An 80-year long study at Harvard University has found one habit that keeps people happy. The habit? Good relationships.

Good relationships with the people around you increases your happiness. “But how does this relate to working life?”, I hear you say. Well, good relationships with colleagues not only leads to a happier working life, but also makes you think differently about how you would engage with a colleague - so ultimately, you both finish the conversation smiling!

It’s becoming ever more important to know the people you work with. It’s not so much about knowing what their favourite type of cake is (although that would help!) but understanding their personality and how someone may react differently to a situation.

Team day1

Originally identified by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and further developed to the present day, personality theory categorises people’s personality into areas where they each focus their energy. For example, I am a ‘Helper’, a person who is flexible (not physically), adaptable and easy-going, a good listener, and open minded. I am also seldom critical and someone who doesn’t like to be ignored. However, I may take criticism personally and could hold grudges and never tell you about them!

As a ‘Helper’, I thrive in a team environment and like to be involved in everything (FOMO). Jung’s research suggests that a good understanding of self, both strengths and weaknesses, enables individuals to develop effective strategies for interaction and can help them to better respond to the demands of their environment. In summary, if a colleague is more aware of the type of environment I enjoy (as a ‘Helper’), they can adapt the way a question or a task is presented to me to make the situation easier for me to digest, creating a more efficient work environment. However, before you can understand how to work with specific personalities, you need to know your own.

Recently, the Ultimate team spent a day with HR Made Easy and Ripple Effect; companies which offers a framework for self-understanding and development. Using the personality type framework, they position your personality traits to a colour wheel. The colour wheel is divided into 8 colours which represent 8 key areas of character; a reformer, director, motivator, inspirer, helper (that’s me), supporter, coordinator and observer.

Team day2

Unsurprisingly, most developers, fell into the observer or coordinator types; these people are often analytical. In contrast, the Client Services are predominantly in the director roles - the decision makers.

Taking time to discover personalities with colleagues can help find the best way to work with them, and vice versa. This discovery of personality traits can create a workplace where colleagues are aware of each others work habits. Some want to be involved, some want the details, and some want a decision to be made fast. Taking a minute to think about how to interact with your colleagues, can help to increase productivity, as giving them the right information in the right way speeds up the process. Creating an easier work life and most importantly a happier one.

Written by Josh Ellis June of 2019