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How to find the right employee balance through personality ‘colours’

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Jung deduced a categorisation of distinct personality types based on his observations and studies of people. Admittedly, the wise old chaps of Ancient Greece, including Hippocrates, Plato and Aristotle, might have started the work, but it was Jung who really nailed it.

He outlined eight ‘personality types’. Each of these types represented a combination of his four ‘functional types’ (thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition) with either an ‘introverted’ or ‘extroverted’ attitude. Although his theoretical work is not exactly bedtime reading, it did lay down a solid platform for effective recruitment. 

One of the simplest derivatives in this field is the Lumina Spark System. Essentially, the Lumina Spark System ascribes different personality types to different colours and suggests how the right combination of personality ‘colours’ can create the optimum employee balance – in terms of both productivity and atmosphere. 

In this system red is ‘commanding’, yellow is ‘inspiring/creative’, green is ‘empowering/harmonious’ and blue is ‘conscientious/analytic’. People can be any number of colour combinations; with the ideal employee probably having an equal measure of each. However, most will have a colour that is dominant in their personalities, and knowing what that is can be extremely useful in terms of managing and building effective professional team combinations.

For example, to put too many ‘reds’ together (the type’s natural decisiveness often lends itself to leadership) and you might find that meetings and biscuits in the boardroom quickly become smack talk and knuckle sandwiches. As a further example, if were you only to employ ‘yellows’, there’d be lots of innovative intention and invention, but maybe less day to day productivity – you’d need a few other colours involved for that.

Of course, certain personality colours lend themselves toward certain professions or departments (you might want your finance direction to have a ‘blue’ tint, just for the analytic connotations), but generally, the best teams, and indeed the best individual employees, have the attributes of each colour within them. So, if you’re building a business team and you have red, yellow and blue personalities on board already, and you have a number of candidates with similar skillsets and experience, it could very well be that a ‘green’ would offer the best fit into that team.

As I’m sure most people will know, businessmen and women tend not to have the inclination to dedicate themselves to great tomes of academic psychology history – but they are all interested into developing effective day-to-day team structures. What the Lumina Spark system does is to make the imaginative leap from theory to practice for them; channeling the wisdom of intellectual books on library shelves into bottom line boardroom success.

Now, I know stuff like this does occasionally register a bleep or two on the savvy business leader’s twaddle radar, but I urge you not to discount it for two main reasons. Firstly, it’s all derived from some hefty research from Jung – and he was a very serious and scientifically rigorous chap indeed. Secondly, because when you actually give it some time and thought, all the Lumina Spark System really is is advanced human resources with a fancy name, ingeniously streamlined and packaged up for ease of application.

The ‘colours’ might be the memorable (and effective) gimmick, but in essence, an understanding of the personalities, rather than just the capabilities, should always be a major part of a manager’s recruitment and general management methodology.

Matthew Marriott is Commercial Director of Hellmann Worldwide Logistics UK.

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