The Birkman Method: Your Personality at Work
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More About This Title The Birkman Method: Your Personality at Work


The first in-depth book on the personality assessment used by millions of people worldwide, revealing the underlying needs that drive and inspire you

Whether you're wondering if you are in the right career, looking to change job roles, or trying to reduce conflict and improve relationships at work and at home, you must begin by fully understanding your own interests and needs, and how they drive your ultimate happiness as well as unleash your stress points. Used by millions of people worldwide, The Birkman Method is the only personality-assessment tool that reaches beyond self-described behavior and situational analysis to unravel the DNA underpinning workplace satisfaction and productivity.

The Birkman Method reveals such aspects of your personality as your relationship with authority, communication style, response to incentives, ability to deal with change, and the triggers for stress that can derail you. By explaining how these factors fit together and work off each other, The Birkman Method becomes your guide to a deeper self-awareness that can help you attain more-inspiring leadership, better team harmony, and higher goals for you personally and throughout any organization.


SHARON BIRKMAN FINK is president and CEO of Birkman International, Inc., developer of the Birkman Method. In 2002, she took over as head of the company, founded in 1951 by her father, Dr. Roger Birkman. She lives in Houston, Texas. For more information, please visit

STEPHANIE CAPPARELL is a journalist, author, and filmmaker. She is the coauthor of the international bestseller Shackleton's Way and author of The Real Pepsi Challenge, and is an editor and writer for the Wall Street Journal. She lives in New York City.


Preface ix

Introduction 1

1 You Are Here! Taking the Birkman 13

The Birkman at Work: Your Right Path 20

2 Identifying Your Strengths 25

The Birkman at Work: Team Building 49

3 The Components: Eleven Personality Markers 59

The Birkman at Work: Negotiations 69

4 Your Communication Comfort Zone: Esteem and Acceptance 73

The Birkman at Work: Couples Counseling 84

5 The Power of Process: Structure 89

The Birkman at Work: Corporate Transitions 98

6 Are You a Boss or Just Bossy? Authority 105

The Birkman at Work: Executive Coaching 117

7 Are You in It to Win It? Advantage and Activity 125

The Birkman at Work: Diversity 136

8 How Your Emotions Can Help or Hurt a Decision: Empathy and Thought 141

The Birkman at Work: The Global Workplace 155

9 Are You a Frustrated Maverick in the Workplace? Freedom and Change 163

The Birkman at Work: Nonprofi t Organizations 173

10 The Wide-Angle View: Challenge 177

The Birkman at Work: Life’s Next Act 185

Epilogue: Do People Change? 191

Interviewees 195

Notes 201

Acknowledgments 203

About the Authors 205

Index 207

About Birkman International, Inc. 225


The Birkman Method eloquently describes a data-driven workplace assessment that enables people to identify and discard long-held negative assumptions about job and career success. It also provides a lens through which managers and supervisors can challenge stereotypes about who can or can’t add value to a team or organization. This timely book is a must-read for leaders tasked with max­imizing the productivity of an increasingly diverse 21st-century workforce.”
—Price M. Cobbs, coauthor, Cracking the Corporate Code; president and CEO, Pacific Management Systems

“The Birkman gives work groups measurable data to see behavior objectively, rather than personally, leading to productive discussion and change. The Birkman Method is an engaging and valuable how-to reference guide, even to certified Birkman practitioners.”
—Susan Diamond, chief learning officer and vice president, Women Presidents’ Organization

“Our differences are what allow us to uniquely contribute to our business, to soci­ety, and to our community. Birkman provides us with the ability to understand that uniqueness and maximize our potential.”
—Padraig O’ Ceidigh, chairman, Aer Arann

“The Birkman assessment is essential in risk management—it can help you hire the right person, develop your leaders, and create more cohesive teams. The Birkman is the most granular, informative, and actionable tool out there, and companies that use The Birkman Method will get a higher rate of return and boost happiness.”
—Kathy Long Holland, president and founder, LongSherpa Design

“A brilliant, impactful, and comprehensive look into the invisible motivators behind success and the unseen barriers behind failure. The Birkman Method makes a compelling case for the need to unravel the intrinsic motivators for accelerated leadership effectiveness and talent development. The rich cases and stories make this a must-read book for leaders across all cultures.”
—George Kohlrieser, professor, leadership and organizational behavior, IMD; author, Hostage at the Table

“It’s critical to know the things that make a person tick. Once you understand the individuals you work with each day, you can give greater opportunity to your employees and create a more powerful team.  The Birkman Method is an easy read that provides thought-provoking insights and understanding.”
—Steve Lufburrow, CEO, Goodwill Industries of Houston

The Birkman Method is a tool that provides awareness, understanding, and wisdom for anyone on a learning journey. The power of the Birkman is its ability to make sense of the stories we tell of our interactions with others, which forms the basis of who we are and how we act. This wonderful book shares these stories so that all can relate.”
—Kelly D. Bean, assistant dean, UCLA Anderson Executive Education

“Beliefs and perceptions are such dangerous things—they can cost you so much. The Birkman Method helps me recognize them in myself and in others, but more important, it provides a framework for talking about them in an open, nonconfrontational way.  I simply don’t know what I would do without the Birkman.”
—Justin Parer, managing director, Pi Strategic Management

The Birkman Method’s unique approach sets it apart from any other psychometric assessment tool.  Eleven years and 4,500 completed assessments later, we continue to rely on it to add value to our company’s individual development and team-building efforts on an ongoing basis.” 
—Margie Poole, senior organizational development consultant, CenterPoint Energy

“Building strong leaders and exceptional teams are table stakes for competing successfully in our industry. The Birkman Method has been an invaluable tool for us in supporting this mission for an extended period of time.”
—John Farrell, senior director of organizational development, Marathon Oil Company