4 Tips for Working Effectively with Your Co-Workers
One of the great things about being on a team is the differences people bring to the group. There is one person who is outgoing and very task-oriented. She tells you what she is going to do and gets it done. On the Birkman Map, she would be a Red, but we also have Blue individuals who say "let's think about it," Green teammates who want to talk it over, and finally, the Yellow who is very objective and will ask us to "let's investigate." Since the adoption of The Birkman Map, leaders have been able to understand better and explore the intricacies of their team's behavior and personality styles. This blog will give you some insights into Birkman, along with some insights into your team.
The use of the Birkman Colors created a common language that gives organizations the ability to understand each other more effectively. Along with understanding the colors, organizations adopt the use of the words "Usual Behavior," "Needs," and Stress." Usual Behavior is the behavior that people see when you are at your best. Needs are hidden from others but reveal your expectations for others and the environment you work in. When your Needs are met, at your best (a.k.a. your Usual Behavior will be seen). When your Needs are not being met, you enter Stress Behavior, which is the visible frustration seen.
As we explore the differences in the Birkman Colors, there are some observable traits associated with the four different colors.
Here's a list of what they are and how to effectively communicate with them.
Red, in Birkman terms, describes individuals who like to "do" things. Reds fall on the quadrant related to extroversion and task orientation. Meaning, these individuals will likely enjoy building things, seeing projects through to the end, and solving problems. You probably see these individuals as very straightforward, logical, energetic, and decisive. Every team has one—the person who is halfway out the door during a meeting ready to get the plans moving.
When they overuse their strengths, Reds can become impatient. Since they are used to being on the go, they may become busy for the sake of being busy and become dismissive of other people's feelings. To help Reds from getting to this point, it's important to have clear-cut situations and an outlet for their energy.
A potential blind spot for Reds is that they may not consider enough options or opinions before getting started on a project. While moving projects forward is essential, flexing to be more thoughtful and reflective can help them ensure the best step moving forward.
Team tip – For individuals who thrive in a Red environment, approach conversations with them by providing facts and clear actions.
Greens are the communicators of your organization. Green pertains to the Birkman quadrant focusing on extroversion and people orientation. These individuals love to sell, persuade, motivate others and often get energized when they work directly with people. They enjoy a healthy competition having novelty in their work, and need this environment to thrive. Having various things to work on and involving a varied group of people will help Greens feel at home in their team.
Under Stress, Green styles can become easily distracted. They will prioritize following group plans rather than their own personal beliefs. To balance their overly flexible style, it's essential to bring some structure to their approach.
A potential blind spot Greens may have their lack of follow-through. While they have the ability to socialize an idea, they often fail to kickstart it because of a lack of preparation. In other instances, they will push their own goals to the side for the sake of social acceptance. Be intentional with your own goals and take time to plan.
Team tip – For individuals who thrive in a Green environment, approach conversations by emphasizing the people and the win!
Blues are visionaries. They are motivated by generating ideas, visualizing possibilities, creating & innovating, and painting "big pictures" through long-term planning. Blue falls on the introverted and people quadrant and is often seen as insightful, thoughtful, and supportive. Most Blues can be perceived as selectively social or sometimes shy, but it's important to remember that it depends on the environment.
Blue reflects an environment where they feel supported, where they can feel heard, and where they can reflect. Giving someone with Blue Needs plenty of time to think about a decision can lead to a profoundly researched answer. When under Stress, they can overthink things and become indecisive. It can also become difficult for them to take action. Setting early deadlines and communicating with others is a way to encourage action.
A potential blind spot for Blues is overthinking things, such as feedback. When communicating with a Blue, it is important to be cautious of how things are said, rather than just say what you are thinking. In these circumstances, simply asking your peer for clarity can be a simple way of ensuring you and a Blue are on the same page.
Team tip – For individuals who thrive in a Blue environment, approach conversations by leading with feelings and how it relates to the bigger picture.
Yellow represents the planners of your team. Yellows are big believers in creating detailed processes, scheduling activities, and checking things off their to-do lists. They like to get their hands in the weeds when working with numbers or details. Yellow is associated with the quadrant reflective of introversion and task orientation. They often appear as independent, orderly, concentrative, cautious, and insistent.
For a Yellow to thrive in their environment, they need to be clear of distractions and have detailed directions. It's important for them to create some form of consistency in their day. In stressful situations, they could become too rigid and overly insistent on rules. When this happens, it is important to let go of the details and focus on the bigger picture.
A potential blind spot for Yellows is they might become too strict in plans and prefer to work alone on projects. While it is important to have a space to work alone, it is important to take the time and socialize ideas. Then, the additional perspective will strengthen your analysis or shine a light on issues you are unaware of.
Team tip – For individuals who thrive in a Yellow environment, approach conversations by leading with facts and details.
While we may fall into our strengths, it is crucial to "flex" to behaviors opposite to ours. However, it's important to note that while we all might share the same colors, we wear them differently. Using colors to paint your behavior is important, but every work of art has a diverse pallet.
If you are interested in using Birkman in your organization or further integrating The Birkman Method, let's connect!
About the Author | Jorge Montemayor
Driven by his interests in technology, people, and the world around him, Jorge applied these passions as he pursued and graduated from the University of Houston with degrees in Management Information Systems and Marketing, and now in the greater world around him. Along his journey, Jorge took many behavioral assessments on the path to self-discovery and stumbled upon Birkman, where he not only gained the deepest insight into himself but also found a place to begin his career as a Research and Innovation Associate. He looks forward to continuing to apply his curiosity about human behavior in the work he does. When not in the office, Jorge enjoys playing chess with friends, looking at market trends, and amateur disc jockeying.