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Updated 26 Feb 2020

Blue, green, gold?

How to manage employees (and yourself) by ‘colour’ temperament. 

Andrea Huspeni, Entrepreneur, 24 August 2013  Share  0 comments  Print

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Managing employees can be a tall task for any entrepreneur. In the book Colour Savvy, authors Susan Geary and Anne Bulstrode examine the four main temperaments people possess: Inquiring Green, Resourceful Orange, Organised Gold and Authentic Blue. They also offer ideas on how best to deal with their strengths and weaknesses.

Here’s a lowdown on the temperament traits, the best way to interact, and in what positions these people may fit. And maybe you can spot yourself here, too.

Inquiring Green

Mark Zuckerberg

  • 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 favour facts and dates over abstract information. Also, they 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 micro-managing. 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.
  • Positions Greens may thrive in: Managerial roles, founders and marketing. 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 business, they can come off as a bit anti-social and impatient.

Organised Gold

Marissa Mayer, president and CEO of Yahoo

  • Traits: These people tend to prefer structure where responsibilities are presented to them in a clear cut format. While Organised Gold can take direction well and can be easy to manage, they do have difficulty with change. They thrive in routine environments and may find it challenging to stay relaxed when different situations arise.
  • Dealing with Golds: When confronting Organised 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.
  • Positions Organised Golds may thrive in: HR, managerial roles, developer, engineer. 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 organisers and priority setters.

Authentic Blue


  • 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’s important to listen to these individuals when they voice their concerns.
  • Positions Authentic Blues may thrive in: PR, marketing. People possessing this temperament are great at communicating their needs and can be known for their storytelling skills.

Resourceful Orange

Richard Branson

  • 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.
  • Positions Oranges may thrive in: Sales, PR, crisis management. 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.

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About the author

Andrea Huspeni, Entrepreneur

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