can a person exhibit traits from more than one personality type?

Yes, a person can exhibit traits from multiple types of personality in psychology. Personality is complex and multi-faceted, and individuals often display a range of behaviors and characteristics. It can span over diverse contexts and possible internal factors.

Can personality types change over time?

The various personality types in psychology can change over time, although core traits tend to remain relatively stable. As the life experiences, personal growth, and major life events provokes change, it is expressed or perceived as a trait. 

How can a team benefit from having a mix of personality types?

A team benefits from having a mix of various personality types by leveraging diverse perspectives, strengths, and problem-solving approaches. This diversity can lead to more creative solutions, better decision-making, and a more balanced approach to tackling challenges.

How can understanding these personality types improve team dynamics?

Understanding personality types in psychology can contribute to the right orientation of members in a team, thereby improving its dynamic. It fosters better communication, empathy, and collaboration, building a team where differences are appreciated, and inclusion is accepted. It helps in high productivity that aligns with each member's strengths and preferences.

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