What is Taylor Swift?

by: Dr. Michael Abelson

When I first started to learn about Taylor Swift I thought, here we have a superstar who is a huge “I” DISC behavior style with an even larger “D” behavior.  After all, she has risen to be a billionaire, has an incredible following, and has a “can do no wrong” persona.  The ideal charismatic profile.

Not knowing her personally, and after doing research in Wikipedia, FastCompany, and Sun Signs, I found a very different profile.  There doesn’t seem to be much “D” in Taylor.  She actually seems to be mostly an “S” style naturally and leads with an “IS” adapted style from the stage.  

Everything I read says she has significant humility, is programmatic and deliberate, has traditional familiar values (no drinking, no smoking, no drugs, and very low on obvious sexuality), works hard at psychologically connecting with people, and at least until recently, is very low keyed and private.  All very “S” like behaviors.  

I haven’t seen her perform on stage (I must be one of only a few Americans who haven’t), but I can’t see a pure “S” doing what she does.  There must be some “I” where she energizes the audience, is very likeable, and just comes across as this highly talented, humble, performer who really enjoys what she does.  I therefore suspect her “natural” behavior style is the “S” and her “adapted” behavior style is the “IS.” 

She has some fairly obvious Motivators.  I suspect there is some “Theoretical,” considering her incredible knowledge of her craft and her ability to read people making sure they are in the right roles that furthers her lightning rise professionally.  I know there is a lot of “Social” because of her dedication to so many charities.  She can financially afford just about anything she wants to buy (as mentioned earlier, she is reportedly personally worth over $1 billion), therefore she is not a “selfless Social.”  But she is a “societal Social” giving to an incredible array of charities (LGBT and Black Lives Matter like causes, children’s hospitals, disaster funds, and reproductive rights organizations, to name a few categories).  

So, my take is Taylor Swift is an “S” naturally with an “IS” adapted behavior tendency.  She is primarily “Theoretical” and “Social” regarding what motivates and drives her behaviors.  She is highly phlegmatic, very willing to accept responsibility for her behavior, and exceedingly humble through all the notoriety she has appropriately received.  We will see if she continues these superhero tendencies.  After all, history has shown it is very difficult to remain humble and low keyed considering all the success she has rightfully earned.  Taylor, we are all rooting for you, that you remain Taylor Swift”ish” and don’t transform to be someone less likeable and respected.  

© 2024. Michael Abelson (BA, MA, MBA, PhD) founded The Abelson Group in 1986, is Emeritus (retired) from the Management Department at Texas A&M University, and specializes in communications and over a dozen other human resource areas.

He has spoken to over 1000 business and non-business groups on four continents, been quoted by over 100 newspapers, newsletters, and magazines, and authored over 100 articles, books, monographs, and other publications.  He is frequently invited by the media to share opinions and solutions.

Contact him at [email protected] or www.theabelsongroup.com to invite him to consult, coach, speak, or for a media interview.  

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