You have probably heard someone describe their work colleagues as “idiots” – you may have even done it yourself. However, Swedish author and lecturer Thomas Erikson questions just how much of that animosity which can sometimes occur between co-workers is down to an actual difference in intelligence or skill, and how much of it is down to a lack of communication. According to Erikson, “an ‘idiot’ is just an individual who has a different behaviour profile and, therefore, style of communication.”
Impact International has assembled a report based on Erikson’s behavioural analysis which suggests that getting to know your employees and colleagues better can lead to smoother communication. Erikson divides personalities into four groups: red, yellow, green, and blue.
Reds, Erikson says, are more ambitious and likely to share their opinions in the workplace, sometimes in an argumentative way. Yellows are the “people person” of the office, excellent at networking and working on group assignments. Greens are the stable, calm, prudent sorts, and are sometimes resistant to change. Blues are analytical, logical, and sometimes tend towards isolation and perfectionism.
For each personality trait, there are different ways of interacting and assigning roles to individuals who share these traits. Reds may perform better as leaders working on demanding tasks, driven by their ambition. Yellows may not exceed at high-stress individual assignments, but their people skills make them a perfect member of a team. Greens may be happier and more productive working in the background, rather than being forced into a role which puts them at the centre of attention and pressure. Blues, with their perfectionist tendencies, may work better alone on projects requiring significant logical and analytical thought.
These traits are just a guide, but Impact International suggests that personality tests can help you to understand the kind of person and worker you are, and what specific needs and desires you have in the workplace compared to those of your colleagues.
By learning how to adapt to different people’s styles and needs in the workplace, the productivity and happiness of employees can flourish, so get to know your employees – it’s worth it.