Monkey Monday - February 28th, 2022

Understanding your team and embracing their differences

Fun stuff | Monkey Mondays

In all companies there are a mix of people who like to communicate in different ways. Matt was inspired by the book Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson to think differently about our team.

Understanding your teammates, their needs, and how they communicate is so important. It not only helps build a more efficient working team, it’s also beneficial for our mental health to be appreciated for the things that make us different.

What colour are you?

Blue owl

Blue owlAnalytic, perfectionist, cautious

Blue people are systems-oriented introverts. Their strengths lie in attention to detail, analysing complex data, and strong organisation skills.

  • They are good at researching, planning ahead, risk assessment and quality control.

  • They are naturally quiet and introspective. They enjoy being alone and working independently.

  • They can sometimes come across as aloof, slow, pessimistic, fussy and obsessive.

  • A good way to work with blue people is to respect their planning and forethought. This is often the difference between a project failing and a project succeeding.

  • Understand that they may take longer to complete a task, but that they will do so to an extremely high standard.

  • Use data to persuade a blue person. They will not be swayed by bullshit. Hit them with facts and figures, not emotional arguments. When change is needed, explain why.

Red panther

red pantherDecisive, proactive, impatient

Red people are systems-oriented extroverts. Their strengths lie in motivating action, resolving indecision, meeting deadlines and challenging the status quo.

  • They are good at driving production, instigating change and inspiring efficiency.

  • They are natural leaders and like to be in control.

  • They can sometimes come across as impatient, bossy, over-confident, confrontational, aggressive and rude.

  • A good way to work with red people is to be firm, rational and to-the-point - don’t try to sugar-coat a situation. Tell it like it is, and they will decide what needs to be done.

  • Their confrontational, disruptive input can be the refreshing ‘kick up the arse’ everyone needs.

  • Give them plenty to do - red people hate to be idle.

  • Be prepared for brutal honesty delivered with passion. Red people don’t mince their words.

Green dolphin

green dolphinCalm, caring, deferential

Green people are people-oriented introverts. Their strengths lie in their easy-going attitude, their tolerance and patience, and their selfless work ethic.

  • They are good at caring for others, listening and being empathetic.

  • They are natural team players but shy away from leadership roles.

  • They can sometimes come across as naive, indifferent, set-in-their ways, and lacking initiative.

  • A good way to work with green people is to avoid putting them in the spotlight. Don’t make a fuss of their achievements - this will just embarrass them.

  • Respect their need for stability and routine - introduce change in small, incremental steps.

  • Communicate with them one-on-one rather than in a large forum. Give them clear instructions.

  • Be careful when criticising, because they will take negative feedback to heart. 

Yellow peacock

yellow peacockCharismatic, optimistic, chaotic

Yellow people are people-oriented extroverts. Their strengths lie in communication, creativity and problem-solving.

  • They are good at public speaking, diffusing tense situations, and finding possibilities in everything.

  • They are naturally gregarious and outgoing. They make good leaders and team players.

  • They can sometimes come across as careless, superficial, egotistical and overly talkative. They are poor listeners.

  • A good way to work with yellow people is to come to them with a smile, laugh at their jokes, and give them plenty of praise. They take negativity personally. 

  • Their positivity is valuable in overcoming adversity, and their charisma allows them to sell hard ideas and win people over.

  • Agendas and to-do lists will help keep them on track.

  • Give them plenty of opportunities to help people - this is what they find most rewarding.

Transcript Show / Hide

Chris Goor, you are careless, superficial, you're self centered, egotistical. You're overly talkative. Ugh!
What? What are you talking about?
You're obviously none of those things. But we want to talk a bit today about personality types and how they might clash and how, because of your personality, people might see you as those things. I don't think they would because you're a lovely person.
Thank you.
So, uh, there's some great stuff out there, which I'm sure some of you have seen before. We've mentioned, um, Thomas Erickson, Surrounded by Idiots, a great read. There's the Myers-Briggs personality tests. There's things that put you as an animal, probably there's stuff out there that tells you what sort of Lord of the Rings character you might be. We like, um, the Surrounded by Idiots approach and the animals approach, because it's a bit simpler than Myers-Briggs. Myers-Briggs has like 16 different things and it's kind of hard to understand them and put in your head, but this simple coloured grid. And if you're like, creative like us and you like to think of animals then that's an easy way to remember it. This four way grid helps you see which one of those you fit into the best. So let's put the grid up.
And these are also the animals that, uh, our resident artist, Iulia, has been designing too.
Copyrighted to Iulia, no stealing. So, um, the left-hand side represents people who are more introverted, the right-hand side represents people who are more extroverted. The top two represent people who probably care more about systems and tasks. And the bottom part of the grid represents people who probably care more about relationships and people. So, uh, we'll go over each one really quickly. So blue, the blue owl, they are fairly analytical people who care about systems and they're kind of introverted. Naturally, they want to slow things down. They care about process. Well that kind of frustrates Chris and I a little bit, because we're the opposite of that. We're more yellow. So we're like the yellow peacock, we're the opposite to the blues. We're kind of creative, chatty, uh, dare I say charming. Maybe not. This is why, I mean if saying that annoyed you, you might be blue. So understanding the personalities. We're not trying to be irritating by talking a lot, or not always listening well, um, that could frustrate some blue personalities and understanding that's a really powerful thing.
Hmm it's and it's just interesting how the, the interaction between two different colour types can be tricky, but it's also the sort of secret sauce to make a business work because you've been watching The Apprentice recently, haven't you?
Well, yeah, we just started, I mean, man, we could do an entire series, which maybe we should, just reviewing The Apprentice. Um, but as, as, uh, me and my partner watching it, she said the problem with The Apprentice is all of these people are all red personalities. So, uh, the red panthers, if you like, they are kind of they're ambitious, they're competitive, they're dominant. They want things to be moved very quickly, uh, they're not too worried about people. They just want to put stuff in place, make it go, make it happen. They're good project managers. They're good organisers. They're good at driving things very quickly. And, um, they can kind of, they can frustrate everyone in a way, but when you put a load of red personalities together, if they don't understand that they're all that kind of personality type, that's when you can see quite a bit of conflict and you get that a lot on The Apprentice. So they're all red and they're all just fighting each other all the time.
So, um, it's you have to understand, understand the, uh, what personality type everyone is before communicating with them. Is it really that useful? Have you found?
I think it can be really, really helpful. And, um, just knowing that green personalities, which are the most, um, common personality, that's what most people are. Most people just they're quietly introverted and they care about, uh, people and relationships. Um, But knowing that they're probably not somebody, you wouldn't necessarily want to put somebody like that in charge of a load of red people, because they wouldn't, that dynamic wouldn't necessarily marry particularly well. I mean it could do, but it's just interesting to know, um, that it might not. And knowing that red people may come across as controlling or aggressive or rude. They're not, they're really not being, they're just trying to speak their mind. They're trying to understand things and they want to move things quickly. From a, a yellow perspective when we want to get on with things. And we just want life to be happy with everyone, blue personalities might frustrate us a little bit because they they're just, they seem like they're really officious and holding things back all the time. And, uh, but they're not, they just want to make sure everything is correct and perfect before it goes out or is released or they want the structures in place to make sure the work is solid and repetitive. And, uh, so it's interesting to see how these slot together. And once you understand that you can navigate, um, your relationships better, not just in business actually, but in, in real life as well.
Do you think it really helps you then?
I think it massively can. And, um, maybe it's something you guys have already done or could share your experiences with. I think doing this with your team and just having everyone be really open about what they think they are. I mean, I'm really interested to do it when you put out what you think you are and then what everyone else thinks you are. And whether that, whether that marries up, um, because I kind of get the impression, that's not always the case. And sometimes people might come across as being really red, when they're not actually, they're just making up for something else. Maybe.
Well, we'll put a link to the article that's in the zine down below, and you might be able to get the zine if it's still floating around.
Yeah, definitely. And we'll put as much information as we can about these different personality types below. And you can use that as a quick guide to see who you are. If you're really interested in this, you could do the deeper stuff. You could check out, Google anywhere, the Myers- Briggs personality type, and that goes into way more detail. But this is a really nice shorthand just to figure out, uh, where you fit, where your personality fits with other personalities and how you can be more empathetic, empathatic? Have more empathy.
And how, how your peacocks can get on with your owls.
Yes. Or your green dolphins. Dolphins are green now, by the way, we've rebranded them.

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