Are you a rebel or prefer to keep people happy?

Gretchen Rubin’s new book “The Four tendencies” examines how we react to and deal with the expectations people have of us, both external and internal. Are you are rebel doing your own thing or do you like to maintain the status quo? For example, how do you deal with external expectations like meeting a work deadline, turning up for a meeting on time, a request from a friend? Or with your own internal expectations like meeting goals you set yourself, keeping promises to yourself etc.

She suggests from her research that we tend to fall into one of four tendencies

  • Upholder
  • Questioner
  • Obliger
  • Rebel

An Upholder tends to respond readily to expectations as they are often self-starters, very reliable and conscientious – the downside can be that they can be a little impatient and demanding.

A Questioner likes to have all the information. They are logical and efficient and try to be fair minded. The downside for Questioners is that they can overthink things and stick with this too long rather than making decisions. They can be a little complacent and may not always listen to the advice of others who have the knowledge.

An Obliger is great at meeting the expectations of others but not so good at meeting their own. They can make great leaders or team players and are always willing to get the job done even it means extra time. The downside here is they can give themselves too much to do and might become resentful of the workload. They can also have trouble saying ‘No’.

A Rebel resists all expectations and tends to act spontaneously and creatively. The downside for them is that they don’t like to conform to routine or may resist when asked to do something, looking instead for a more creative or alternative way. They can also have trouble completing tasks as they are often off task looking into the next thing!

Rubin’s tendencies are there as a guide to help people understand themselves better and to help improve their chances of success. A recent study examined how Doctors could use the four tendencies to help patients to stick to their treatment plan. Once they had identified the tendency they could use this to tailor-make effective plans and improve patient recovery.

Some of us may well be a mix of two tendencies but by taking a simple quiz you can see which tendency you are and gain some useful advice on how you act/react and how to handle others with different types of tendency. If you would like to take the quiz please click on and we will happily email it to you. It is really useful in helping Managers and their team members to understand each other better and to work together/communicate better.

We at Coachhouse think this will work really well with Belbin’s team roles – see as we always find this very accurate and helps enormously when dealing with change and managing change.

To find out more about Gretchen’s work visit or follow her on twitter @gretchenrubin