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Influencing the workplace: Lessons from Will & Grace

By Will Stroude

It’s no secret that everybody is different – some of us love Britney others prefer Madonna, some sip Prosseco and others prefer a pint, some love G-A-Y others would rather go to XXL.

These are fairly trivial examples but in the workplace personality types and preferences can make a real difference to the way that we respond to one another and can influence the way that we like to be dealt with by others.

The ‘colours’ personality types is a system that divides people up into Blue, Red, Yellow and Green to help broadly categorise them and the best way to work with them.

That all sounds a bit dry so in homage to the recent announcement of a new series, I’ve turned it into the Will & Grace personality type system – are you a Will, Grace, Karen or Jack?

Will (Blue)

Wills are internal thinkers who have a keen eye for detail and measured and logical in their approach. They can sometimes come across as being a bit reserved but they are deliberate in the way they approach things and are well organised. They like to make decisions based on facts. As they are so organised and methodical they are tidy and hate mess.

When dealing with a Will make sure you base things firmly in fact and give them the time to think things through and consider them. They don’t like uncertainty so make sure you have the answers to any questions that they might have, and make sure you aren’t late and. Being logical and specific in your approach will go a long way towards winning them over.

Grace (Green)


Graces are very relationship focused and emotional. They are democratic team players who like to understand what everyone else thinks. They can sometimes let their emotions get the better of them and therefore can find themselves in situations where they go along with things they don’t want to or say ‘yes’ when they are really thinking ‘no’.

When dealing with Graces be careful not to put them on the spot or be too pushy as they might react badly. They are feelers so appeal to their emotions and make sure you take the time to build rapport and show an interest in them. Make sure you are sincere as they can tell if you’re not, and ask open questions to find out about their needs and how you can help them as well as putting forward your own agenda.

Karen (Red)


Karen is straightforward, straight-talking and doesn’t beat around the bush. Karens like to deal with facts not emotions and don’t suffer fools gladly. They can have a bit of a short fuse and like to make decisions quickly without too much discussion and are more likely to go with what they think is right than consult the group.

When dealing with Karens get straight to your point, give them all the facts that they need to make a decision and don’t mess around with too much small talk. Make sure you are on time and any arguments that you make need to be grounded and logical. If they are abrupt or abrasive try not to take it personally and be concise in your response. Make sure you take notes of any actions and if you say you’re going to do something, make sure that you do it.

Jack (Yellow)

Jack is the life and soul of the party, an extrovert with a big personality. Jacks can start off really enthusiastic about projects but they have short-attention spans so quickly lose interest and can often end up not finishing things. They like to have fun and enjoy themselves as well as having a bit of an ego so want to be liked by other people.

Building rapport with Jacks is a good strategy and also making them feel special or important. Make sure you make a note of any actions they agree to and manage them tightly to ensure they haven’t lost interest. Making things fun and giving them an opportunity to perform, for example by giving presentations can also help to motivate them.

Of course nobody will fit into exactly one of these categories, but if you can take a view on which of these a person is most like then it can help inform how to best approach working with them to get the most out of them.

Sanjay Sood-Smith is a food entrepreneur and former candidate on The Apprentice. You can find out more about his business Tuk In, which makes curry-in-a-naan, at

Follow him on Twitter at @sanjaysoodsmith and visit his YouTube channel here.

For more from the Men at Work series, click here.

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