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Fire-Starters and Rain-Makers. How to maximize their potential. July 17, 2012

Posted by thefieldgeneral in Leadership, Personality.

High I’s are loud. Tremendously, hugely loud. They are bright balls of energy. When they float through a crowd they light fires of interest as they go. They are Rain-Makers and sales people. An I is represented biblically by the “man”, who lives by his words more than his brawn.

With Thanks to Aaron “Tango” Tang http://www.flickr.com/photos/hahatango/


High I



1. Energy and Charisma – The high I’s energy is infectious and overpowering. An I will get people so excited that they will say yes to something before they realize what they are agreeing to.

2. Vision Casters – An I has the natural ability to find the precise words to make you see the world as they do.

3. People Sensitivity – I’s understand someone’s mood and underlying attitudes far quicker than other personalities.

4. Traditional Leadership – An I’s ability to read people, project energy, and cast vision makes them fit well into traditional leadership roles.

5. Gab – All I’s have the gift of Gab. They will say things that would cause other people to get fired, and people will laugh. Negativity seems to slide right off of them.


1. Lack of consistency – I’s get bored easily. They will change things just for the sake of change. They often lack the long term consistency to tackle big projects.

2. Shallow relationships – I’s like excitement. Thus they tend to have a broad, shallow pool of friends. Their ability to see deeply into others may give them an impression of depth that does not exist.

3. Inability to organize and prioritize – Hi I’s often have difficulty organizing and prioritizing tasks.

4. Easily manipulated – I’s can be very focused on approval. They can be very susceptible to peer pressure.

Key Phrase: “Let’s all get excited and do something”

I’s are critical team components. They are your encouragers. They provide energy to your team. They also tend to have a keen sense of the human spirit and can identify potential interpersonal problems early on. Most people think of sales people as high I’s.

Dealing with I’s.

I’s love excitement. Thus they need variety, encouragement, and most importantly people. Unlike other personalities who will stay and become angry, passive-aggressive, or unstable, I’s will simply leave the organization when inappropriately used. Keep them busy with a variety of topics and engaged with people.  You will also have to pacify the Ds and Cs around them, whom they will annoy.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy

I’s become less stable when unhealthy. They tend to bounce around a lot to start with. An unhealthy I will show emotional swings with increased intensity and depth. Depression is common. Anger can be a problem as well. I’s are easily influenced so being in a positive environment can help an unhealthy I.

I’s as employees

To groom your Fire-Starter to do big things for you, you must teach them:

  • Task Completion
  • Prioritization and Organization

It is critical that you teach an I to complete what they start. I’s love to start new things, but their interest quickly deteriorates as the project ceases to be new. Managers need to focus on ways to keep the activities fresh. Celebration of success and clarity of progress is critical. It helps keep the excitement level up and show the impatient I that the goal is coming and that it is worth achieving.

As the I is naturally a poor organizer and prioritizer, it is your job as a manager to help them with this task. Often times training is simply not sufficient. Software or Methodology solutions can be somewhat successful, especially if the I recognizes their weakness. This works right up to where the I abandon’s the boring process or system. A better methodology is a very regular review with the manager.  High I’s love people, thus the face time will be a well-received experience. Some things to note in this meeting:

  • Be positive – I’s do not take negativity well
  • Use a “bright” tone and super-positive words like “awesome”, “super”, or “tremendous”. Superlatives like “best”, “greatest”, and other “est” words are great too… I’s are walking, talking hyperboles. They love things to be over the top.
  • Do not get too broad. The I is naturally broad themselves. Keep the priority items to 1-3 and talk about where things are, where they were last time you met, and where they should be next time.
  • Make this meeting regular. 1ce per week is minimum.

What is your opinion of High I’s?
Comment here



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