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How Your Dharma Personality Type Can Improve Your Communication | Life Coaching Certification

The following article was written by Jay Shetty.

Dharma signifies striving to act according to a person’s virtues, calling, and the “right way of living.” Every individual personality is unique, but can be associated with one of the four personality types identified in Vedic Hinduism. Each type manifests a typical communication style with both strengths and challenges. Here is what you can do to strengthen and improve your personal interactions based on your Dharma type.

By now, many of you may have read my New York Times and Amazon bestseller book Think Like a Monk, where I devote an entire chapter on the Dharma personality types. Yes, I think the concept is that important to helping people understand themselves better and find their true calling to move forward.

As you know, your personality is unique to you and is not only based on your inherited characteristics but is also the product of your lifelong experiences and choices. With origins in the ancient traditions of Vedic Hinduism, dharma signifies striving to act according to a person’s virtues, calling, and the “right way of living.”


Your Dharma is your “natural destiny”

Ancient Vedic seers divided the dharma into four archetypes according to the natural laws of the four elements of fire, air, earth, and water. These corresponding personality profiles are the Leader, Guide, Creator, and Maker.

As such, each of the four types embodies a set of drives and talents that aims to improve different facets of life and all humanity. For instance, life is impossible without the Maker providing the basic needs such as food and shelter, or, the Creator bringing beauty and joy to enhance life, the Leader making sure that everything is organized and disciplined so that everyone benefits, and the Guide helping everyone to understand their full potential to evolve into a better and freer society.

Let us now look at every type in turn to help you understand your natural communication style and what you can do to strengthen the things you are already doing well and develop those that you may be struggling with.


The Leader

Being a dominant Leader means that you are naturally comfortable with and drawn to governing, inspiring, and engaging others. You could be a politician, lawyer, judge, or in law enforcement, or be able to adapt to these roles without much effort.

Whatever your current career or family or social position, you are a natural leader of people, movements, groups, or your family! You use your courage, strength, and determination to protect those less privileged.

You are led by higher morals and values and seek to enforce them wherever you go for the greater good. You are good at providing structures and frameworks to facilitate the growth of people. You utilize the strength of your team to extend your positive leadership.

What do you do well?

You are organized. People look up to you and follow your instructions. Your interaction with others reflects your drive to achieve goals. Your communication is forceful and direct. You are on a mission, and those who support your goals are loyal and speak the same language. You express your vision and objectives boldly and don’t tolerate hesitation or resistance. You state what you expect of others and your success is based on having the power to garner support.

What can you do to develop your communication skills?

Because you tend to be domineering, you don’t like questions or pushback, which you often view as disloyalty. As a result, some people resist you openly or behind your back. To get maximum support and inspiration, you could try to:

  • Involve others more.
  • Ask their opinion. 
  • Express an interest in their preferences and wellbeing. 
  • Make them feel their input matters. 
  • Show emotion and be vulnerable on occasion.

A “softer” communication style will make more people warm up to you and become more inclined to support your goals.


The Guide

Being a dominant Guide means that you are naturally comfortable with and drawn to learning and sharing knowledge. You could be a teacher, coach, mentor, or writer, or be able to adapt to these roles without much effort.

Whatever your current career or family or social position, you want to bring out the best in people around you and help them discover meaning, fulfillment and purpose. You like alone-time to reflect and learn.

You value knowledge and wisdom more than objects and status such as fame, power, money, and security. You enjoy intellectual pursuits in your spare time like reading, debating, and discussing ideas, philosophies, and solutions.

What do you do well?

You reflect very deeply and have a passion for learning. You like to share your knowledge with others and genuinely want to help them find purpose and improve their lives. You communicate with inspiration. Your style is to express your observations without judging. 

What can you do to develop your communication skills?

Because of your deep reflections, you are often distracted by your busy mind. You know that you have more knowledge and wisdom than most people, so you tend to give advice, make assumptions, and listen inattentively. To help people find and unlock their potential, you could try to:

  • Guide people to figure out solutions for themselves.
  • Clear and open your mind while communicating with others.
  • Develop a mindful attitude by focusing on the present moment.
  • Listen attentively and re-phrase other people’s thoughts back to them to improve clarity.
  • Figuratively, walk alongside people rather than telling them what to do.

Conversations that are more engaging from an equal perspective will be helpful for you to empower and inspire others to become their best self.


The Creator

Being a dominant Creator means that you are naturally comfortable with and drawn to brainstorming, networking, and innovating solutions that may benefit others. You could be a salesperson, marketer, entertainer, producer, or entrepreneur, or be able to adapt to these roles without much effort.

Whatever your current career or family or social position, you are a natural negotiator and influencer! You use your skills or persuasion to convince people to do things or make decisions that are best for them.

You are driven by money, pleasure, and success. You are hardworking and determined to excel in your role or field. You are always on the move and work and play equally hard.

What do you do well?

As a Creator, you have a well-developed interpersonal and accommodating communication style. You are not afraid to show your emotions and be vulnerable in front of others. You always ask the opinion of someone else and value their input. The preferences and interests of the group matter more to you than your own.

What can you do to develop your communication skills?

You can be indecisive on your own. You tend to be led by your emotions. You rely on the recommendations and opinions of other people. You sometimes find it difficult to be organized and clear in your reasoning. You are not good at handling conflict and try to avoid it at all costs. To improve your assertiveness and decisiveness in communication, you could try to:

  • Learn to process your emotions by identifying and labeling your feelings in a quiet space every day.
  • Develop a mindful attitude to accept your feelings in the moment.
  • Maintain healthy boundaries with others by keeping your professional and personal life separate and not allowing roles to blur.
  • Focus on your successes instead of the possibility of failure.
  • Wean your dependence on and attachment to others and work on building a healthy self-awareness and self-compassion.
  • When faced with change, practice a systematic approach of managing the process or have a coach guide you through it.

When you better understand your feelings, face your resistance to change or risk, and take charge of important decisions, you will become more assertive and adaptive in your personal interactions.


The Maker

Being a dominant Maker means that you are naturally comfortable with and drawn to inventing, supporting, and implementing ideas and solutions that benefit others. You could be a doctor, nurse, social worker, artist, carpenter, cook, or one of many service-oriented roles, or be able to adapt to these roles without much effort.

Whatever your current career or family or social position, you are a natural creator and right-hand person, and work hard to support those in need! You use your skills to create satisfaction, wellbeing, stability, and security for yourself and others.

You choose meaningful goals to pursue and lead teams to provide the best service and support to others. You are immensely proud of your craft and your ability to serve.

What do you do well?

Your communication style is logical and analytical. You base your decisions on facts and evidence, rather than assumptions and opinions. You tend to be cautious. You prefer to be guided by protocols and policies. As a result, you can come across as rigid and process- rather than people-oriented. You like to be accurate, get things right, avoid mistakes, and expect the same from others.

What can you do to develop your communication skills?

Others often see your communication style as rigid, one-sided, and unyielding. You rely on systems and processes that are often impersonal and inflexible. You have fixed principles that you hold onto, even in situations where another approach may be better. You like what is familiar and often discourage or reject creative, new ideas. You may take longer to make decisions when you feel you don’t have all the data. You expect consistent results from others and overlook their circumstances and interests. To improve your communication during times of change and uncertainty, you could try to:

  • Get and incorporate more input from others.
  • Listen to others’ ideas and opinions with an open mind.
  • Be more willing to try creative solutions.
  • Learn to live with risk and uncertainty – get a coach to help guide you through unstable times.
  • Develop thinking processes whereby risk and benefit are weighed to reach the best compromise.

By learning and practicing to encourage and consider the input of others and embracing the opportunity of change as a stimulus of growth, your connection with others will thrive.


If you want to go far, go together

Always remember that your one or more dominant Dharma personality types represent your unique combination of natural characteristics that you can apply to discover and live your calling. No type is right or wrong. No profile is better than another. And, no personality is fixed and unable to change. By balancing your natural personality, your passion, and your other needs, you can learn to find and live your best life. Developing your communication skills to strengthen your existing abilities and build new ones will help you engage deeper and more successfully with others so you can learn from their strengths too. I want you to take to heart my favorite motto I’ve heard, “If you want to go far, go together!”


Article written by:

Jay Shetty


Get your life coaching certification based on Jay’s 10 Coaching Competencies and learn the same unique wisdom from Jay’s coaching experience.


1. Shetty, J. (2020). Think like a monk: Train your mind for peace and purpose every day. New York: Simon & Schuster
2. Chokoisky, S. (2014). The 5 Dharma types: Vedic wisdom for discovering your purpose and destiny. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books.