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A Good Leader Knows the Teams Colors

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

“Conscious leaders choose to be honest even when everyone else suspects them of being dishonest.” 
― Gift Gugu Mona, The Effective Leadership Prototype for a Modern Day Leader

Leadership can be an incredibly challenging task. As leaders, we do not always get to choose who is on our team. A leader often inherits a group in which most 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 group forms diverse members with their strengths, weaknesses, and work styles. The team dynamics are also often complicated by internal disagreements and personal conflicts. The leader not only has to work with this group of people but also needs to achieve the results their superiors expect.

Leaders can significantly benefit by finding the types of personality characteristics of team members. By understanding the basic personality types, the leader can use members’ strengths for the team’s good and assign tasks that individual team members naturally excel in. A leader can also learn to communicate in a way that is motivating by considering the needs, values, and working preferences of different team members.

A good leader will see the most outstanding results by working and using the strengths and working style characteristics of the personalities on the team. The leader can bring the team into a productive balance and harmony by correctly positioning the individual member’s strengths and compensating for weaknesses. 

Seasoned HR professionals will study the leaders and co-workers and help train teams to “meet in the middle,” “bend,” and “stretch” towards each other in times of strain. These practices help communication and humanity in the tea and show each person is trying to care for the other person in the situation.

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

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

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

A solid green personality is more noted for ability rather than people skills. They work well with facts, data, research, and analytical projects. Greens shine in their ability to design and understand complex systems and strategies. Facts are of utmost importance for the Green, but they have a weakness for routine follow-through and are insensitive in social interactions.

Orange team members are noticeable for their energy, skill, and creativity. A key factor for an Orange is the freedom 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 characters like people and work well in a spirit of teamwork, competition, and camaraderie. They are action-orientated and become impatient with prolonged talking and detailed administrative tasks.

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

When a Leader is in a self-preservation mode, has blinders on to get the work done, and does not focus on the team as part of the work or to help leave a legacy of new leadership, these are not good Leaders. They may have started as reasonable, open-minded guides for their talent, but over time stress and preserving the status quo might have been in the way. When this happens, HR and others need to help keep everyone’s visions forwards on what matters: Team and success together.

A Leader’s primary goal is to train up, not to hinder, but to create the next generation of leaders by sharing their job roles, not hiding, and refusing to grow. They must meet their team where they are, personality and otherwise.

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