Workzone: Workers may benefit from bringing out their color

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If you tell Shoya Zichy that you're feeling a little Blue, she will assume you're theoretical, knowledge-oriented and competitive.

Ms. Zichy is the creator of the Color Q system, which basically categorizes people's temperaments into one of four types: Blue, Gold, Green and Red. She argues that understanding your personality color -- and the colors of those you deal with -- will enhance your career and your relationship with others.

Golds are grounded, goal-oriented and excel at organization. So when they are working with Reds, who are action-oriented and spontaneous, they need to use words such as "attack" and "challenge." And Greens, who are empathetic and creative, should keep their working relationship with Blues professional and avoid words like "feel" or "believe."

"When you're working with your opposite, be aware and soften your tendencies," says Ms. Zichy, author of "Personality Power: Discover Your Unique Profile -- and Unlock Your Potential for Breakthrough Success."

"The first thing is to be aware that you are different."

Her book has a simple, 10-minute self-assessment that guides a reader to the in-depth chapter devoted to each specific personality type. (In addition to a primary color, each person has a backup color and an extrovert/introvert dimension).

The chapters explain each color's work-related strengths and potential blind spots; identify ideal (and least-preferred) work environments; identify workplace conditions that create stress and fatigue; and offer advice for communicating with other color types.

While workers may get along better if they all look at the world the same way, that doesn't yield the best results, Ms. Zichy says.

"They reinforce each other but don't produce the best solutions," she says. "The best teams and the best decisions are made by ... different people."

Ms. Zichy, who has written other books and teaches a class at New York University on matching career to personality, is past member of The Association for Psychological Type International, an organization for professional users of personality type and assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Ms. Zichy, who has a master's in education from Boston University, had a 20-year career at Citibank, Merrill Lynch, American Express and Institutional Investor before focusing on her new passion.

Although understanding yourself goes a long way, "Personality Power" also offers hints on how to determine the personality colors of co-workers, clients and bosses.

Is your boss neat, meets deadlines early, and devises and follows rules and procedures? She is probably a Gold.

If a co-worker has a messy desk, often runs late and has a great sense of humor, he is most likely a Red.

Blues like high-tech tools, are voracious readers and speak in compound sentences.

And you can spot a Green by the many pictures of friends or family on display at work, his informal manner and sensitivity to criticism.

Ms. Zichy says even when styles clash, workers often learn that they need each other to succeed: "Find the commonality and build the relationship."

More information on the Color Q system is available at

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Brian Hyslop: or 412-263-1936.


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