The communication of Rationalists


To let your understand what I am going to talk about this and other blogs we have to do a quick introduction of esports personalities.

Just like the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) or 16personalities-test. There are 16 esports personality profiles. Each of these profiles have different tendencies, but some profiles share a lot of the same tendencies. These profiles that share a lot of tendencies are called temperaments.
For this blog we only stick to one of the four temperaments to have it as practical as possible for you to extract value to take your esports team to the next level. This blog is about the Rationalists.

I can’t physically test you while you are reading this blog from somewhere. So how do you know what your temperament is for this and future blogs, where I will be talking more about esports personalities and temperaments? You can just read the blog and see what fits you the best, often times you can quickly see what temperament fits you. Or you can go to www.16personalities.com and take the free test. This takes about 5 to 10 minutes. When you get the end results, you have to look at certain letters for your temperament/communication style which are listed below.

The 4 temperaments:

  • Rationalists        (NT)
  • Guardians         (SJ)
  • Craftsmen         (SP)
  • Idealists              (NF)

Communication within a team is important, inside and outside the game. Below you can read all about the communication of the Rationalist. In this blog you will learn how rationalists prefer to communicate, what to avoid in communication with rationalists, how you can motivate them and how they communicate while stressed.

Preferred communication for Rationalists

  • Sharing knowledge in things he is good at or knows something about

When you have a rationalist in your team and he is good at something, activate him to tell and teach others in the team about that subject. The Rationalist can often logically tell why it is best to do certain things and why he does certain things. If others don’t agree with a rationalist, that is alright. Rationalist love to discuss as long as you make sure that you also logically build up your perspective as well, so the rationalist can make the best decision to learn and adapt accordingly.

When you have interesting facts or a new intelligent perspective, be sure to share it with the rationalists on the team. They love to learn new things. Don’t be surprised if you get a lot of questions and after that to get belittled if they think your intelligence is flawed. On the other hand, they will honestly compliment you and say it was very interesting indeed and want to learn more.

  • Rationalists want to have logical conversations with as little emotions possible involved.

When rationalists communicate they tend to communicate in a logical manner. They will build up their arguments with facts and proven methods. They will engage you on facts and that are true for them. If you disagree with them, that is alright as long as you can back your statements up with facts and logic as well, else they will have a hard time to listen to you and get frustrated most of the times and call you out on flawed statements.

  • Questions almost everything, is skeptical, need to know the “why” a lot

Rationalists always want to know “why” they have to do certain things or “why” things go as they are going. If you can’t explain the why, don’t expect rationalist to change their behavior. When you logically explain the why, they can change behavior almost instantly and follow you anywhere. Rationalists truly want to seek out the truth and therefore ask a lot of questions to unravel the underlying thoughts. This can be exhausting for other esports temperaments sometimes. It is good to invest in explaining the why to rationalists, because once they fully understand the subject, they are very fast in making decisions and often making the best choice.

  • Precise language – every word that comes out of their mouths are carefully picked.

Rationalists have a big word vocabulary, and they will use it. This can confuse other esports temperaments. Because they want to explain precisely what they mean, they often need more time to explain certain things than other temperaments. A good thing is to set a given time to explain something, so they won’t keep talking while the other party already understood the rationalists in the first or second sentence. An example of precise language:

Rationalist: “It’s stuffy here in my room, it is harder for me to concentrate on the game”

Person X: “Yeah, it’s hot today.”

Rationalist: “No not hot just hot, it’s stuffy. Because of the dense air, it’s harder to breath. I’d wish it was only hot”

Person X: “Yeah, I know what you meant by that….”

  • Rationalists are natural strategic talents and analysts

Rationalists are natural analysts. They quickly see what can happen, the good or the bad. They can have a more difficult time to express this analysis in words. But when they have the time to explain what happened or can happen together with the consequences, there is something to be learned and improved from. To activate this talent inside a game, you can call upon the rationalist in the team to tell the possible options in quiet moments or between games/rounds and make strategy adjustments accordingly.

What to avoid when communicating with Rationalists:

  • Avoid small talk

Rationalists don’t care about the weather or what you ate 1 hour ago or what you are about to do in the weekend, just get to the core and talk about things that are interesting or useful for a rationalist. When you want to have a conversation to improve or discuss something or have a coach call, get right into it. When rationalists talk small talk with others, it is only to be polite to them.

  • Avoid talking trough your emotions when you want to reach a rationalists.

Rationalists think emotions are clumsy to have and get in the way of making the best decisions. “I feel that this is the best way to do it.” “Trust me, I have a good feeling about this.” Isn’t going to cut it for rationalists. Explain why it is the best way to do a certain thing. This way they can check if your logic is good or flawed.
When you bring up emotions, don’t expect rationalists to instantly understand what you mean. Explain where the emotions are coming from. What caused these emotions and what the effect of the emotions are. Don’t expect rationalists to give perfect emotional comfort. It feels awkward for them and they have a hard time doing it.

  • Avoid getting into to much detail, rather work from the big picture to details

Rationalists like to talk about the big picture and the grand scheme of things. When you talk about a tactic in detail it will cost a lot of mental energy to focus on it for rationalists. Rationalists know they can’t avoid focusing on details, but don’t get into details to long or start with the details. Rationalists gather information and will make it conceivable for themselves. An example how rationalists will respond after a 15 minute conversation of details:

“So basically you are saying that you want me to play more defensively and communicate more on where the enemy is? You could’ve said that 15 minutes ago”

When explaining something, start with the big picture and then work down to sublevels and details of the thing you want to explain, this works better for a rationalist to logically follow the explanation.

How to motivate Rationalists with communication

  • You make them excited by talking about concepts, ideas and let them execute it.

When you want to see a rationalist in their best behavior, make sure you talk and imply exciting concepts and ideas to execute. Rationalist like to come up with new strategies and out-smart the opponents. Rationalists are natural strategists, so make sure to always involve them into the strategy making of upcoming matches.

  • Talk about things to achieve in the future, then work your way back to the present moment

Rationalists tend to spend a lot of times thinking about the future and the next things that are coming up. They often have a clear vision on how they would like things to unfold and want to work for it to make their vision a reality. Talk about rationalists about what they want to achieve in the long term and what they will need to get there. Start with the big picture and then work your way day to details into the here and now.

  • Natural problem solvers

Rationalists like to solve puzzles in any form. They have a clinical look on things in life and always see things that can be improved or solved. When there are problems in the team on any level, it is often a good idea to include the rationalist into the conversation to fully speak his thoughts about it. Often they will need a bit of time to work out the problem or puzzle in their head before they logically can explain what they are going to say. When you want to involve them to solve something, give them at least some time to let them think about it and work the problem out for themselves.

Rationalists under stress

  • Will come across as calm, but it can storm with tensions when stressed.

Because rationalists find emotions clumsy, you don’t really see clearly what their state of mind is. When rationalists start talking from their emotions, you know they are stressed. When you hear them talk about how they feel, often times something is wrong and you should keep an eye on them. Make them aware of their state and let them focus on the things they can control. To put them in a better mental communication state, make them do analyses about the situation and let them figure out the best possible ways, bring in logic.

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Source: ActionType®

Team communication in esports

Almost a year ago I talked to a League of Legends coach about different personalities in esports. We talked about tendencies of different personalities and how people react in certain situations and also how players and coaches communicate differently. He did a personality assessment back then and he fit into the Guardian temperament of personalities. In short (I’ll explain later more in depth what this means), a Guardian is a personality style that wants to take care of others with proven and safe methods, is not very risk taking and wants to have a stable environment. I talked him through the tendencies of his profile. After talking a bit back and forth he said to me: “But, this all sounds like this is normal, almost everyone has these tendencies and want this for their team, right?” My reaction was: “Well….”, with a pitched tone, “I can read you my profile…”.

We often communicate the way that comes easiest for ourselves

I started to read some tendencies of my profile. His response to my temperamental tendencies was: “Oh wow, really? That’s definitely not something that I would do! I wouldn’t like that at all! Are you really like that?!” In his response I said “I’m not always like that, but these are my tendencies, so when I face problems or challenges, I will often take the path that comes easiest to me and thus fits my personality without thinking, it is just my way of dealing with things in most situations.” The League of Legends coach’s mind was blown and he started to recognize people that had my Rationalist temperament too and how hard it was for him to understand them. After that moment I said to him that many players and coaches think everybody is all the same and treat everybody the same, they view everybody from their own perspective. But is that real effective communication?

Understand other ways of communication

For this story, you could say that the coach had Guardian temperament glasses on and viewed the world and everyone else as a Guardian too. Anyone who acted differently was just “hard” to understand and “hard” to deal with. It is very important as a player, but certainly as a coach, to understand all different perspectives and temperaments players and yourself have. If you want to compete on a higher level with your team or organization, it is very useful to understand these different perspectives, because of the impact communication has on the performance of any team!

Use different types of communication to get the best outcomes

Within an team or organization with many different personalities, almost everyone has a different mindset, different goals on what they want to achieve, a different idea on how everybody should approach certain things. You could say that every individual has their own temperamental glasses on, just like the League of Legends that had the Guardian perspective glasses on. To work as a successful team, you want to have shared goals, ideals and a streamlined game plan where things go as planned. This can’t be achieved without proper and effective communication and a true understanding of each other. You have to put on different glasses to see what others see. Glasses that the other players or coach prefers to wear. By taking in the perspective of someone else, you can start to understand others better and create better outcomes through better and understandable communication.

Take time to learn about other ways of communication

There is no best temperament for communication. Every temperament has it’s pro’s and cons. The use of the right communication in the right situation is what is important and makes a difference. Instead of miscommunicating and be frustrated a lot of times, take your time to learn about other communication styles that come with different esports personalities. This will help yourself and your teammates to reach your next level in esports.

Because of the magnitude of things to go over on communication alone, this blog will be split up in 4 different blogs. Each blog will be focused on a different temperament that will give you insights into the communication style of each esports temperament and how each prefers to communicate. When you read all 4 blogs, you get to put other temperament glasses on. When you will read these 4 blogs you get to know what tendencies each temperament with the addition that you will learn by what they subconsciously mean by what they are saying. When you apply this blogs information in your own team or organization, there is more room for understanding each other and better insight to help and improve each other. This creates opportunities for a better culture, faster development of the players, but probably most important: Much better team synergy when out there on the battlefield whatever your game is.

Source: ActionType®

Let’s get into it!

Blog 1 of the blog series “Team communication in esports” is about the Rationalists: The communication of Rationalists (click the link)

Leave a comment below with your thoughts of this blog

Are you a Direct or Indirect player?

Have you ever played with that one friend that most of the time rushed in, always looking for action, and made a sick fast play or that he rushed in and straight up died. Or that other friend that when you are going in: “where are you when I need you? You are to late!” But sometimes makes the best tactical outplays. There are two different types of players: direct and indirect players. But which one are you and what are your teammates?  In this article we go over how these differences develop, how you can tell you or someone else is a direct or indirect Player and how this affects your gameplay.

What does it really mean being a direct or indirect Player?

Due to the asymmetry of the brains, we are not all connected to the purpose of our actions in the same way. You can see differences between direct and indirect players. direct players are directly connected to the intention of their actions. They want to create impact, challenge themselves or move away when necessary. The context is not that important for them, they simply go for their action or idea. Indirect players, on the other hand, first go to the situation and, inspired by logic or feeling, weigh on the basis of that information when and how they go towards their intention. They look for the nuances of the situation and want to naturally influence it by creating a better starting position. They need this as identification for their action. This doesn’t mean that direct players are by default always fast or Indirect players always slow. What it means is that indirect players collect information to make a decision, and direct players just go for the opportunity in the moment. Because the brain is also in control of your body movement and preferences, it is also visible to identify an direct or indirect player by their sitting position. Direct players tend to keep their elbows more close to their body and Indirect players tend to have their elbows more away from their body. This isn’t only noticeable while gaming but also in their day-to-day life.

How do you know if you are or dealing with a direct or indirect player?

You probably have a general idea now, by only reading the text above, what kind of player you are. If you are you are uncertain, there are some things to check which one of the two you are.

    Direct player  
Indirect player    
How they
approach
the
game
See an opportunity
in the moment and instantly go forit.  
Analyze the
opportunity and
search for the best
starting position to
engage (even in a
split second)  
How they
move
inside the
game
Move your character
in game you “cut”
corners, you want
to go left so you
instantly turn left.  
Move your
character in
game more
fluently when
going around
corners, to
have the
time to absorb
more information.
Where
they
are at
their best
Feel at your best
when moving
forward preferably
with open space in
front of you  
Feel at your best
when strafing or
moving left
or right with
openings on the
left or right of you
How they
sit behind
the computeror
hold their
controller
Have your elbows
close to your
body when
playing games
Have your elbows
outward from
your body when
playing games  

Okay great, but how will this improve my gameplay?

When you know your own and team’s preferences, there is room for improvement on a personal, team and tactical level. When you are a direct player, you are at your best when you have a lot of space in front of you so you can move forward. This means that you are more effective in these places than an indirect player is. Think of rushing from the sides of maps and putting pressure from there, frontal engages and long range distances.

Indirect players are at their best when they have a lot of space besides them instead of in front of them. They like to strafe and move more sideways. These players are at their best inside small area’s with lots of obstacles, like buildings. Since they process more information while making a corner, they better scan the room for enemies and can spot them more easily. They then can choose to engage and have a good starting position, or turn back and find a better starting position, while a direct player would straight up engage most of the times, whether or not it was a good starting position.

When playing alone, know your playstyle and set yourself up for success by implementing these tiny details. They will stack up over time and improve you as a player tremendously. When playing with a team, be sure to know what kind of players you have and make a strategy around these natural preferences. Or when at a LAN event, how is the elbow position of the opponent? Are they direct or indirect players? Find their weak spots.

Below you see the difference of direct and indirect players in a visual.

Left: Direct Player, elbows close to the body – Right: Indirect Player, elbows away from the body

Found this interesting and want to get more deep insights on how to develop and improve yourself, or your team?

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Source: ActionType®

One Size Does Not Fit All: Why individual coaching prevents burned-out esport players

Lately I’ve read posts about esport athletes become burned-out fairly soon in their careers. It feels these messages become, unfortunately, more frequent. It’s an important topic, to discuss burnout among esport players. This not only affects the players themselves, but it also affects the organisations and their investors behind the organisations fueling esports as a whole.

Over the years I’ve seen organisations take more responsibility concerning burned-out players. Hiring sport coaches for exercise, psychologists for reflection on behaviour and actions, and even technology that improves sleep patterns of esport athletes by using data. All this is very positive and helping esport athletes become less burned-out. But still with these new approaches you hear quite some stories about players who just burn-out early. Why is this (still) a common theme in esports? Is it because of the excessive amount of hours that players put into a game? Is it because the lack of physical exercise? Is it a lack of experience on how to manage esport athletes? As a player development coach, I feel the responsibility to reduce the risk of overlooking potential causes of burn-out by esports players. And precisely this has made me think further.

I think all of the all the above elements causes burned-out players, but where is the real gate watcher that prevents stress and exhaustion in the first place? It all seems that such methods fights back burn-outs, but does not prevent stress and burn-out the way we want it to be prevented. And prevention is better than cure, right?

At the moment esports is on the rise and more and more big investors jump into esports. That is great and very important for the growth of esports. But when the amount of burned-out players stays high, there can be less to no consistency in an organisations performance in the long run. And when there is no consistency in performance, then the expectations doesn’t get met, and eventually investors pull out and organisations could collapse because of this. Now this is not short term I’m talking about, but more medium, to long term. I’m concerned about the long term stability of esports and want to help build something that could last for centuries, without a bad reputation that esports is unhealthy because of the extreme high numbers of burned-out esport athletes.

Is there a solution to this burnout problem in esports? I think so, yes. In my opinion there is one solution that is overlooked. Psychologists and doctors can tell everything what burn-out is and what could cause it. At the moment we are looking at the effects and possible causes of burnout. Great that we know all this, but why do some people get burn-out faster than others and why do different people recover from burnout than others? The one main thing what is being overlooked is the individual, the esport athlete themselves. Not as a human being that is average, but as an individual with their own brain, nerve system, neurotransmitters and so much more. Every human this is different. And therefore every ‘cure’ and approach should be.

When it is clear that every human is different, why do we most of the time try something on every individual that is more like “one size fits many” of even worse “one size fits all”. When you have size 40 in shoes, you don’t try to put them onto someone who has size 42. Then why do so many people try to fit people into something that they don’t fit into?

There are players who are really structured and always precise, plan everything ahead and be super serious in every training and game. When you place these type of personalities into an evenly structured organisation with trainers and coaches, everything is great. But when you put such players into an environment where all the other players have tendencies to improvise, live day by day and thrive on brotherhood and also fun while practicing, this could cause huge problems and stress. You can physical train all you want, and reflect all you want, or play less or more hours. A perfect storm for a burnout when this structured player tries to adapt to something it doesn’t really fit into. Now this is a very black and white example, but this is what is happening on a daily basis in esport teams.

To really help people to prevent burn out, their coaches and trainers have to know what triggers stress for that specific esport athlete. This is doable by taking a combined emotional, physical and cognitive tests. Why these three together? The human brain operates the emotional, physical and cognitive in one single system. This will give trainers and coaches and even the athletes themselves insight of their triggers that causes stress. Instead of fighting back burnout among esport athletes, you can now go to the roots of the triggers and prevent burnout in the first place.

With the insights of each esport athlete, you will find all the equipment and tools you will need as a coach to build a well oiled esport team that can run longer, harder, better, faster than any other team. I believe an individual approach fits all esports players and since my start in the esports, I already have seen the results of this new coaching method.

I hope that with this article I have inspired coaches and managers to take a closer look at the individual as a player and more pure as a person for the well being of the athletes and the longevity on the team and organisation as a whole. I hope they all see the win-win situation in this. Even in a team oriented game, the individual is what matters all the time.

Got any questions on how and where to start? I will gladly explain it to you. Just send me a message.