by Rose Friend Schmitt, Ph.D.
Ever wondered why you instantly click with some people while others get on your nerves? Why are you able to communicate effectively with some and not with others? Many researchers have found that the colors and shapes you prefer can predict your personality and communication styles. Once you recognize and understand your own personality and communication color and shape, you will be able to recognize your coworkers’ personality and communication styles. By being able to recognize how you communicate with others and how they communicate with you, your communication skills will vastly improve, and this will increase your ability to work as part of a team.
Color has been used to shape and describe our lives, our habits, our values, and our feelings throughout the ages. Research into the physiological effects of color has shown that it truly has an impact on our lives, often in unconscious and mysterious ways. Color can relieve tension and stress. Blue, for instance, is associated with tranquil surroundings. Thus, it is fitting that color provides the “association” between a temperament type and learning tools. How much better it is to refer to and connect with color than with the highly technical formulas, symbols, words, and numbers generally associated with temperament, personality, and learning theory. Many of these theories, “True-Colors,” “PsychoGeometrics,” and “DISC,” were developed based on the Myers-Briggs philosophy, an analytical approach to identifying personal communication styles. Which one are you?
The Supportive Blue Circles
Strengths: Loyal, thoughtful, good listener, romantic, honest, idealistic, kind, affirming, team-oriented, helpful, peacemakers, have high integrity, and sensitive souls, want to create a stable, harmonious work environment
Perceived weaknesses: Passive aggressive, inflexible, doormat, martyr, insecure, impractical, indecisive, vulnerable, may be the caretakers of the office, may take everything personally
The Blue Circle grows annoyed by insensitivity, dissension, insincerity, egotism, and can often spot fakes. They feel the workplace is personal, and they need to feel secure.
The Blue Circle corresponds to the S (Supportive) in the DISC system.
The Conscientious Green Triangle
Strengths: Exacting, focused, reserved, practical, factual, autonomous, efficient, thorough, need quiet, come to work to work (not socialize), don’t want to be friends, concentrates on key details, uses a systematic approach to work
Perceived weaknesses: Perfectionist, territorial, withdrawn, manipulative, cold, intolerant, sometimes slow to get things done, can be passive
The Green Triangle becomes annoyed by over assertiveness, micromanagers, carelessness, people who are fake.
The Green Triangle corresponds to the C (Conscientiousness) in the DISC system.
The Dominant Gold Square
Strengths: Conservative, conformist, predictable, responsible, organized, professional, disciplined, principled, orderly, very direct, goal-oriented, needs to see the bottom-line, likes to take action, get results, and solve problems
Perceived weaknesses: Over analytical, rigid, inflexible, authoritarian, strict, dogmatic, stubborn, can be blunt, perceived as unapproachable, self-appointed director of the universe
The Gold Square becomes annoyed by ambiguity, irreverence, laziness, overly showing emotions.
The Gold Square corresponds to the D (Dominance) in the DISC system.
The Influencing Orange Squiggle
Strengths: Life of the party, courageous, impulsive, entertainer, competitive, resourceful, socializer, happy, risk-taker, pursues challenges, inspiring, likes to be the center of attention, good at selling, likes group participation, will generate enthusiasm for a project
Perceived weaknesses: Gets bored easily, can be reckless, opinionated, rebellious, impractical, can be pushy, intimidating, overbearing, restless, manipulative proscrastors
The Orange Squiggle grows annoyed by a lack of enthusiasm, waiting, indecision, conventional thinking, boundaries.
The Orange Squiggle corresponds to the I (Influence) in the DISC System.
Now that you know a little bit about each of the four styles, which one are you? Do you know how you would communicate effectively with each of the other styles? Here are some suggestions.
To communicate effectively with a Supportive Blue Circle:
- Be logical and systematic, avoid emotion
- Provide a secure environment
- When change is necessary, ease into it; don’t push, don’t rush
- Share information
- Express sincere appreciation
- Emphasize the person’s contribution to the team
- Keep things confidential
- In an argument, keep it private
- Try to end with both sides in agreement
Remember, the Blue Circle wants to avoid conflict at all costs and may accommodate the wishes of others in order to keep the peace.
To communicate effectively with a Conscientious Green Triangle:
- Be thoroughly prepared
- Be logical and sequential
- Stress teamwork
- Avoid surprises
- Demonstrate your own dependability
- Show loyalty
- Be tactful
- Avoid displays of emotion
- Be precise and focused
- Express value for high standards
- Wait for a better day
Remember, Green Triangles don’t get mad, they get even. Make expectations clear and detailed. Establish deadlines as far in advance as possible and keep it short and simple.
To communication effectively with a Dominant Gold Square:
- Get to the point and stick to it
- Avoid small talk and other attempts to break the ice
- Be equipped with hard data
- Put it in writing
- Make an appointment
- Listen to them
- Demonstrate your own competence
- Be prepared for blunt talk
- Be respectful of rules and expectations
- Display your own independence
Remember, the Gold Square does not like conflict, so they will just avoid it. They don’t like emotionally charged situations and do not like role-playing exercises. Gold Squares are not sensitive to body language, so send them full written reports. Gold Squares like rules and if you’re a squiggle and don’t follow any, then the square will simply write you off.
To communicate effectively with an Influencing Orange Squiggle:
- Be informal
- Be prepared for their over-the-top evangelistic presentation
- Listen and write things down
- Get away from their chaotic office
- Publicly recognize accomplishments
- They want the limelight
- Take rejection hard
- Be prepared to do the paperwork
- Change the subject
- Use humor
Remember the Orange Squiggle is all about fun and being the center of attention; sometimes they can overwhelm simply by being loud. They are very competitive and want to win at all costs. When working with an Orange Squiggle, they want to do the fun and exciting stuff, so you will have to be prepared to do the paperwork. If you’re not getting anywhere, change the subject; squiggles have a short attention span, and they will often forget; just come back to it later.
The Dominant Gold Square will achieve results
The Influencing Orange Squiggle will bring variety and recognition
The Supportive Blue Circle will help stabilize and build relationships
The Conscientious Green Triangle will provide accuracy and consistency