Here is a description of the four personality types based on Gary Smalley’s writings:
- Lion- This personality likes to lead. The lion is good at making decisions and is very goal-oriented. They enjoy challenges, difficult assignments, and opportunity for advancement. Because lions are thinking of the goal, they can step on people to reach it. Lions can be very aggressive and competitive. Lions must learn not to be too bossy or to take charge in other’s affairs.
Biblical Example: Paul
Case Study: Acts 9:3-19
Strength: Goal-oriented, strong, direct
Weakness: Argumentative, too dictatorial
Limitation: Doesn’t understand that directness can hurt others, hard time expressing grace
- Otter- Otters are very social creature. Otter personalities love people. They enjoys being popular and influencing and motivating others. Otter can sometimes be hurt when people do not like them. Otter personalities usually have lots of friends, but not deep relationships. They love to goof-off. (They are notorious for messy rooms.) Otters like to hurry and finish jobs. (Jobs are not often done well.) The otter personality is like Tigger in Winnie The Pooh.
Biblical Example: Peter
Case Study: John 21:1-22
Strength: People person, open, positive
Weakness: Talks too much, too permissive
Limitation: Remembering past commitments, follow through with discipline
- Golden Retriever- Good at making friends. Very loyal. Retriever personalities do not like big changes. They look for security. Can be very sensitive. Very caring. Has deep relationships, but usually only a couple of close friends. Wants to be loved by everyone. Looks for appreciation. Works best in a limited situation with a steady work pattern.
Biblical Example: Abraham
Case Study: Genesis 12-22
Strength: Accommodating, calm, affirming
Weakness: Indecisive, indifferent, unable to express emotional, too soft on other people
Limitation: Seeing the need to be more assertive, holding others accountable
- Beaver- Organized. Beavers think that there is a right way to do everything and they want to do it exact that way. Beaver personalities are very creative. They desire to solve everything. Desire to take their time and do it right. Beavers do not like sudden changes. They need reassurance.
Biblical Example: Moses
Case Study: Exodus 3-4
Strength: High standards, order, respect
Weakness: Unrealistic expectations of self & others, too perfect.
Limitation: Seeing the optimistic side of things, expressing flexibility
Have you taken our Personality Inventory?
For a humorous skit on the four different personalities see A Personality Skit.
If you would like information on how these personalities work together see the wonderful book “The Treasure Tree” by John & Cindy Trent and Gary & Norma Smalley, Word Publishing. This is a book for all ages.
Return to Other Articles page
Create PDF of Article