The Human Currencies

This list of Human Currencies explains some of the most valued character traits among people.  While this list is not exhaustive, it is quite encompassing and covers most traits that are felt by most people.

To learn why these traits matter, and to figure out how to use them, read here.


1.  independence – also “individuality, the ability to choose for one’s self, freedom of speech and expression, isolation.”  People that operate under a currency of independence value their freedoms.  They rarely seek jobs that require teamwork, as they prefer to work alone.  Many entrepreneurs are independent-minded people.  Often severely independent people have a difficult time accepting their need for help; they believe their lack of expertise in all areas makes them “less.”  This currency is the logical counterpart to inclusion.

2.  inclusion – also “involved, needed, “part of the group,” or “in the inner circle.””  INCLUSION currency culture consists of people that enjoy working and playing with others.  They tend to be extroverts and fill their emotional bucket by interacting with other people.  INCLUSIONISTS feel as though they are at their best when they are part of a team.  When these people feel isolated they feel unimportant and without value.  This currency is the emotional counterpart to independence.

3.  acknowledgement – also “listened to, heard, noticed.”  These people have a need to feel significant, a need to feel that their mere presence is important.  Generally these people value “time and space” over “words and actions;” they tend to be wall flowers, introverts, and don’t speak out much.  They want and need to feel as though they will be missed if they leave, even if they’re not hugely important to operations when they’re there.  This is the logic derivative to approval.

4.  approval – also “justification, validation, pride, acceptance, forgiveness.”  In the way a small child needs approval for their existence and efforts, people that value approval require an occasional pat on the head.  When they do contribute to business operations or a personal relationship, they want to know that what they said and did is “okay.”  This need is often confused with insecurity, but many secure people need approval to validate their efforts.  This is the emotional derivative to acknowledgement.

5.  challenge – also “change, dynamical, pressure, chaos.”  CHALLENGERS are often “action junkies,” they like to be in the middle of chaos and achieve the clearest mindset when their surroundings are unsettled.  These people tend to get bored fairly quickly with humdrum routine and need consistent change and progress in order to find fulfillment.  This currency is both logic and emotion based, although the expression of this currency is generally one or the other and not both.

6.  support – also “encouragement, the feeling that someone believes in them, acceptance.”  People that use the currency of SUPPORT tend to listen well and speak little.  They are generally  neutral, often able to easily suspend judgment and bias.  SUPPORTERS operate with a great deal of faith and trust and are a vital part of healthy morale in a family or organization.  The currency of support generally includes people with positive dispositions and an ability to visualize the big picture.  Supporters are loyal and trustworthy, they tend to also value respect and love.  Support is a currency of both logic and emotion, and can be exchanged in both ways at the same time.

7.  results – also “action, efficiency, progress, productive.”  People that operate under the currency of “results” are extremely logic driven, extremely busy, and do not like being still.  They pursue jobs that keep them physically and/or mentally moving.  Results people like check lists, action plans, and progress reports.  They enjoy participating in quantifiable activities in order to know where they stand and how much progress they’ve made.  This currency is the logical counterpart to the journey.

8.  the journey – also “feelings, process, “in the moment,” pause, presence, immediacy.”  People that appreciate the currency of THE JOURNEY are action based people, but less concerned with the destination and more concerned that they enjoy how they got there.  These people enjoy talking about how they feel as they carry on, are excellent at assessing the state of a business’s culture and morale, and act as a litmus for customers and clients.  “How they feel” is more important to journeyers than “how fast they get there.”  This currency is the emotional counterpart to results.

9.  trust – also “safety, rest, respite, security, stability.”  People that operate under the currency of TRUST are emotion-based people.  They need to feel that they are safe regardless of their choices, and TRUST is how they accomplish that.  Trusting people are often challenged to counteract their nature with high levels of intuition and discernment, in order to avoid being taken advantage of or disappointed.  Trust is the emotional counterpart to the currency justice.

10.  justice – also “rules, boundaries, consequences, rigid adherence to plans and guidelines.”  People who use the currency of JUSTICE tend to be unbending, unyielding, and “black or white” in nature.  They appreciate clearly stated rules and work best with strict and solid boundaries.  Most people that value justice could appear cold, but in reality they are the first ones to admit they’ve made a mistake, and the first ones on the scene when a mistake needs correction.  People who value justice are the watchdogs of the business world, the first to notice when there’s trouble ahead, and a huge asset to have in an administrative position.  JUSTICE is tightly bound to trust, and is the logical equivalent.

11.  competence – also “intelligence, ability, understanding, efficiency, planning ahead.”  For people who operate under a currency of COMPETENCE, logic and reason are their strongest attributes.  They appreciate rules, clear instruction, and clearly stated expectations.  People that value competence do not easily tolerate ignorance, stupidity, or an inability to deliver what was promised.  This currency is the logical counterpart to value.

12.  value – also “helpful, contributive, important, appreciated, treasured, wanted.”  Often people that use the currency of VALUE appear needy and sensitive, and are generally emotion-based people.  They feel that regardless of the outcome or the level of efficiency they attain when completing their task, as long as they feel they’re contributing something (and their contribution is appreciated) they are doing their job.  VALUERS do not necessarily need public or outspoken recognition for their participation, but they need to know that someone would notice them if they were gone.  This currency is the emotional counterpart to competence.

13.  power – also “in control, relevance, vitality, in charge, reverence, authority, position.”  These people desire position more than recognition.  They enjoy having their words carry weight, they are generally alpha and seek positions of authority.  People that desire power like seeing their name in big letters at the top of the letterhead.  They value authority, chain of command, and clearly expressed “rules of the game” in order to progress up the ranks quickly.  This currency is the logical derivative to recognition.

14.  recognition – also “important, responsible for the outcome, praise, reward, valued.”  Unlike power based people, RECOGNIZERS need their name on the letterhead but not necessarily at the top.  They tend to be more beta in nature.  Generally speaking, people that operate under the currency of RECOGNITION enjoy serving others, donating their time to worthy causes, and offering their skills and expertise to better a campaign that is not their own as long as they are recognized for their effortsThis currency is the emotional counterpart to power.

15.  respect – also “admiration, solidarity, deference, esteem, honor, formality, decorum.”  People that operate with RESPECT currency exhibit many “old school” attitudes and behaviors.  Firm handshakes, paying attention to those that are speaking, turning off phones when they eat meals, “yes sir” and “no sir.”  People that value respect often value quantifiable accomplishments, appreciate clear instruction, and desire plain explanation of expectations.  Delivering desired results “or die trying” is their mantra, to offer less than their deepest effort is a sign of disrespect.  RESPECTERS are generally amazing workers, loyal, consistent, and honest.  Respect is the logical counterpart to emotion.

16.  emotion – also “affection, passion, love, instinct, feelings.”  EMOTERS are non-confrontational and seem somewhat flighty or flaky to logic-based people, but they provide volumes to families and small organizations.  People that use emotional currency tend to feel their way through things.  They tend to be impulsive, and easily change their minds or course of action without forethought.  “How they feel” is vitally important, much more so than “what they think.”  People that truly hold emotional currency make excellent parents, lovers, and friends.  Emotion is the emotional counterpart to respect.

17.  understanding – also “being understood, clarity, mental inclusion, having a grasp of all parts of a situation, “being in the know.””  People that operate primarily with the currency of understanding are generally “logic first.”  They tend to seek understanding in others as much as they desire it for themselves.  People that appreciate understanding are cognitive, intelligent, generally introverted, detail oriented, concrete sequential, and deep thinkers.  They are excellent problem solvers.  UNDERSTANDERS enjoy clear instruction and the ability to ask questions without judgment.  To get the most from an understander, provide them with ample and frequent opportunity to learn more about the business and operations.  Understanding is the logical yin to creativity.

18.  creativity – also “artistic, different, disruptive, humorous, witty, people that stir the pot or rock the boat.”  Their ability to think outside the box varies depending upon their level of creativity, but most CREATORS excel at disruptive marketing and new ideas.  Creative currency holders are hugely important when a business needs to change direction but isn’t sure which direction to go.  Creative people tend to be visionaries, see the big picture, and usually embody passion and energy when discussing the things they see.  They are hugely helpful when motivating a large group to a common goal.  They are imaginative, intelligent, funny, and forward thinking.  Challenges may arise when the time comes to reign in creative people in order to focus their energy on one specific task, but with flexible guidance and a wide berth inside of their boundaries they are a great asset.  Creativity is the emotional yang to understanding.

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