How can knowing about different personality types improve your career?
27 November 2020
A rushed pre-lockdown 2.0 visit to our local bookshop before they shut up shop found us in the possession of Surrounded by Idiots; The Four Types of Human Behaviour by Thomas Erikson, and it has spurred a flurry of discussions within the Park Avenue offices about personality types.
Are you a fiery red? Or perhaps a logical blue? A sociable yellow? Or a sympathetic green?
It might be tricky to refine anyone into a set personality box, but who doesn’t love a bit of self-reflection?
We thought we’d share with you what we’ve learnt about behaviour patterns, and a few top tips for applying it to your career; dealing with colleagues, managers, and performing at interview.
What are the colours?
Reds are defined as dynamic and driven, ambitious, goal setters with an eye on high performance. They are the most competitive; task orientated, and set on winning said task. Quick thinkers, they want to see results fast, make decisions swiftly, and are just as quick to lose interest if a meeting isn’t moving forward. They are happy to share their opinions with no frills, and get straight to the point.
The most sociable in the room! A yellow is a relationship builder and persuader who will search for possibilities with a bright outlook, and is always ready to provide the most creative solution. They are ready to entertain and tell stories, more likely to talk than ask questions. They may be spontaneous, charming, and are more likely to base decisions on the emotional, and a feeling, rather than the more rational.
A green is often the calmest and most serene in the room. Though on the quieter side, they are likely to be the most caring and thoughtful, and will listen to you intently and with patience. They are rational, relentlessly avoid any conflict, are pleasant and keen to help others. They are relationship orientated too, but in a more introverted way.
Blues are also more likely to be introverted, but very likely to be keeping tabs on everything that is going on around them, analysing, and assessing. They are likely to be a realist, verging on pessimist, who sees errors and risks. Details are of the upmost importance; they have a memory for facts and figures. Due to this they act with caution and in a slower and more deliberate fashion, taking time to ensure factual accuracy and that tasks are completed properly and to the upmost quality. Logical and rational thinking is key.
So, from the very brief summaries above, can you pinpoint where you, your colleagues and managers might sit?
Erikson gives us an example of how four personalities might react together in an office;
“Whenever trouble is brewing- maybe due to a recession or when new managers take over -we’ll see all kinds of interesting behaviour in a group. Reds, who never listen to the whole message, just rush off to do what they believe needs to be done. Unless, of course, they’re busy yelling at management because they don’t agree with their decisions. Yellows start wild discussions and inform absolutely everyone about their take on what happened. Instead of working, they’ll debate the news until it is time to leave the office. Blues will sit at their desk and begin the bureaucratic paperwork, formulating half a million questions that no one knows the answers to yet. Greens? They just murmur. If the management has avoided sabotaging their sense of security, they’ll trundle on without complaining … they’re great at keeping calm and carrying on”
So- why do we think it could be helpful for you to know this?
Knowing who you are dealing with, and where their behaviours are most likely to lie, is a fantastic tool that gives you the ability to adjust your own behaviour for the best result.
Let’s take a situation like a job interview, a promotion meeting, or an appraisal.
Have you identified that your manager or interviewee is a…
Speak up, and stick to the point. Don’t drag out what you are saying and focus on highlighting the results you have achieved, and how quickly you have achieved them; sell your value. How many applications did you determine when you worked in your last role? How did you work proactively to get things finished and done? Be assertive about your achievements.
Appeal to their feelings, and give them a good one! Be friendly, jovial, smile! Bring a good atmosphere to the room. Again, you won’t need to focus quite so much on the detail, or how something happened; more the result. Have you got any creative or novel ideas about how to move things forward? Share them!
Share more about yourself, become approachable and show your personality, give them something to remember about you as a person. But remember to ask them about themselves- and let them talk. They’ll love to chat.
Greens are most likely to be attracted to courteous and friendly team players like themselves. Speak about your achievements, but how did this also help the team? Don’t forget your please and thank yous, and show how you will harmonise into the team you are in or could be joining.
Prepare meticulously, and prove that you have. Speak rationally, and in facts and figures. Stay focused on the task at hand. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it. Emphasise how much you value that any work that you do is thorough and of a high quality; done correctly.
And remember, if it’s an interview setting, you might not know who you are facing, but there is a good chance your recruiter does. Never be afraid to ask more details about the personality of who you will be meeting!
We’d love to hear your thoughts, whether you have read the book or not, on personality profiling. If you are interested in reading more, you can purchase the book we've all been reading here: