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Blue, Green, Gold? How to Manage Employees Based on their "Color" Temperaments

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Managing employees can be a tall task for any entrepreneur. But it can be particularly tough for young or first-time entrepreneurs. For these novice bosses, learning how to manage takes plenty of patience, lots of practice and a quick lesson on primary colors.

In the book Colour Savvy, authors Susan Geary and Anne Bulstrode, examine the four main temperaments people possess: Inquiring Green, Resourceful Orange, Organized Gold and Authentic Blue. They also offer up ideas on how best to deal with their strengths and weaknesses.

While hardly a be-all-end-all criterion, determining an individual’s "color," or temperament, can help newbie entrepreneurs discover an employee's particular preferences and ideal work settings -- which could in the end, lead to a more productive environment.

Below is the lowdown on the temperament traits, the best way to interact, and in what positions these people may be a good fit:

Inquiring Green

Entrepreneurs Fitting the Inquiring Green Temperament: Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs


Traits: Inquiring Greens are known for being independent and prefer to do things their way. With a bit of a stubborn streak, these individuals are not keen on people telling them what to do and favor facts and dates over abstract information. Also, these folks tend to look towards the future and focus less on the present and past.

Dealing with Greens: With their take charge personalities, they tend to chafe at micromanaging. When discussing issues with Inquiring Greens don’t be afraid to stand your ground, exert your arguments confidently and make sure your case is presented in a no-nonsense, logical way.

What position Greens may thrive in: Inquiring Greens focus on the big picture, leaving details in the dust. They are strategic thinkers and are often seen as visionaries. While they may be able to pave the way for your startup, they can come off as a bit antisocial and impatient. Positions in which Greens may excel include managerial roles, founders and marketing.

Resourceful Orange

Entrepreneurs Fitting the Resourceful Orange Temperament: Richard Branson, Marc Benioff, Herb Kelleher

Traits: Resourceful Oranges are on the squirrely side. They have difficulty standing still, tend to be impulsive and make hasty decisions. Their zealous temperament excels in a constantly changing environment.

Dealing with Oranges: When confronting Resourceful Oranges, humor can do the trick. While they respond better when issues are kept light-hearted, make sure you still let them know exactly what needs to be accomplished. Also, they don't do too well being micromanaged, so make sure you don't tell them how to do their job but what needs to get done.

What position Oranges may thrive in: Because Resourceful Oranges can flourish in unstable environments and aren’t tied down in their ways, they are considered the most adaptable among the four temperaments. They tend to thrive when deadlines need to be met and multitasking is required. Grab a Resourceful Orange, when problems arise, as they are apt to take control of situations, stay calm, and tend to be charming. Positions Oranges may enjoy: sales, PR, crisis management

Organized Gold

Entrepreneurs Fitting the Organized Gold Temperament: Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg


Traits: These people tend to prefer structure where responsibilities are presented to them in a clear cut format. While Organized Gold can take direction well and can be easy to manage, they do have difficulty with change. They thrive in routine environment and may find it challenging to stay relaxed when different situations arise. Organized Golds can oftentimes be labeled as overprotective and are known to be workaholics.

Dealing with Golds: When confronting Organized Golds, present your argument in a logical, easy-to-understand format. Make sure you make Golds feel like they are part of the team. Also, be prepared for that employee to be quick to provide critiques for you, too.

What positions Organized Golds may thrive in: They enjoy being social and like the sense of community, making them a great team player. And, as the name suggests, these people are great organizers and priority setters.  Positions Golds may enjoy: HR, managerial roles, developer, engineer

Authentic Blue

Entrepreneurs Fitting the Authentic Blue Temperament: Oprah, Howard Schultz, Chad Hurley


Traits: Authentic Blues are very much in touch with who they are and are known to look for the meaning in everything. While this temperament lends itself to being a natural communicator, these people may also be overly sensitive and may not take criticism well.

Dealing with Blues: Authentic Blues handle confrontation best when you look to the future and provide specific, personal stories for context when trying to get your point across. Also, just like with other temperaments, it is important to listen to these individuals when they voice their concerns.

What positions Authentic Blues may thrive in: People possessing this temperament are great at communicating their needs and can be known for their storytelling skills. Positions Authentic Blues may enjoy: PR, marketing,

What management lessons would you offer to startup or young entrepreneurs? Let us know in the comments section.

Andrea Huspeni

Written By

Andrea Huspeni is the former special projects director at and the founder of This Dog's Life.