How Understanding Working Genius Can Transform Your Team


To build a strong team, you must see someone else’s strength as a complement to your weakness and not a threat to your position or authority.” – Christine Caine, Australian best-selling author

Have you ever heard someone express something like:

“I finally feel like my boss appreciates what I contribute to our team”  
“I no longer feel guilty that I’m not as good at something that comes so easily to some of my co-workers”
“It makes so much sense; what I love to do and do well is aligned with my natural talents”
“I am gratified when someone seeks me out to help on a project because they know I can contribute something unique and valuable”

As I went through the process to become a certified facilitator for the “The Six Types of Working Genius”, I was amazed to hear sentiments like these from people who had previously been dissatisfied with their job, felt under-valued by their boss, or were burned out with their work.

Now that I’ve been facilitating individuals and groups with the “The Six Types of Working Genius”, I realize those kinds of statements are the norm as people and teams learn more about their unique strengths using this model.

The Working Genius Model

Patrick Lencioni, author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, developed this model out of a desire to help people better understand why they are drawn to and enjoy certain aspects of their work and dread others. Like so many of us, he had days at work where he felt energized and empowered and others that were draining and miserable.

Looking for some type of solution for himself as well as others, Lencioni and his team developed “The Six Types of Working Genius” model. Since its inception, thousands of individuals have taken the online assessment and learned more about what gives them joy at work and what causes them often unbearable frustration. Many have been able to apply the model to shift how they approach their work so that they spend more time leaning into their strengths or Working Geniuses and less time on their Working Frustrations. Others have realized they are in the wrong type of job altogether and have found positions that are more aligned with what they love to do.

While the model certainly helps individuals understand themselves and their relationship with work, it is also a very powerful tool to build stronger and more productive work teams. The model provides a remarkably simple and practical framework to increase overall effectiveness and reduce unnecessary frustration and roadblocks that get in the way of their team's productivity. When individuals on a team understand each other better, they begin to value the unique talents each person brings to the table. That can dramatically alter the dynamics of a team.

The Model In Practice

Our team at DBD Group has found the Working Genius model to be so compelling that we have committed to embed it into our firm's culture. An example of how this plays out in our every day work is that when we assemble a group of DBD consultants to work on a particular project, we take into consideration how the areas of "genius" of each person can complement those of the others they will be working with. We've always approached our work with clients in teams and "The Six Types of Working Genius" model has helped strengthen the way we work together. 

I am grateful to have had the chance to become a certified Working Genius facilitator. When you are ready to bring more cohesion to your team, enhance team communication, and put people in a position where their gifts are needed and appreciated, contact us to learn how you can bring "The Six Types of Working Genius" model to your team.

Learn more about the Six Types of Working Genius's with Patrick Lencioni Model Overview video below.


Posted by Michele Goodrich
Michele Goodrich

Written by Michele Goodrich

Since joining the DBD team in 2010, Michele Goodrich has provided resource development counsel to youth-focused, arts and cultural, health-related and educational nonprofit organizations throughout the country. Her extensive and diverse experience in nonprofit leadership positions makes it possible for her to tailor her approach to each nonprofit client’s set of circumstances as well as its unique culture and distinct strengths.

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