Colleagues with personality

Have you ever wondered why you get along better with some colleagues or are more productive than with others?

At first, the answer is quite simple: we all tick differently. The more we differ, the more likely it is that there will be a lack of understanding and conflicts.

What helps is an awareness of the differences and a few tips and tricks.

Let’s get started!

One of the catchiest models to better understand people is by Max Lüscher- The 4-colour man. Let’s get briefly to theory and then think about how we can use this knowledge in practice.

Everyone has behavioral preferences. Each of us prefers to behave in a certain way. Roughly distinguishable are people who are more extraverted (outward) or introverted (inward) and either rational or emotional. This results in four groups of people, which are assigned to colours for better illustration. Each person has parts of each colour in him/herself, but in the basic type he/she turns out to be one of the colours.

The red type or also “the doer”: He strives for action, is impatient fast and decides within seconds. He is rational and extraverted. You can recognize him by his correct clothing, which is often provided with a brand logo, by his quick answers, a very direct eye contact and a firm, short handshake. In most cases, the desk is full of documents, with no clean filing. It is often late for appointments because it is always in a hurry.

The yellow type or “the expressive”: He strives for creativity, bubbles over with ideas, is sociable and enthusiastic. He is emotional and extraverted. You can recognize him by his modern clothes with a personal or colourful touch, his answers, his optimistic nature and his warm welcome. The desk is often chaotic with some personal items. The yellow guy often comes late for appointments because he can hardly say no and therefore often overdoes himself.

The green type or “the team player”: He strives for harmony, is obliging and very careful. He is emotional and introverted. You can recognize him by his adapted clothes, his hesitant, reserved answers and his friendly manner without ever being aggressive. The desk is tidy and has method. He can also be relied on for punctuality.

The blue guy or “the analyst”: He strives for security, is thoughtful, objective and very precise. He is rational and introverted. You can recognize him by his functional, conservative clothing, his very precise and fact-oriented answers and his closed, reduced body language. Strong, garish colours will only be found to a very limited extent in his surroundings. His desk is structured, neat and rather impersonal.

And what type do you tend towards? Have you perhaps already been able to classify one or the other colleague while reading?

Now that you can fundamentally recognize what type you belong to and where your colleagues tend to go, you can use this knowledge to approach them better and to work together more effectively and conflict-free.

To illustrate how you can approach your colleagues in the future, here is an example: You were unable to complete a promised document by the agreed deadline.

How can you now approach the individual personality types?

The red type: Please do not under any circumstances start here with an excessive explanation of why and how things did not work out and what the colleague from the neighboring department has to do with it. As you now know, the motto here is “The spice is in the brevity”. Tell him that you haven’t been able to get it done yet with the answer in your luggage when exactly you will deliver it to him. Use an active language that gives your counterpart the feeling that actions follow without long waiting or idling.

The yellow type: With this colleague it is quite alright to give an explanation why you have not yet finished. If you ask him to help you to complete the task so that he can lives out his helpfulness or to stimulate his creativity with a new idea, then your commitment will be stronger than the frustration of not delivering.

The green guy: Try to be balanced with your colleague, because he usually is. Explain to him why you are not finished yet without big dramas and exaggerations. If possible, consider his strong need for security and discuss the next steps together. This ensures that he or she is needed and does not feel unconscious.

The blue type: Tell this colleague briefly and concisely that your document to be delivered is in default. It helps in this case if you immediately add to this statement exactly when you will deliver the document to him. Further additions about the expected information content of the document (numbers, data and facts) help to satisfy your counterpart’s need for clarity. Make it clear, if possible, that despite the delay, the original timetable can be maintained.

This situational example was able to give a small insight and shortly make it clear that you can achieve and change a lot in the collegial togetherness with the awareness of different personality types.  If you don’t know how to deal with a colleague, remember that you too have all types in you and can therefore also put yourself in the other’s shoes!

In the future, approach your colleagues in a more personality-oriented way and you will notice changes.

We look forward to sharing your experiences.

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