June 11, 2017

Respecting the Colors – Understanding The Birkman Method®

By Jennifer Comella, Training Manager

Respecting the Colors – Understanding The Birkman Method® Managed Human Resources Services

Respect—defined: “Esteem for or a sense of worth or excellence of a person.” In my opinion, the ability to respect someone for who they are is a task that constantly challenges your own self-awareness. Self-awareness, or the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, is not an innate sense like touch or smell. To discover self-awareness, you should attempt to define your attitudinal motivation (intrinsic motivation(s)) and identify your own strengths and weaknesses.

Personality assessments such as The Birkman Method® can help you discover how you view yourself as fitting into the environment around you (think: “I am this way compared to most people”). The Birkman Method® can also go a step further and help you determine how you generally expect people to act (think: “Other people are generally this way compared to me”).

The Birkman Method® was established by psychologist Dr. Roger Birkman. It is an industry leading personality assessment which stemmed from Dr. Birkman’s life events, academic studies in psychology, observations about business and the military, and goals to make the world a better place.

Dr. Birkman’s research has helped millions of people gain greater self-awareness and enjoy better relationships. His childhood experiences, as well as his time fighting in World War II, fueled an interest in how personalities differ between people and how these differences affect every aspect of our lives. (“Dr. Roger Birkman.” Birkman, https://birkman.com/about-birkman/dr-roger-birkman-psychologist/).

The basis for The Birkman Method® comes from an understanding that all people have a unique set of underlying needs that are critical to each of our success. When used in the workplace, it can help create a work environment that supports all different styles of personality regardless of your approach to communication, organization, recognition and growth. (“Careers at Birkman.” Birkman, https://birkman.com/about-birkman/purposeful-careers-in-houston/).

I suggest visiting The Birkman Method® website to get a more in-depth description of the assessment, but on the surface, The Birkman Method® assessment helps you place yourself into one of four colors. Each color represents a different usual style of behavior. The four colors are red, green, blue and yellow. Birkman then dives deeper into two more categories of behavior; needs and stress. Needs and stress are unique to Birkman and are especially helpful when developing your own self-awareness.

I believe that using self-awareness to modify your behavior based on the person or situation is a skill that is developed over time and requires critical thinking. Consider the following three types of people with regard to this statement. First, there are those who choose to ignore developing this skill. Second, there are people who simply do not know that being self-aware and controlling your behavior is an option and therefore have not spent time refining the skill. Lastly, there are people who make it a priority to be constantly self-aware and attempt to adjust their behavior to meet the needs of those around them.

I have made a conscious decision to develop my own self-awareness and respect those around me. These posts are my observations and learning experiences which have helped me develop my own sense of self-awareness. I have a high sense of respect for people who share traits with me, but also for people who are very different from me.

My intention for these observations is purely for reflection and critical thinking. I’ve learned a lot about myself mostly through first-hand experience. I categorize my experiences in three different ways:

  1. Experiences that help me check myself;
  2. Experiences that help me relate to other people;
  3. Experiences that help me learn how to do new things.

Think of this as a sort of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” If you’re interested in casual reading that reinforces what you already know about yourself, or what you think you know about yourself, this is for you.

To discuss The Birkman Method® in more details, or for any HR Consulting questions, contact Jennifer Comella at 440-459-5700 or email Jennifer.