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Sensei Interaction Personalities 
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‘SENSEI INTERACTION PERSONALITIES’ is a personality assessment tool used by professionals to understand and improve the way they interact with others, especially when dealing with conflicts. 

The Concept

We learn to interact with others throughout our lifetime, and the way we interact is governed by our personalities, values, experiences etc. We tend to adopt what works for us and discard what does not. What works in one situation may not work in another, therefore we may need to use different approaches for different situations. Sensei Interaction Personalities helps us to understand the predominant way we prefer to interact, its benefits and disadvantages, and helps us learn how to interact in a more positive, productive, relationship-fostering manner.

We have identified 5 different interaction personalities based on our levels of ‘assertiveness’ (Y axis) and ‘mutuality’ (X axis), as shown in the illustration below. Our assertiveness is defined by how much we care about ourselves and our mutuality is defined by how much we care about others. 

Interaction Personalities Described by the Creator: Ranjan De Silva

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The Five Common ‘Interaction Personalities’ 

We would like to present five common interaction personalities that we have encountered during our people and leadership development practice, along with ideas on how to deal with relevant relationship issues. 

About the remedies

Personality #1: Challenger

‘Challengers’ live with the attitude: ‘I care about my needs and not about the need of others’. For them it is ‘my way or the highway’. They would do anything to have their own way, be it selling a product or idea, even if it has a negative impact on the other party. They are happy with a win-lose outcome. 

Benefits of this personality: This personality helps to stand up for and even achieve what you believe in and can be very efficient in resolving differences with others. 

Disadvantages of this personality: It can result in  damage to relationships, and create an image of a selfish bully. This can result in damaging long term business prospects, unless we are able to explain why it was important to use a ‘challenger’ personality.

Personality #2: Problem Solver

‘Problem-Solvers’ live with the attitude: ‘I care about my needs as well as about the need of others’. For them it is ‘we all win or no one wins’. They would go out of their way to find a common outcome, dig deep  into root causes, and find creative solutions that provide a win-win solution. 

Benefits of this personality: This personality helps to find solutions that satisfy all parties and will help in building strong relationships for long-term mutual benefits. 

Disadvantages of this personality: It can take a  long time to achieve agreement, which can result in the loss of advantages  due to delays in decision making, especially in competitive situations.  

Personality #3: Evader

‘Evaders’ live with the attitude: ‘If I leave it alone, the problem will go away; I don't care about my needs or about the need of others’. They would  sidestep, postpone, or avoid dealing with conflicts, believing that time will resolve the issue. They are happy with a lose-lose solution if it does not disturb their peace of mind and provides them with an easy life in the short term.

Benefits of this personality: This personality helps in giving time for heated minds to cool down and find more information, and time to look at issues in a calmer manner.


Disadvantages of this personality: It can result in the issue festering within if not dealt early enough and the delay in decisions and actions can be disadvantageous, especially in competitive situations.

Personality #4: Martyr

‘Martyrs’ live with this attitude: ‘If I help others my issues will get resolved in the long term; I don't care about my needs, but I do care about the needs of others’. They would sacrifice, go through personal inconvenience, discomfort and even losses to smooth over conflicts and maintain peace. They believe that the environment created would help to build relationships for long term mutual benefits. They may also be driven by a spiritual orientation and belief. They are happy with a lose-win solution for long term benefits. 

Benefits of this personality: This personality helps to create peaceful environments during rough times and to pave the way for long term mutual success. 

Disadvantages of this personality: It can result in others taking you for granted and taking advantage of your kindness. You could also be perceived as weak and uncompetitive.  

Personality #5: Deal-Maker

‘Deal-Makers’ live with the attitude: ‘You meet part of my needs and I will meet yours, let’s go fifty-fifty’. They stay midway in both axes of caring about their own needs and needs of others. They look for a fast solution, splitting the difference in half. They would try to come to a compromise solution without avoiding the situation as the ‘evaders’ would and without going deep into the issue to find a mutually acceptable solution as the ‘problem-solvers’ would. They are not as competitive as the ‘challengers’ nor would give in easily like the ‘martyrs’. 

Benefits of this personality: This personality helps to get a quick solution, creates harmonious environments and gives a sense of a win-win resolution to the issue in the short run. It is also only one step away from any of the other four personalities, in case the deal does not materialize.


Disadvantages of this personality: Since there is no depth in the exploration, the result can end up as a win-lose, lose-win or lose-lose in the long run.  

The Developmental Response

The above description shows that all five modes have their advantages and disadvantages. We may have to use the relevant personalities to suit various situations. As such it is important to understand each personality, understand our own predominant personality, and understand why others prefer their predominant personality so that we can determine behaviours and reasons for conflict. Since we may tend to use our predominant personality as our default personality, irrespective of the situation, we need to develop the skills of all five personalities and learn to decide which personality/skills to use in different situations. 

The Sensei Interaction Personalities Questionnaire

The ‘Sensei Interaction Personalities’ assessment is easy to take. The respondents need to select 1 of 2 options provided for various situations. Thirty such situations would be offered for respondents to reflect on and select. The test could be completed in about 20 minutes, and the time taken could vary, depending on how fast respondents select their responses. Sensei uses adaptive testing to ensure the practical relevance of results. A sample of the questionnaire is given below.

Sample of the questionnaire

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the Sensei Interaction Personalities’ Report

How to use the report
For individuals:
  • To understand your interaction personality and your predominant mode of interacting, and improve it for better effectiveness in your current role or to prepare for new roles.

  • To understand your interaction personality and assess appropriate training or coaching interventions to improve interaction effectiveness. 

For Organizations:  
  • To assess interaction personalities of candidates for better recruitment decisions.

  • To assess interaction personalities of employees to assess suitability for role allocation, promotion and project team allocation decisions.

  • To assess interaction personalities of employees to identify root causes of relationship issues for better conflict resolution, coaching, mentoring and training.  

The Sensei Interaction Personalities Basic Report – Free

We are pleased to offer you the Sensei Interaction Personalities Basic Report free of charge. Given below is a sample of the basic report.

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The Sensei Interaction Personalities Comprehensive Report –
at a Nominal Fee

If you would like to know more about your interaction personality and how to make good use of it, you could get a ‘Sensei Interaction Personalities’ Comprehensive Report at US$ 10 per report. You will be provided the option of buying the comprehensive report after you complete the assessment and receive the free brief report. Please click here to download a sample report to examine the format of information that will be available to you. 

Who Created the ‘Sensei Interaction Personalities’ Assessment?

Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann introduced the TKI (Thomas Kilmann Instrument) in 1974 to assess the conflict mode of individuals. Ranjan De Silva, Senior Management Consultant of Sensei International, critically examined the concept during his leadership development work over the past 20 years and customized it to suit the practical realities of his clients in the name and style of the ‘Sensei Interaction Personalities’ assessment. Many leaders wanted to find out their ‘Interaction Personality’, not just during conflict but during other forms of interactions, and in response Ranjan created the ‘Sensei Interaction Personalities’ assessment.

  • For a deeper exploration, we invite you to invest in a comprehensive report for only US$ 15. You may first take the free assessment and decide if you would like to invest in the comprehensive report. The link to the comprehensive report will be provided once you complete the assessment and receive the free report. 

  • You could repeat the assessment once, free of charge. Please follow the instructions in the email you receive with the comprehensive report if you need to repeat the assessment.

  • Please click here, If you have more than 10 participants to assess and develop in your organization.

  • Please click here, If you would like to recommend this assessment to family, friends or colleagues - we will send them a link through email. 

Further notes

Thank you for using Sensei Assessments.
We wish you all success! 

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