Patrick Lencioni and his team at The Table Group have developed a 10-minute online assessment called The 6 Types of Working Genius. The premise is that everyone has work activities that give them joy and energy and others that don’t. If they do the former kind of activity most of the time, they love their work. But if they spend their time in the latter, work becomes frustrating and draining.
Interestingly, what frustrates me might be what you love to do. But without the language to describe what energizes you and what drains you, it’s hard to advocate for yourself or assign activities to the most appropriate teammates. As a result, we lose out on the productivity gains that come when each person’s unique genius is harnessed.
The power in the model is that once you figure out your genius types, you can concisely describe what work activities give you energy and joy. Armed with this language you can do many things like:
- Review your job description. Highlight the duties you love in green, those you hate in red, and those you can stand (if you must) in yellow.
- Compare your geniuses with those on your team. Consider opportunities to shift work within the team to maximize everyone’s enjoyment and productivity.
- Gaps in the team? Next time you hire for a position, consider hiring for those geniuses you may be missing.
There are so many psychometric tests, scientific and not, that purport to show “the real you.” Often, the real value from these tests is in the insights that arise from individual reflection and/or group discussion and how they’re put to use. What we like about this assessment is that it is focused on work, takes 10-minutes, and the insights can be implemented at once. Even without the test, look at the six types of working genius below and choose your two. They even came up with an acronym – WIDGET.
The 6 Types of Working Genius
Type 1 – Genius of Wonder
Wonderers are extremely comfortable and good at sitting in ambiguity, thinking deeply, and contemplating why things are the way they are (or aren’t). They can’t help but question whether the world could be better and are troubled by unmet potential. They don’t necessarily know how to fix the problems they name; they just find the problems.
Type 2 – Genius of Invention
Inventors have many, many, many ideas on how to solve problems. These creative people love a blank whiteboard and post-it notes are their best friends. They can brainstorm all the possible solutions to the Wonderer’s problems. Which is the best? That’s not necessarily their forte.
Type 3 – Genius of Discernment
Discerners have great instincts and intuition around the Inventor’s ideas. They may not know why they think the way they do, but often a combination of logic, common sense, and the subtleties of human need guide their assessments.
Type 4 – Genius of Galvanizing
The Galvanizer takes the Discerner’s choice and has a unique ability to rally the troops. They energize people around an idea and inspire them to action. It is the Galvanizer that moves the idea forward. They are great at getting started.
Type 5 – Genius of Enablement
The Enabler comes along side and allows people to get the work done. They are quick to offer help and support. If the Galvanizer gets people started, the Enablers allow them to execute. They are the helpers that can support and keep things moving.
Type 6 – Genius of Tenacity
The Tenacious push projects across finish lines. The get energy and joy from completing projects to a standard of excellence and that have the desired impact.
Which are your geniuses? Go back through the list and find the top two that resonate with you. Consider the things that, if you spent all day on them, wouldn’t even feel like work. If you’re having trouble figuring that out, think back to what you loved to do as a child. Most people don’t learn to love things, they innately do because they’re good at them and they’re fun. The genius is usually baked into you from the beginning.
There are another two types that aren’t your genius, but you’re competent enough. You can do it and it isn’t horrible, but it also doesn’t spark joy.
The final two are areas of weaknesses or frustration. They drain you of energy. You can get through these things for short bursts, but it isn’t easy and there are likely people who get much better results. Staying away from these will make everyone happier.
For the unlucky few that don’t know what their genius is, it’s a tragedy. Imagine the boon to society, not to mention your own wellbeing, if you spent most of your time focused on what you do best? Imagine if we didn’t judge people for their weaknesses but rather identified that they just aren’t good at those things and focused on their strengths where the real room for improvement is.
If you’re interested, the assessment takes 10 minutes to complete and 10 minutes to review (and Bellrock makes no money from this link): www.WorkingGenius.com. Pat also recorded a webinar that digs further into the topic.
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