My Boss Leads with Yellow

How do I get my ideas taken seriously? My boss is very likable and we have a fun together at work. Whenever I have a challenge or need support, my boss shows up to help. Sometimes I want to share an idea but I don’t feel like I’m taken seriously.

Be encouraged that you are not the first person to ask this question!

Here are tips for engaging yellow energy leaders:

  1. Make an Appointment – while people who lead with yellow are spontaneous and easygoing, they are also completely capable of giving you their full attention. Help them appreciate that you are sharing something important to you that requires focus. Being prepared for the conversation and removing distractions are two very helpful tactics to helping ensure your ideas are received well.
  2. Use Visuals – show your new idea through images, infographics, and other pictures that gives your boss a vision for the better future you see. In other words, paint a picture. Pictures are emotionally motivating and invoke feelings that are natural in people who lead with yellow. People remember the way you make them feel, not necessarily what you said. Yes, data and plans are important. In order to make a connection with a person who leads with yellow, start with a story and an image to capture their attention.
  3. Focus on Impact – what is the pain point that you are addressing or the problem you are solving? People who lead with yellow may not as readily see or appreciate the sand in the gears that you are experiencing. The opportunity you have is more than just the means to solve a problem or try something new. Rather, the opportunity to share is how you are going to make your boss’s life better and their work more enjoyable.
  4. Anticipate Challenges and Solutions – create a sense of safety and success by proactively naming the challenges or obstacles that may emerge or be associated with your new idea. People who lead with yellow will be attentive to the human impact of new ideas and how it might disrupt the flow. Certainly they can lead through resistance successfully! But they don’t tend to embrace new ideas or initiatives without confidence that the disruption won’t be destructive. The more you can anticipate challenges and offer possible solutions then the more available leaders with yellow energy will be to your new idea.
  5. Ask for Next Steps – As your meeting wraps up be sure to ask what are the specific next steps regarding your new idea. People who lead with yellow don’t necessary lead with details, which is not a reflection of your idea or the value you are bringing to the work you share. Be open to next steps being general that can get more specific as you move forward together. While a next step is valuable, don’t feel like it has to be an unqualified yes or get full funding right away! Rather, look for an intentional connection point in the next 1-2 weeks to follow up on the idea you shared.
  6. Keep it Light – The tagline for yellow energy is “Involve Me.” What this means is that people who lead with yellow generally prefer to be included in the process instead of being delivered a final product. As you share your idea, keep it light in order to communicate that you are open to collaboration. If you present an idea that appears to be fully developed then your boss may not see the value of engaging. Instead, provide space for questions and input. Receive their engagement as positive instead of criticism or suspicion. As you appreciate and honor their natural preference for collaboration you will open lines of communication that will create space for both you and your idea.

Leaders who have a preference for yellow energy are natural encouragers. When approached with the tips above in mind, you will find them ready to receive and appreciate your good ideas and contribution to the team. Tell me how it goes! kelly@optup.org