Personality Dimensions® – Colourful Stress

Stress-ZebraStripesToday’s post comes to us from the Personality Dimensions® archives; this article was first published in the Winter 2006 edition of Dimensionally Speaking.  While it has been nine years since this was published, the things that stress out still have not changed!


Colourful Stress: What Stresses You Out?

These are the answers that a group of Personality Dimensions® Level 1 Trainers submitted when answering the questions:

1) What stresses you out?

2) When you are stressed, how can we help?


Inquiring Green

  • No access to the tools/resources needed to research, write ideas
  • Not knowing expectations (end result) “what do you want from me?”
  • Having to repeat myself (“what part don’t you get?”)
  • Being put down – ideas not recognized as useful, significant
  • Lack of recognition for idea, creative concept, credit given to others
  • “GET TO THE POINT” – beating around the bush
  • Being controlled, tight restrictions
  • Reporting progress (interim reports limit ideas, not ready yet)
  • Not having others follow systems
  • Anything ILLOGICAL


 How to help us:

  • Validate our input (ideas) as important & relevant
  • Clear instructions, expectations, criteria
  • Freedom to get to the end result in our own way
  • Provide access to tools & resources


Authentic Blue

  • Told our work not good enough
  • RUDENESS & Inconsiderate words
  • When you break our trust
  • Accused of being disloyal or untrustworthy
  • Cruelty (to those who are defenceless)
  • Injustice
  • Criticizing
  • When you don’t “let me in”
  • Sterile Environment, cold


How to help us:

  • Acknowledge our feelings
  • VALIDATE them
  • Physical contact (for some of us), smiles
  • Let us emote until we’re done
  • Publicly encourage us, affirmation
  • Share your feelings with us
  • Harmonious, pleasant environment


 Organized Gold

  • Lack of consistency
  • Disorganization in others
  • Being told we’re not fun or spontaneous
  • Criticize my organization skills
  • When efforts not appreciated
  • People not conscious of time
  • Untidiness or clutter
  • Others reorganizing our space
  • Values not respected
  • People who show without notice


How to help us:

  • Call first before you visit
  • Don’t touch our stuff!!!
  • Respect our organization skills and our need for structure
  • Give us a compliment!


 Resourceful Orange

  • Inflexible rules, Routines
  • Boredom, Not enough variety
  • Not having enough to do
  • Wasting time, waiting
  • Narrow-minded people & their expectations
  • People Treating us as scattered/frivolous
  • Waiting for someone to respond or get to the point
  • Lack of freedom


 How to help us:

  • Give us space; allow us freedom
  • Allow us to find our own way
  • Being open to a variety of solutions
  • Providing us with “why”
  • Understanding my impatience
  • Lighten up – make things fun
  • Not restraining us (we can change direction if things don’t work out)

Joan Grobb Augustino, Work-Self-Life Strategist, is a Motivational Speaker & Personality Dimensions® Master Trainer who helps people & organizations perform better and grow faster by aligning WHO they are with WHAT they do.

Personality Dimensions® – Musings from the Back Office

Why Was Personality Dimensions® Developed?

listening dog

Every once in a while someone will ask me why we developed Personality Dimensions®. To answer I tell the story of a meeting of career counsellors and resource people that took place in the late ‘80’s. I had taken along a pile of new things that I thought the group would be interested in knowing about and was seated at my usual place at the back of the room. This was a great group of people; we knew each other well and took great delight in sharing information and networking, all with the goal of providing the best for the students we helped. Since this meeting was in the Toronto area it was well attended with about 50 or 60 people present. From the front of the room the head of career services for the largest public school board in Canada called to me and asked if I knew of something that they could use with students who were on track to be early school leavers. These kids had had enough, wanted out and wouldn’t be sticking around; and the career counsellors and educators were looking for something that would help them as they moved into this new phase of their lives. She asked for something that would help the students learn about themselves, perhaps understand why they didn’t do well in the school environment and maybe help them in their job hunt. Oh, and by the way, it couldn’t look like anything else they had done at school! A tall order, for sure!

That was the very beginning of how I became involved in working with temperament theory models. Personality Dimensions® evolved as we realized that far more research needed to be done, both on the tool itself and on the theory that it supported, to make the theory more usable and acceptable in the Canadian cultural context. We asked for input from facilitators, counsellors, educators and individuals from all walks of life on what would make it as useful and valuable as possible and how the final tool should look. And these folks were very generous in their support. They participated in the baseline survey we devised to determine statistical validity; some attended Focus Groups across the country and we paid attention to every concrete suggestion made for any and all aspects of the system.

So, in short, Personality Dimensions® was developed because we listened. You asked for it, you shaped it and you continue to evolve it through your suggestions, comments and feedback. And I promise you that we’ll keep listening and trying to help just like we did way back in the late ‘80’s (or, as my kids used to say, “back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and Mom was young”).

Yours, from the back office … Denise


Denise Hughes is the Director and owner of Denise HeadshotCareer/LifeSkills Resources Inc. and general editor of Personality Dimensions® materials and products. She just noticed the calendar and realized it is just past the 41st anniversary of her introduction to career and type and temperament materials. Those experiences and the expertise she gained through her years with the Guidance Centre, University of Toronto, and now with CLSR, continue to shape the direction that both Career/LifeSkills Resources and Personality Dimensions® take.

Personality Dimensions® – The Colour of Your Team

team-blackboardHave you ever wondered why your co-workers seem so strange?  Why is that one person’s desk is neat as a pin, yet her co-workers is a total mess?  One co-worker likes to work on projects alone, while another cannot stay in his cubicle for more than 10 minutes – often ‘popping in’ to get your opinion on something.  We all have people in our lives who push our hot buttons – we often ask ourselves – why can’t they just Be Like Me?

The language of temperament helps us to understand the ‘why’ of our co-workers’ weird and wonderful behaviours. Temperament, and in particular the Personality Dimensions® model, gives us a common language to speak in the workplace, which helps us predict such things as how people learn, lead others, socialize, manage their work and overall relate to one another.  Personality Dimensions® gives us a common language to help us understand ourselves, value the gifts that others bring to work, and in general if used positively – can expand and enhance our ability to communicate more effectively.

In the workplace, Personality Dimensions® can be used in a number of different applications, such as; team building, communication, leadership and coaching.  As a former team leader with 35 direct reports, I used Personality Dimensions® to support my employees in their development plans, and to customize coaching plans for them.  Having this common understanding between team leader and employee gives you a reference point to start any conversation.  Is it a magic bullet? No! It’s a tool for busy managers to use to help you be more effective and to ‘manoeuvre’ around the people mine fields.  Also, knowing your own work and communication style can help you to adapt and adopt different styles to be more successful in your daily interactions.

What do the Four Personality Dimensions® look like at work?

Authentic Blues – can be recognized by their open communication style, they are natural catalysts – ‘people people’. They will facilitate team cohesiveness and can be very sensitive to conflict or criticism of self or others. Blues may take things too personally and suffer stress as a result.  What to look for…  A desk full of Self Development Quotes; casual and open.

Inquiring Greens can be recognized as the logical thinkers who ask a lot of questions, they need to be seen as confident and competent by self and others.  They are future thinkers and may get a bad rap for ‘raining on the parade’.  What to look for… A desk with lots of books for research, models; it may look like a mad scientist lives there.

Organized Golds – can be recognized as being the punctual, dependable, reliable employee.  They have a strong sense of what’s right or wrong – they will uphold organizational rules and procedures.  Some can see them as resistant to change.  They just need to know the ‘why’.  What to look for… The name says it all… An organized and neat desk – everything in its place – even the family photos.

Resourceful Oranges – can be recognized by their independence and ability to multitask and troubleshoot a crisis.  They will be looking for the next challenge, and get quickly bored if there is not one, they may even create one to compete with themselves and others.  They can be blunt, and may say what they see.  Freedom and independence in work is critical to the Orange.  What to look for… Desk? What desk?

Add to this mix the element of Introversion/Extraversion, and this adds another layer of complexity to human behaviour at work. Extraverts take their energy from outer stimulation, Introverts from Inner stimulation.  Extraverts may get into trouble by speaking too much at meetings or by blurting out an idea before it has been formulated – it’s how they think (out loud).  Introverts may get into trouble by not speaking enough, getting a bad rap for holding back ideas or information.  They are often just not ready to let go of the idea, or may think they have expressed it and have not.

All of us as leaders have blind spots about our own behaviour – we can all get tripped up with human dynamics.  Wouldn’t it be great if you had one tool that could give you a ‘Coles notes’ insight into the behaviour of others and yourself? Personality Dimensions® can do this.

Managers and team leaders must often lead employees through some difficult changes; it may be office closures, downsizing, staff cuts or just new directions and policies.  Even the stress of performance reviews can be minimized, if you are aware of the employee’s personality style.

I remember the first performance review I ever delivered; the employee was a Gold/Blue. (Let’s call her Donna) I had been warned by her former managers that Donna was difficult and would probably cry if given any criticism.  Donna also had a reputation with staff as being a bit impatient, yet she really knew her stuff and when tackling a problem, she worked the problem until solved.  I went in with a plan to praise her for the great job she had done on a project we worked on together, praising her for her great organizational and tactical abilities.  We did talk about her tendency to be impatient with some and came up with a plan to deal with this (really this was about Donna being interrupted while working on a problem).  Donna did cry at the end of her performance review, but his time for good reason – she said that for the first time ever, she felt someone ‘got her’.  Donna became one of the most productive, motivated and engaged employees on my team.

This stuff works!  Imagine a team of employees who feel/think that they can bring their whole selves to work, that their innate talents and skills be honoured?  It’s a workplace that everyone aspires to, yet for most it is still elusive.  Personality Dimensions® cannot solve every human relations issue, but it can help teams understand each other, promote diversity and co-operation and minimize stressful workplace issues.  Personality Dimensions® can be used for coaching, team dynamics, leadership, customer service, sales and personal development.


Irene-AndersonIrene Anderson – CTACC, has brought Personality Dimensions® programs to many teams and individuals. Irene has shared her expertise through consulting, training, speaking and in print.  With her combination of coaching and results-driven facilitating, she has helped executives, managers and entrepreneurs to better success in business and career. Irene has also shared her unique talents with not-for-profit groups, as a volunteer, facilitator and speaker. Irene’s style of facilitation is results oriented, with a focus directly on the client, using a unique Self Discovery process, and a commitment to ensure that all personalities are honoured. Irene is truly dedicated to the success of her clients, and as a career coach has a unique knack for uncovering the talents and strengths of the client, and moving them toward that ‘AHA’ moment when they really begin to embrace who they are meant to be.

Personality Dimensions® Colourful Strengths

The power of Personality Dimensions® is in the whole experience; it is part assessment and part self-discovery process.  After individuals complete their assessments, they get to work with others with the same Dimensions to help clarify and reinforce their results.  One of the first questions groups are asked to answer is “what are your natural strengths?”  Since launching in 2004, hundreds of thousands of people have experienced a Personality Dimensions® Introductory Session. With all these people you would think that there would be a huge number of different answers to this question, but in fact we keep seeing the same ones over and over again.  So here it is… the top 10 strengths each of the four Personality Dimensions® see in themselves…



It’s great that these same responses keep coming up over and over again, but what happens if you are facilitating a group, and you are missing representation from one of the Dimensions?  It can easily happen; statistically there are fewer Inquiring Greens and Resourceful Oranges than there are Authentic Blues and Organized Golds.  Knowing this could be a challenge, especially to new Personality Dimensions® Trainers, we created Phantom Groups – Virtual Flip-Charts for Personality Dimensions® Brightened Groups.  Phantom Groups are, simply, sample representative flip-charts from previous groups.


The flip-charts selected to appear in Phantom Groups are reproductions of actual flip-charts created by Personality Dimensions® groups over an eight year period. They are typical representations, not tailored to any special groups, just as you would expect to be generated at an introductory workshop. The contents are an accurate reproduction of what each group contributed, using computer graphics to make them easier to read.  Lynda McKim, who compiled the Phantom Groups charts, saved these and carried them with her to each Introductory Workshop, just in case she needed them.  Now, instead of carrying an awkward mailing tube, with flip-chart papers, you only need the Phantom Groups disc in your toolbox.