In working with my first company out of college, one of the things that I loved about them was their willingness to provide in-depth trainings. I’m one of the people that loves tests like Myers–Briggs, but I’ve rarely found that information to be incredibly actionable. But one of the training sessions that I took back in the day, and continue to prescribe to regularly, is an idea originally labeled by Hippocrates as “The Four Humors.”
Essentially, there are four core personality “colors” (shown above) and we each have a little bit of each of the colors within all of us. However, we usually have a primary personality color and a secondary personality color. We usually work instinctively well with people of the same personality type, but we have to work on re-developing our communication style when we recognize someone of the opposite personality type – it’s a little bit more difficult to get work done until you get on the same personality and communication “page.”
Some simple ways to recognize the personality types you might have working across from you are from their body language and verbal style.:
I am, without a doubt, primarily yellow, with a secondary preference for green. Over the years, as I’ve matured, I’ve gotten a lot better at consciously varying my personality characteristics depending on whom I’m speaking to, but nothing keeps me from bridging between yellow and green when I’m in my zone. If I’m in a comfortable situation, I’m hugging all of my besties, talking way too fast, chatting with massive hand gestures, and say “we” like I’m on a team with whomever I’m talking to – “Do we want to go to brunch?” There is so little red and blue in me that they hardly even registered for me on the chart when I took the test.
Some tips were also provided for working with people of other personality types:
- Yellow – Be friendly and social, open and flexible, but do not bore yellows with routine or details
- Green – Work at their pace and be supportive in your speech, but do not toss in any last minute surprises or take advantage of green’s good nature
- Blue – Be well prepared with all of the data, put things in writing, and let them consider all of the details, but respect their personal space and don’t change their routine without notice
- Red – Be very direct and to the point, focus on the results and be brief, do not focus on feelings or try to take over the conversation
This class also helped me to understand the benefits of working with other personality types. Because I have so little red or blue in my system, I honestly used to think that people collecting all of the data didn’t trust me or that reds were slightly aggressive. But it was actually that blues are very deliberate and reds are very purposeful. Each of our personality types is perfect for some scenarios and is not meant for others. It’s all about understanding your gifts and the gifts of others you’re working with and developing your personality types to work together as one, cohesive unit.
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I’d love to know, what personality “colors” do you think you are on the spectrum?
Do you have any suggestions for working with other personality types that have worked well for you?
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