Personality Tests and Technical Communicators: True Colors

Personality Tests and Technical Communicators: True Colors

By Julia Southwick and Joy Carandang

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History of the True Colors Personality Test

The True Colors Personality test was created in 1978 by personality innovator Don Lowry to categorize at risk youth into four basic learning styles to identify the strengths and challenges of each. He has since strived for the development of helping people around the world “perform at [their] highest potential in every area of life.” The True Colors Personality test aims to indicate an individual’s core values, needs, strengths, and stressors through a series of twelve self-reflective questions. The four types are blue, orange, gold, and green.

  • Blue: emotionally driven, harmony-seeking, enthusiastic, creative, and sympathetic 
  • Orange: short-term driven, welcoming to change and variety, adventurous, competitive and impulsive
  • Gold: loyalty driven, respects rules and authority, responsible, organized and appreciative 
  • Green: logically driven, independent thinker, focused, efficient and analytical

*Information based on a graphic posted on the United EVENTures website.

There are many places you can take the test for free, I used this one. Once you’ve completed the test, share your results with those in your network to learn something new about one another. You never know how much you have in common!

…But What Does This Have To Do With Tech Comm?

A career in Technical Communication can translate into working in a number of ever-changing industries and fields for various causes that operate within different workflows. Taking the True Colors Personality test can help a budding technical writer, a current technical writer, or an established practitioner who is looking to find themselves in a new industry identify their values and needs within the job market. Additionally, understanding your results can be beneficial in evaluating your modes of productivity and interpersonal skills. 

Those interpersonal relationships drive our success on the job. Learning about our True Colors provides useful language for technical communicators to understand how we interact with others and how we want them to interact with us.

Knowledge about your True Colors and others’ True Colors can be used to connect with teammates, SMEs, and others in our companies and profession. This can provide the tools we need to convince others why tech writers are needed and why some decisions need to be made for our documentation.

Julia: Blue

My results were Blue 80%, Gold 68%, Green 80%, and Orange 64%. Blue as my highest tied with green lies on the introvert side of introvert/extrovert and blue/green is along thinking/feeling. In my MBTI, I had a 1% preference for thinking over feeling and easily swap between the two. Blue and green share traits with my MBTI (INTP) and enneagram (2wing1) results, so it makes sense. Blue’s tend to be empathetic, compassionate, good at communicating, uniting people, and more while green’s tend to be analytical, rational, curious, and more. These are descriptors I’d use for myself and lend themselves well to tech comm.

Gold being next to last also makes sense as it seems to lend itself well to my ADHD and also enneagram type 7, the enthusiast, is my second highest type for similar reasons. Meanwhile, orange being the one I’m least like makes sense as I’m not very competitive, extroverted, and was least like enneagram type 3. Both gold and red are on the extroverted side, though gold is on the feeling side of things, which relates to my main enneagram center the feeling/heart center.

Joy: Orange

My results of the True Colors Personality test were 34% Orange, 17% Green, 17% Yellow, and 14% Blue. I was quite surprised that my highest percentage was orange. When taking this test in the past, my personality type had been Blue. However, after reviewing my results as an INFP and Enneagram Type 4, this makes sense as all three test results share similar traits of embracing harmony and creativity.
For those whose true color is orange, it is suggested that flexible and collaborative careers will be highly beneficial. This rings true to me when considering how Tech Comm is a field that calls for as much collaboration as it does for individual work. I am most content contributing to projects where I can have enough room to have some level of creative incentives while sticking to outlined criteria and set deadlines.
The insights about myself that I have gained from the tests have truly resonated with me as someone who is new to Technical Communication. I would recommend this test to anyone who is looking for ways to learn more about themselves and work towards professional development. 

We Want to Hear from You

No test will ever present a complete portrait of who you are, but many people find them useful for self-reflection or as tools to engage with others. We would love to hear from you about your experience with personality tests. Each test you take will give you a different perspective. Let us know what results you have gotten and how you have found that information to be useful or not.

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