We often wonder about where our place is at work, with our friends and in our family. During my coaching and team-building sessions, I often hear people say that they know what they don’t do well and they want or need to improve in those areas. While we may need to attain a level of competence in some areas where we’re not so talented, I like to reframe our lesser talents in a humorous light with a smile and a joke; then focus on how we can use our natural strengths and talents to succeed in any task we have to do.

When you recognize your strengths at work you open up opportunities to contribute to your team in ways that interest you…even when an assignment doesn’t appear that interesting. Leo, a Senior Analyst, really helped his team by taking on what seemed like a dull assignment, well beneath his capabilities. His company was growing quickly. New programs and departments were being created and staffed on the fly. Everyone was working on interesting projects but no one was focused on taking care of administrative details.

A new executive was hired to create an organizational structure and implement administrative standards, processes and procedures.

One new project was to create an inventory of every piece of computer equipment in the company. Each department had to designate someone to learn new software and enter all the equipment details for their offices.

There were no extra resources and no one in Leo’s department wanted to add this task to their already full workload…but there was no option to refuse. The requirement had come from the top and the deadline was 30 days!


Leo’s team discussed ways of assigning this task. Before doing their temperament assessments with me, they used to draw straws for extra tasks, or assign them to the lowest paid member of the team. This time, they decided to review their temperament reports to see who was best suited to the task. They discovered that the best temperament would be a Guardian because the task involved their natural talent — logistics — counting and cataloguing.

But there was no Guardian on the team.

Double Aargh!!

The team temperament included only Idealists and Rationals. At first glance the idea of assigning this task by temperament looked like a dud, but Leo said, “I’ll give it a try”.

Leo’s Corporate Temperament Report indicated he was a Rational Inventor. Rational Inventors love to learn new things, so for Leo, learning the new software was a bonus. Inventors instinctively focus on the big picture rather than the details and they have a tough time following procedures. Even though fulfilling all the detailed requirements would be a challenge for Leo, the team agreed that he looked like the best candidate for the job. They would support him using their own strengths to balance the workload until he was finished.

Luckily for the team, Rational Inventors find fun ways to do what they perceive as boring tasks. Leo made a game out of crawling under desks and finding the serial and model numbers of all the equipment. He followed wires to figure out which printers, scanners and other devices were attached to each computer and he entered the details into the new software program. He found himself humming as he worked and the team enjoyed his light-hearted energy and approach. The project was completed ahead of schedule and Leo got back to his own responsibilities faster than expected. The group received recognition for a job well done.

Whether we work alone or on a team, learning about and using our strengths and the strengths of our coworkers can lead to more fun and less stress at work.

Disclaimer: Names have been changed to protect the innocent…but the situation is real.

Post a comment or send me an email to tell me how your team has used temperament to accomplish it’s goals.