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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

The elements of behavior: Tips for managing your advisor energy

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It is said that behavioral style matches the four elements. These elements demonstrate the following characteristics.

  • Fire – Bold, pioneering, competitive, driving, direct and determined.
  • Air – Optimistic, persuasive, sociable, inspiring, convincing and trusting.
  • Earth – Adaptable, systematic, logical, patient, relaxed and unhurried.
  • Water – Precise, perfectionist, orderly, diplomatic, accurate and meticulous.

Here’s how each of the behavioral styles deals with change and conflict.

  • Fire – Loves change; confronts and fights back with conflict.
  • Air – May not notice change; runs away from conflict.
  • Earth – Does not like change, needs much preparation; tolerates conflict.
  • Water – Concerned with the effects of change; avoids conflict.

The behavioral style of fire is like nuclear power: It can power a region for a thousand years or detonate it in a matter of seconds. Fire styles can get frustrated when deadlines are missed. It can feel like a blow up to other behavioral styles, and it is necessary to apologize and come from a place of leadership and responsibility to clean up the situation.

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Simon Reilly of Leading Advisor Inc. is a financial advisor coach, speaker and writer with more than 20 years of experience working with advisors. Reilly writes a daily blog and can be reached at


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