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 worked with this group of people but also needs to achieve the results expected by their superiors.

Leaders can greatly benefit by being able to identify the types of personality characteristics of team members. By understanding the basic personality types, the leader can use the individual strengths of members for the good of the team, as well as assign tasks that individual team members 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’s 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 colors 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 the authority that they are on the right track.

The strong Blue personality needs an open, social atmosphere to be able to 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 at 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 colors 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 teamwork, the leader is well on the way to achieving extraordinary results.

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