Insights From Our Editors

What Motherhood Teaches You About Managing Widely Differing Personality Types

Dr. Sorrenson (bottom row, far right as you look at photo) with her family, which includes two sons and a stepdaughter.

By Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

May 10, 2023

As a mother of two wonderful sons and an amazing stepdaughter, I have gained a few leadership skills that have helped me run our practice better. These are skills are highly beneficial to practice owners–and to anyone, actually, who has to manage other people personally or professionally.

My stepdaughter became an official part of my family when she was 10 years old. She had already been a part of my life since she was seven, but who’s counting! Our three children are vastly different from each other, and every personality test they have taken confirms this. Their love languages, sense of style, interests and passions are all diverse and different.

Managing a family has taught me that while the rules may be the same for every family member, each person needs to be treated differently based on their personality traits and the relationship we have with them. Similarly, while our office rules are the same for everyone, our goal is to interact with each staff member at their level based on their personality type and individual character traits. To help us better understand our employees and interact with them more effectively and compassionately we utilize two different types of tests.

Before hiring new staff, we use Culture Index, an assessment that measures work traits and helps us determine how people learn and what kind of interaction they prefer. This helps us assess whether they will be successful in the job position we are offering.

After hiring, we use a simpler personality assessment called Personality Plus, which is based on Florence Littauer’s book of the same name. Littauer suggests that people are typically a combination of two personality types, with one primary type. The four types are Powerful, Peaceful, Playful and Perfect, and each has unique needs and characteristics.

Being a business owner, like being a mom, is a tough job, but fulfilling, and from a mom’s perspective, instead of taking 21 years to figure out your three kids’ idiosyncrasies, after assessing your staff member, it’s like you’ve been given an unfair advantage!

Think of the assessment as a type of cheat sheet for not only understanding an employee’s personality, but also giving insight into how best to help them succeed in their role within your office. The bad news is, with your staff, allowances are a little higher. The good news is, you don’t have to teach them how to drive!

Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO, is president of Lakeline Vision Source in Cedar Park, Texas, and the Professional Editor of Review of Optometric Business (ROB). To contact her:

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