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Behavioral Traits

Intended Use Reminder The MERIT Profile™ is not a pass/fail assessment but rather a source of information designed to support selection, development and succession planning decisions. The end user accepts all responsibility to apply this information according to applicable laws and organizational procedures and responsible use includes consideration of all other relevant aspects of an individual's qualifications, such as prior experience, education and specific skills. A-Check America, Future Achievement International and Precision Human Development along with their agents or partners accept no liability for incidental or consequential damages resulting from the inappropriate use of this material.

The MERIT Profile™ was developed by A-Check America, Inc. and Future Achievement International® and is powered by Precision Human Development Ltd. (PhD).

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Behavioral Traits can be thought of as our “default mode”. The composition of our Behavioral Traits is established early in life through both genetics and the environment in which we were raised. They influence, for example, why some people are compelled to take control of situations, while others prefer to solve problems quietly in the background, why some like to be the life of the party, while others prefer to have a few deep friendships. These traits remain mostly unchanged throughout our adult life, and knowledge of Behavioral Traits can help us gain greater awareness of our motivations, fears, communication style preferences, and how we can best work with others based on our similarities and differences.

What is Behavioral Trait analysis? • Four-quadrant behavioral analysis theory goes all the way back to Hippocrates (460 BC). In the 1920s, Carl Jung began using standard four-quadrant behavioral analysis to assess behavior in the workplace. • Behavioral Trait analysis can help us understand how different people cope with their environment and what their present preferences are likely to be. It can also provide insight regarding potential performance in a particular job or function. It should be noted with regard to the MERIT Profile: • Everyone has some combination of all four traits. • All four traits are vital to functioning effectively. • No single trait is better than another. • An individual’s primary trait accounts for 50% of their behavioral tendencies. The top two traits combined account for approximately 80% of their behavior tendencies and preferences.

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Behavioral Traits

Behavioral Traits: A Quick Introduction



The Dominance Trait represents a person’s desire to exercise control over their environment.

The Extroversion Trait represents a person’s preference for communicating with others.

You will notice… self-confidence, decisiveness, a desire to lead, and risk-taking.

You will notice… enthusiasm, charm, sociability, relational skills, persuasiveness, and expressions of emotion.



The Conformity Trait represents a person’s preference for logical analysis and need for structure.

The Patience Trait represents a person’s pace or rate of motion in thought or work.

You will notice… cautiousness, an emphasis on detail and precision, restraint, perfectionism, and factuality.

You will notice… fortitude, a methodical approach, a team player, and concern for team members.

“Even though Behavioral Trait methodology allows us to group people together with similar people, giving us greater ability to predict their likes and dislikes, preferences and motivations, it is important to remember that people are complex and should be related to as individuals who have been uniquely shaped by their education, personal relationships and experiences.” – From Developing Authentic Leaders ™

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Behavioral Traits

In the MERIT Profile assessment, we use the following four terms in classifying the Behavioral Traits:

Behavioral Traits

Seeks to shape their environment by overcoming opposition and challenges.

Power, authority, challenge, clear answers, individual accomplishment, freedom from control. “The Control Trait�

Comfortable with assuming leadership, quick decision maker, direct and clear, good problem-solver.

Bottom-line results, risk-taking, challenge, assuming authority and delegating responsibility.

Lack of clarity or confidence, indecisiveness, small talk, and mediocrity.

Developing patience, asking more questions, tempering directness, and spending time with people you lead.

May seem intimidating, insensitive and impatient with others.

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Behavioral Traits

Shaping the environment by persuading and influencing others.

Social recognition, group involvement, freedom of expression and from control and details.

“The People Communication Trait�

Open and relational, generous with time, can inspire others, gives positive feedback and negative feedback positively.

An audience, to be liked, brainstorming, to party, play and laugh, surprises, and delegating.

Personal criticism, detailed technical challenges, pessimism, negativism, feeling isolated.

Being more specific in direction and praise, asking questions and listening better for real needs, and getting organized.

Instruction may lack enough detail, superficial approach, and lack of followthrough. Š 2014 Continuity Consulting -- 6

Behavioral Traits

Achieve and maintain stability, accomplishing tasks by cooperating with others.

Stability, sincere appreciation, cooperation, and use of established methods.

“The Rate of Motion Trait”

Good listener, empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others, express appreciation, and consistency of leadership style.

Leisure time, relational harmony, established routines, repetition, cooperation, and deliberateness.

Indecisive, may provide unclear directions, and hesitant to implement needed change.

Pressure, poor planning, ambiguity, spontaneity, unpredictability, and insider jargon.

Being more direct and assertive, leaning into change, and not taking on the weight of everyone’ else’s problems. © 2014 Continuity Consulting -- 7

Behavioral Traits Clear expectations, value placed on quality and accuracy, business-like atmosphere, and clearly articulated standards.

Working within circumstances to ensure quality and accuracy.

“The Level of Structure Trait”

Fairness, can be counted on to follow standards, conscientious, and willing to join in and get their hands dirty.

Clear rules and standards, sincerity, accuracy, limited risk, preparation, and security.

Criticism, slick talkers, flattery, inconsistency, unexpected behavior, and rule changes.

Accepting the differences of others, relating more to others, and encouraging creativity.

Overly perfectionistic and may hamper creativity by sticking to the rules.

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Behavioral Traits

What About You? Making Sense of Your Results In your MERIT Profile™ on the top of page 3 you will find a graph summarizing your Behavioral Traits results.

sample graph

What exactly are you looking for? 1.

Find your largest pie slice. It signifies your primary trait, which may explain up to 50% of your ‘default’ behavior. In the example above, Extroversion would be considered the primary trait.


Find your second largest pie slice. In this case it would be Dominance. These two highest scoring traits have a significant influence of your behavior – up to 80%.


The combination of Behavior Traits that comprise our default mode will result in various strengths and limitations. This is where character development plays an important role in providing discernment and relational maturity.


Sometimes all four bars are nearly identical in length. This is referred to as chameleon or facilitative behavior style. These individuals are able to better utilize whatever Behavioral Trait is appropriate to the situation.


The Behavioral Trait Definitions (also on page 3) provide a basic description of typical preferences and observable behavior in people who score high or low in each of the four traits.


In the case of a tie score, the results are read like a clockwise starting at Dominance. For example if D and C were both 5.5 as the highest score, D would be primary trait and C would be secondary. If another trait were higher than 5.5 in this scenario it would be the primary trait, and D would be secondary trait, even thought tied with C.

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The Behavioral Traits: Descriptive Overview (page 4) • If you have not reviewed these statements beforehand, take a few minutes to read them now. We encourage you to put a plus sign next to statements that resonate as true to you and a question mark next to questionable or confusing statements (before discarding these too quickly, you might want to discuss them with a friend, spouse, or your coach). • Most people find that over 80% of the statements ‘ring true’ to them. • Behavioral Traits represent your ‘default mode’, or the way you are naturally compelled to act. • The more you are aware of these ‘defaults’, the better. It will also provide confirmation of your uniqueness and greater awareness that not everyone is wired like you. • As we understand more about ourselves (self awareness) and others (social awareness), we learn to appreciate others’ differences and we can then modify our communication style in our interactions with others.

Behavioral Traits

What about you?

As you read through the summary statements, look for cautionary statements. For example: “may come across as aloof or indifferent to people” or “can get bogged down in the details”. These can alert you to specific limitations inherent to each of the traits. Believe it or not, there are situations in which your ‘default’ behavior isn’t necessarily the most appropriate behavior. Even strength areas can be overrelied upon and overused. Since Behavioral Traits influence so much of our conduct, preferences and reactions, it takes intentionality to break out of well-established patterns. In fact, the innate ‘defaults’ of your primary Behavioral Trait will likely remain a limiting factor in your personal and professional life unless deliberately addressed through character and skill development. Through mentoring and intentional personal development, someone with:





Can learn to …

Can learn to …

Can learn to …

Can learn to …

Better identify with others and play a supportive role when appropriate.

Manage time more effectively and value a focus on details and results.

Assert themselves when necessary and be more open to change.

Participate in groups, handle conflict and accept critique of their work more effectively.

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Now that you have had the opportunity to consider your Behavioral Traits results, there is a good chance that you have already increased your selfawareness to some degree and have thought of one or two areas you would like to address. Let’s quickly review them again and make a plan of action.

Ask someone you trust to weigh in


After reading the Descriptive Overview (page 4), a ‘trusted other’ in your life – a spouse, close friend or manager –should be able to give you some helpful feedback. As you read through the results, some of the descriptor phrases may not immediately ring true to you, but don’t discard or discount the results too quickly. They may potentially be blind spots or areas of which you are not yet fully aware. Ask _______________________________ to review the results with you and provide feedback.

Choose a strength to leverage


Using the Descriptive Overview (page 4) as your guide, choose one strength area and consider how you can begin using it more deliberately and effectively, whether in your personal or professional life, or both. Strength area ______________________________

Choose a ‘cautionary’ area to address


Again, using the Descriptive Overview (page 4) as your guide, choose a cautionary statement that you want to address. Ask your ‘trusted others’ about this area in your life. Then ask them to let you know if they notice you defaulting to this less appropriate mode of behavior. Caution ____________________________________ © 2014 Continuity Consulting -- 11

Behavioral Traits

Action Steps

Your Guide to the MERIT Profile: Behavioral Traits  

A helpful companion booklet to the portion of the MERIT Profile that focuses on Behavioral Traits