A Good Leader Knows The Team's Colours


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Leadership can be a very challenging task. As leaders we don’t always get to choose who is on our team. In fact very often a leader inherits a team, of which most of the members have been there far longer than the leader, and may even know more about the work than the leader. Whatever the situation, one of the responsibilities of a leader is to motivate the team to all work together towards the common goal. This can be a daunting challenge. So often the team is comprised of very diverse members, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and work styles. The team dynamics are also often complicated by internal disagreements and personal conflicts. The leader, not only has work with this group of people, but also needs to achieve the results expected by their superiors.

Leaders can great benefit by being able to identify the types of personality characteristics of team members. By understanding the basic personality types, the leader can use individual strengths of members for the good of the team, as well as assign tasks that individual team member’s naturally excel in. A leader can also learn to communicate in a way that is motivating, by taking into account the needs, values and working preferences of different team members.

A good leader will see the greatest results by working and utilizing the strengths and working style characteristics of the personalities on the team. By correctly positioning the individual member strengths and compensating for weaknesses, the leader can bring the team into a productive balance and harmony.

A brief overview of the different values and working styles of the four main personality types demonstrates the importance of this knowledge being part of the successful leadership toolbox. The four types of personality will be described using the colours Gold, Blue, Green and Orange.

The strong Gold employee takes work and responsibility very seriously. Gold personalities want to contribute, be part of the team, and to be successful and productive. They respond well to recognition, rewards and incentives. However Gold team members need well defined responsibilities and structure, firm expectations and timelines as well as being reassured from authority that they are on the right track.

The strong Blue personality needs an open, social atmosphere to be able work well. Relationships are very important for them, and they need the freedom to be able to nurture relationships with coworkers, customers and employers. . Conflict and intense competition are painful for a strong Blue, but they will thrive in a positive, creative, service orientated atmosphere.

A strong Green personality is more noted for expertise rather than people skills. They are excellent working with facts, data, research and analytical projects. Greens shine in their ability for designing, understanding complex systems and strategy. Facts are of utmost importance for the Green, but they have a weakness for routine follow through and are somewhat insensitive in social interactions.

Orange team members are noticeable by their energy, skill and creativity. A key factor for an Orange is the freedom to be able to use their skills and abilities. If there is too much structure, or their boss is very authoritarian, the orange personality feels blocked and does not function well. Orange personalities like people and work well in a spirit of teamwork, competition and camaraderie. They are action orientated, though and become impatient with prolonged talking and detailed administrative tasks.

A leader, by knowing the colours of his team, can use this knowledge to blend the team members into a unified, well coordinated picture poised for success. By facilitating each team member to function in their areas of natural strength and motivating them by communicating in a way that inspires harmony and team work, the leader is well on the way to achieving extraordinary results.

Barbara White is the President of Beyond Better Development. As a speaker and author, Barbara brings her passion and expertise in leadership development to work with people to help them grow towards excellence in their personal and professional life.

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