Surrounded by Idiots

We have all had the feeling in our lives that we are surrounded by idiots – “If everyone did what I told them to do when I told them to do it we wouldn’t be in this mess”….does that sound familiar?

It is extremely frustrating when you recognise that your plea’s, plans and persuasion techniques are falling on deaf ears. According to the author of ‘Surrounded by Idiots’ you may in fact be reading the room wrong.

The chances are that you are not surrounded by idiots, you are surrounded by different personality types.

In this book author Thomas Erikson puts forward the idea of there being 4 main personality types, categorised by colour:

Red/dominant
These people have no problem speaking their mind and will revolt against the traditional way of doing things. Characteristics of these people are ambition, dominance, competitiveness, decisiveness. They can be perceived as rude, arrogant, impatient and aggressive. You can spot them in meetings by their input – they will answer the question first, they have opinions on every topic. These people can be good leaders in the right environment and are great at getting things done when there is a tight deadline.

Yellow/optimistic
These people are cheerful, confident but don’t really listen. They have next to no interest in routine. They can be bad listeners, over talkative and easily distracted. But the sun is always shining with these people. Dealing with these people means having an agenda for a meeting, laughing at their jokes and ultimately be prepared. These people are very useful when there is a creative task. They will have endless ideas.

Green/calm
These people are calm, balanced and easy going. They like routine and have minimal interest in change. Although pleasant and caring they can come across as gullible and naïve. They like clear instructions and any changes should be laid out in small incremental steps. They are excellent team players.

Blue/realists
If you need a pessimist in your team, look for the blue people. They have a slow reaction time and like to analyse things for as long as you will let them. They are perfectionists and keep their thoughts to themselves. They can be perceived as aloof and insensitive but really they are more interested in things and systems than people and emotions. They will be detail orientated so if you have a project that needs that, look for the Blues!

This book explains how to spot, deal with and use the people that fit into the above categories.

It is a fascinating look at how we can parse out people and their frame of reference for the world by these categories. In this episode we cover the 4 personality types in detail, how they might be perceived and how to deal with people you recognise as fitting into one of these categories.
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