How to Capitalize on Temperament
An insight I find most useful is the phrase: “we manage the way we like to be managed.” Quite a simple statement but it certainly opens a whole can of worms if you think about how this may affect your relationships and team. Unfortunately, your team is not made up of a bunch of you’s! Therefore, if you want a dynamic, trusting, and collaborative team, you must learn how they like to be managed, communicated with, and what strategies resonate and motivate.
There are many great ways to learn about your team members, for example, enneagram, positive intelligence (PI), working genius, and the one I most recently learned about is Kathleen Edelman’s work around “temperament”.
If we understand our own and others’ temperaments we can better utilize specific words and insight to have a more meaningful and impactful conversation.
Andy Stanley interviews Kathleen on a recent podcast and she outlines the four distinct colors which correspond to specific temperaments, here are some examples:
Yellow: (People and fun) The people-oriented extrovert. These people tend to trust others easily, see the best in others, are deep processors, talk before they think, and prioritize people and relationships.
Red: (Power and control) Task-oreinted extroverts. Tend to dive right in and get the job done, a smart visionary who is dependable and is great a decision-maker. May not be as aware as to their effect on others and may leave a wake behind them and be perceived as a bully. Loyalty is of fundamental importance.
Blue: (Perfection and order) Prioritize tasks over people; thoughtful analyzers. They easily see the barriers to success and are typically task-oriented introverts. Blues are internal processors and may be seen as negative although, they are uniquely positioned to be the creative problem solvers.
Green: (Calm and harmony) People-oriented introverts. Great leaders of people given they prioritize relationships over all else. They stay calm in the chaos and may struggle with decision-making or get paralyzed by multiple choices. Greens like harmony and have a need for respect. Show them respect and they will work hard for you.
The key is, whether you have qualities of a “red “(temperament), “avoider” (PI), or “galvanizer” (working genius) there is no right or wrong, all of these qualities have incredible value and merit if understood and used effectively.
Imagine if you understood how your team thought and processed information and communicated? Now, you could implement strategies and tools to capitalize on their strengths rather than pushing for results? Your team would explode with creativity and opportunity!
A great example: Your small team is meeting and Sarah is listening but not saying a word, you may think she is not engaged or inspired until you remember she is heavy on “green”. She is a quiet processor and values respect and lacks a sense of urgency. Knowing this you say, “Sarah, I know you have had great success in this area before and I would love to hear your thoughts on how we might approach this situation.” This one sentence has demonstrated your respect for her and allowed space for her to speak up and share the thoughts she has been busy processing! Should you not have invited her in, she may have left the meeting without sharing her incredible insights.
As a leader, it is your job to know the psychology of people. Actively learning ways in which others think and strategies to draw out the best in everyone will be pivotal in your success.
My Challenge to You:
If you are not familiar with these concepts or strategies begin the process of learning. Pick one each month for three months and dig in.
Success will create urgency and buy-in. Try one new strategy and see how the dynamics change. Do people react differently to you as their leader? Are they more engaged? Can you appreciate the value of this approach?
Bonus points: have your whole team take an assessment and begin the dialogue around how this changes perceptions and dynamics.
Connect with me if you are interested in rolling this out to your team or incorporating this into your own leadership strategy.