The language of color energies will help you communicate what you’re feeling and get the support you need
Stress and change go hand in hand, and both are on the rise. As the pace of change accelerates, we can see the impact it has on people around the globe:
- In the UK, 74% adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. ()
- Americans don’t fare much better. Around 77% of US adults have physical symptoms from stress, and 73% have psychological symptoms. ()
- Australians? 70% say they experience stress at work at least once a week. ()
As long as we need to work, many of us will face stress in the workplace, and depending on our job, industry or situation, it may be a daily thing.
While we can’t control what the world throws at us, we can control how we react to those situations.
Nowadays, it's important for employee development programs to focus on skills that make us resilient. This is where understanding your color energies as a way to support your career goals plays a role.
Understand & mitigate your stress triggers by color
The best way to manage stress may be to cut it off at the pass. Know your triggers so you can recognize and mitigate them.
Each color energy values different things, so it stands to reason that they’re also triggered by different things. For example:
Values: Getting things done, speed and efficacy
Triggers: When people make decisions without a clear goal or outcome
Values: Involvement and people
Triggers: When there’s no space to bring new ideas to the table
Values: Uniting people under a common purpose
Triggers: When people must make decisions quickly, disrupting team harmony
Values: Accuracy and thoroughness
Triggers: When there isn’t time to comb through the data before moving forward
If you’re aware of your preferred color energy, it’s possible to structure daily tasks and processes in a way that feels more comfortable for you and reduces stress levels
For example, if you lead with Cool Blue, and are high in introversion, you might build extra time into project plans to review documents carefully before making decisions. If you lead with Sunshine Yellow, and are high in extroversion, you might create touch points throughout a project to check in with colleagues and make sure everyone feels motivated and involved.
Those who are high in the thinking function, like Fiery Red, may want to build in measurable goals and establish clear ownership of tasks before moving forward, whereas those high in the feeling function, like Earth Green, may want to create a structure that ensures all views are heard and all team members can contribute equally.
(To learn more about how your color energies show up at work, read The essential guide to color energies at work post)
Framing our tasks and projects in a way that allows us to operate within our preferred color energies can help reduce stress that could be caused by constantly working outside our natural preferences.
When their emergency is your urgency…
If you work in a reactive workplace, then you may not have the opportunity to get ahead of stressful situations. In this case, it’s important to understand what stress looks like for you in the moment.
Few people have the awareness to say, “I feel stressed, it’s probably why I’m about to start yelling…” Recognition of what’s happening (‘ah, I’m stressed’) usually comesthe awkward reaction.
To compound this issue, the more stressed we become, the harder it is to recognize when we’re running with scissors. Understanding our personal color energy preferences can help us become more aware in the moment, so we may stop, exhale, and progress more thoughtfully.
Which one sounds most like you under stress?
- Cool blue energy might become indecisive, nit-picky or too regimented in routine
- Fiery Red energy may become demanding and ruffle feathers with blunt communication
- Earth Green energy may simply disengage and withdraw from the team
- Sunshine Yellow energy may become frantic and jump chaotically between projects
If you’re a doctor in the emergency department, and you lead with Cool Blue, you may not have the time to say, “I’m going to step back and review the data for 20 minutes before I decide what to do…”
In our experience working with hundreds of thousands of people, we’ve found that, in times of real stress, when you’re as far outside of your comfort zone as you can be, using the language of color energy can be a saving grace.
This is when, no matter which color energy you lead with, it’s a good idea to dial up that Sunshine Yellow and share where you’re at with your colleagues.
“My Cool Blue energy feels dialled up, and it’s hard to decide in this moment. Does anyone have additional information they can share quickly?”
“I don’t mean to sound aggressive. My Fiery Red energy feels sky-high right now, and I feel I need to make a decision. Is there anything I’m missing that I need to consider?
“My Sunshine Yellow energy feels high right now and my mind feels a bit chaotic. Can you please explain more slowly why we need to focus on this one task?”
“I’m having an Earth Green moment. I know we need to move forward quickly, but I’m worried we haven’t consulted enough. Have we ever moved this quickly before and how did it turn out?”
Here’s the beauty of this kind of honesty. It can improve outcomes whether or not your colleagues are fluent in the language of color energies. But, if they are fluent, if they have been through an Insights Discovery workshop, it’s incredible to witness what can happen.
What happens when we communicate using the language of color energies
Color energies are non-judgemental. They do not seek to control, offend or put down. They simply ARE. And the best part is that those team members fluent in the language of color energies are trained to understand the balance of good day traits and bad day traits that each energy – each person - brings to a team.
When someone shares that their Fiery Red energy is high and they’re having a bad day, for example, their colleagues can show true empathy for how they’re feeling, and remember the good things that this color energy contributes as well. They can also adapt their own communication style to better support that team member in the moment.
Those who are truly skilled in applying color energies can harness all aspects of a particular color energy, in effect, ju-jitsuing a colleague’s bad-day color energy traits into the good day traits.
These abilities may be considered, 'soft skills', but they're critical to success and hard to acquire on one's own. Any level of acknowledgment in a work environment will validate and support the co-worker and in turn, immediately dissipate some tension and create a safe and supportive environment for the entire team.
A great example of this comes from the organizational development team at Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona. According to Casino del Sol’s Head of Organizational Development Marcus Diaz,
“It’s amazing to see the Insights vernacular being used at meanings. At director and CEO meetings, people refer to their color energy when describing how they feel, like ‘there’s that high red energy coming out again,’ and we all understand what that means. We use it in basic verbiage through the organization, and it helps us communicate better.”
Teaching the language of color energies as part of a training program
We don’t always have the option to reduce the stress around us, but we always have a choice in how we act and react.
Choosing to better understand ourselves and others and applying the language of color energies is a critical step towards managing stress levels, and t
HR teams that empower their people with fluency in Insights color energy language are enabling those employees with a skill set that, in reducing stress and burnout, will improve employee engagement and create authentic and empathetic leaders.
For a cheat sheet on how to apply color energies to stressful situations in the workplace, download the Insights eBook, Feeling Under Pressure? here