Leadership and Management Development

Insights Discovery

A Brief Guide to the Insights Discovery Colours.

Personality is a complex subject matter with many nuances and contributing factors of values, beliefs, experiences, emotions and attitudes.

Insights created the Discovery model with the purpose of simplifying this complex subject in a way that’s memorable, usable and applicable to everyday life, which is why they chose to use a simple (yet complex at its roots) four-colour methodology.

The Insights Discovery model of behaviour and colour energies are based on the psychological types identified by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and later developed into a paper-based personality assessment by mother and daughter team Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers in 1943.

The Insights colour model is based on the premise that all human behaviour can be described through four colour energies, the preferred order in which an individual might organise them, how much they have of each, and how close they are together.

Each of the four Insights colour energies display distinctive traits; these traits are not exclusively limited to people that lead with that particular colour energy, but they tend to come more effortlessly to people who do. The Insights Discovery colour model starts with this basic awareness; the full experience is a 25-frame evaluator that results in a report of up to 46 pages all about the recipient's personal style in different settings.

We would always recommend bringing the model to life through coaching or an interactive workshop to get the most out of the learning.

When we describe the dominant types, we do not aim to put people into "boxes" or define them by a behavioural type, we are just simplifying the complexities of behaviour to help people become more self-aware, as well as understand what others need and why they behave the way that they do. A knowledge of Insights colours can reduce the frustration of miscommunication and unnecessary conflict, and help to build better working relationships.

The Insights Colour Energies.

Here is a brief introduction to the Insights Discovery colour energies. If you haven’t attended a workshop or had sight of the model before, make a note of your four-colour energy preference from most-like-you to least-like-you (remembering that you are all of these things, but some might feel more comfortable or effortless than others).

Dominant Colour Energy Descriptions.

Fiery Red Energy.

Psychological type: Extravert Thinking

Can be see as: Tough-minded, assertive, strategic, overbearing and forthright

Motivated by: Goals and achievement – also loves a challenge and everything is a competition

Value to a team: Direction, quick decision making and drive

Strengths when leading: Challenges the status quo, takes responsibility and says what other might shy away from

Gets frustrated by: lack of pace, dawdling and change not happening fast enough

Suggestion for development: Don’t be the first to speak in a meeting – sit back and listen

When communicating with them: Get straight to the point and be prepared for healthy challenge

Sunshine Yellow Energy.

Psychological type: Extravert Feeling

Can be seen as: Jovial, creative, eternally optimistic, sometimes flighty, engaging

Motivated by: Involvement, recognition and flexibility – also loves knowing what’s going on around the office and being the centre of attention

Value to a team: Persuasive, inspiring and high-energy

Strengths when leading: Passionate, gives freedom to teams and sells the vision

Gets frustrated by: admin, processes and pessimistic opinions

Suggestion for development: finish what you start – don’t get distracted by sparkly things

When communicating with them: Keep it upbeat, light-hearted and don’t get into too much detail

Earth Green Energy.

Psychological Type: Introvert Feeling

Can be seen as: Compassionate, caring, thoughtful, calm, stubborn and a good listener

Motivated by: Being appreciated, close relationships and stability – and will always support the underdog and put others first

Value to the team: Supportive, communicative and never forgets a birthday or important event

Strengths when leading: Coaches the team, leads with heart and creates a culture of empowerment

Gets frustrated by: being ‘told’ rather than asked, a lack of support and when people show no common courtesy

Suggestion for development: say no occasionally - what’s the worst that could happen?

When communicating with them: be personable, ask questions and lean into the calmness

Cool Blue Energy.

Psychological type: Introvert Thinking

Can be seen as: Reflective, methodical, organised, questioning, detached and disciplined

Motivated by: Clarity, processes and structure – also loves working to deadlines alone and double-checking work to make sure it is right

Value to the team: Questioning, organised and the team's time-keeper

Strengths when leading: Keeps the ship in order, logical and analytical approach to problem solving

Gets frustrated by: not having enough detail, flippant behaviours and being pushed to make a decision too quickly

Suggestion for development: Be spontaneous and lean into change

When communicating with them: Be prepared, bring the detail and give them time to make a decision

Clash, or Complement?.

Within the Insights Discovery colour model and as described by Jung, there are naturally opposing types who typically find one another more challenging than the connecting preferences which we explore later in this blog.

It's within these opposite types that most interpersonal clashes can be found. The more heavily we lean into one type, the more likely it is that we will see our opposite type's strengths as weaknesses.

Green and Red Energy.

The Green energy's search for harmony and compassion, and need for inclusivity, can be perceived by the Red energy as not being assertive enough, unsure of themselves and avoiding making quick decisions.

Equally, the Green energy can perceive the Red energy's drive, ambition and need to achieve as overbearing, pushy and often aggressive.

Blue and Yellow Energy.

The Blue energy has a need for order, structure and the acquisition of information, which the Yellow energy can see as rigid and uninspiring, and sometimes feel as though they're not trusted, or even being interrogated.

Whilst the Yellow energy might feel interrogated, the Blue energy needs the full picture and all the information to make decisions. Sometimes the more flippant, surface offering of information can lead the Blue energy to perceive the Yellow energy as ill-prepared, evasive and occasionally flighty or even frantic.

Connecting Colours.

Although the above descriptions give a great indication of dominant traits and how they are perceived by those who are 'NOT like me', the colours also connect to reveal dominant psychological functions. This can be identified through the pairing of your top two colour energies.

Red and Yellow Energy.

Both the Red and Yellow colour Energies are related to Jung's attitudinal function of Extraversion. When these are your top two colours it’s likely you’re super energised by others, potentially the loudest in the room and struggle to keep thoughts to yourself. You will also always be looking ahead with a need for momentum - life is about pace and keeping busy.

Green and Blue Energy.

Both the Green and Blue Energies are related to Jung's attitudinal function of Introversion. When these are your top two colours it's likely that you get your very best ideas and recharge your batteries by sinking into your own world. Back-to-back meetings are exhausting and you tend to look into the past to find evidence to support the direction forward.

Yellow and Green Energy.

The Yellow and Green energies both lean on Jung's rational function of Feeling which can describe what’s most important to us especially when making decisions. With these two colour energies in pole position, the acceptance and appreciation of others are very important to you. When making decisions it’s all about who is involved and the impact a decision will have them, rather than any stats, data or information that are available.

Red and Blue Energy.

The Blue and Red Energies both lean on Jung's rational function of Thinking which also describes what’s important to you when making decisions. If these are your top two colour energies then you seek to analyse data and facts, and use logic to support a decision. It’s likely that you are more pragmatic and less likely to be blown off course when people share a point of view that's not rooted in evidence.

It is usual for your top two energies to be a combination of the connecting colours shown above. If you chose opposing colours as your two most preferred energies (Red/Green or Yellow/Blue) then you are an exception to the rule. Jung described this pairing as ‘creative’. You can read more about this here.

Adapting and Connecting.

Although the model describes these naturally opposing styles, the truth and key lesson is that together they make a whole. Everything that the Red energy doesn't find instinctive, the Green does and vice-versa (the same goes for the Yellow and Blue energy).

Adapting to other styles can be difficult, but it's far from impossible. With knowledge, conscious awareness and effort we can all see our opposite type's behaviours as complementary to our own, and reap the rewards of working with those who are 'NOT like us'.

Practical application.

The Insights colour model alone is an incredibly powerful tool to raise self awareness. However, when teams come together and explore the model with the right facilitator, relationships are transformed and communication becomes clear and effective.

It's hard to believe that such a simple four-colour model can have such a massive impact, but we witness it every day. Seeing is believing, so get in touch to learn more about the magic of participating in an Insights Discovery workshop.

James Hampton (He/Him)

James Hampton (He/Him)


Our areas of specialism.


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