TYPE FIVE: THE OBSERVER

Fives believe that rational knowledge and information are essential for surviving in the world and for maintaining control in one’s environment. As such, they often prefer to detach themselves from the environment in order to observe and understand it. In the workplace, they believe that:

  • an organization should be structured to facilitate rational management, lest there be chaos and confusion
  • people need to be aware of the overall vision of the organization to understand the relevance and value of each of its structures, systems and processes
  • emotional decisions should never replace rational, logical thinking

These beliefs reflect an underlying set of values that focus on intelligence, acquisition of knowledge, exploration of theories, and time to test for possible outcomes. Fives feel valued when they acquire mastery and expertise in an area of knowledge that is of interest to them. Unusual hobbies, collections, or special interest activities are common. At high functioning levels, Fives demonstrate extraordinary perceptiveness and insight, and a searching intelligence from which nothing escapes notice. They are innovative and analytically gifted, seeing possibilities where many others see none.

Sometimes, however, their desire to gather data and theorize can lead to analysis paralysis, and they may appear to others as indecisive and slow to act. They struggle with excessive objectivity and knowing when to move from investigation to action. As private people who often have not developed ease in social situations, they can often be uncomfortable with small talk and discussions of emotional issues. Except for a few close friends, Fives will resent people whom they see as intruding in their private space, whether it be their physical office or personal topics that they prefer to keep to themselves. Fives thrive on independence, and may resist deadlines, close supervision or excessive direction. While they attempt to control the environment through intellectual understanding, they do not want to be controlled by others.

Fives grow when they learn to balance their analytical, rational thinking with an equal attention to their feelings and emotions. They also enhance their lives by expanding their private circle to include more people and increasing the amount of socialization in their lives. When they acknowledge that life is not an intellectual contest, their lives can be enriched by nurturing, supportive relationships.

At their best, Fives are capable of synthesizing and integrating disparate ideas for the development of original and profound visionary concepts.

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