In Chapter 6, the Shape of Emotions, I wrote about 5 Flow Personality types I found that people gravitate towards.
Why Your Flow Shape Matters
Understanding our Flow Personality can give us a quick intuitive snapshot into the hidden assumptions that may be blocking our flow, collectively and as individuals. It is especially useful for identifying friction points and misunderstandings – and help us unpack that also elusive concept of “fit.”
For example, Firecrackers who are put into Gardener roles often get frustrated and quit. When the tables are turned, Gardeners who have very intentionally constructed their role, will likewise, seek opportunities elsewhere. Organizations that dismiss Minervas as Firecrackers, are exposing themselves to risk.
Even knowing that someone has a different shape from us, can alert us to to slow down and check our assumptions.
Ideal Shape Summaries
The Firecracker – “No Pain No Gain”.
Quick, eager, enthusiastic, firecrackers look for opportunities and challenges to learn and prove themselves. They thrive in high risk cultures – both physical and psychological and are generally younger. Many firecrackers suffer from imposter syndrome and benefit from mentors and colleagues who can help them ramp and get clear on understanding what they don’t know, they don’t know.
The Gardener – “Patience is a virtue”
Gardeners are steady, dependable rock stars. Who can be loyal to a fault. They get things done, they tend to be in organizations longer, so they also tend to know where the bodies are. Younger, underemployed, low-autonomy employees, who find themselves in this role, may get burnt-out from boredom.
The Spartan – “Do Work!”
We tend to think of Spartans as seasoned leaders. Unlike Firecrackers they take measured risks, although the still appreciate high risk, high growth opportunities.
The Minerva – “Practice Makes Perfect”
Minervas on the other hand are even more conservative than Spartans. The like challenges and also the feeling of being in control. Minervas believe that practice makes perfect. They have very high standards which may or may not signal perfectionism. Sharp and insightful – fire crackers and spartans can find them intimidating and off-putting.
The Guru – “Everything Happens For A Reason”
“Gurus” don’t take themselves too seriously. They understand their values and priorities and live into them. Most gurus are on the third or fourth career, they know who who they are, what they want and have work to set up their life so that have the autonomy to go for it.