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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Richard

The 6 Types of Working Genius: Unlock Your Team's Full Potential

Two team members holding wooden gears

Finding and keeping exceptional employees is more than another item on a to-do list—it’s a genuine concern. In 2022, about 50 million hardworking Americans left their jobs, breaking the record of 47 million the year before. 

Employee turnover is expensive. Replacing and training just one employee can cost a company six to nine months of that person’s salary (Source: Society for Human Resource Management). 


People who love their jobs are not the ones leaving their jobs. 


So, what if I told you there’s a framework that helps increase job satisfaction

And, this framework also increases productivity. 

It’s both a personality assessment and a productivity tool. And it’s useful for teams and individuals. 

  • Teams learn where they excel and how to work together most effectively. 

  • Individuals identify their natural talents and finally understand why some jobs are energizing and others are draining.

When the right people are in the right positions… positions that leverage their unique talents and allow them to showcase what they’re really good at, teams get more done and everyone finds greater satisfaction in the workplace. That’s what the Six Types of Working Genius can do for you. 

In this blog post, I’ll fill you in on the background of the Working Genius framework, define the six geniuses, explain how you can implement the assessments in your organization and the benefits of doing so. 

Lencioni’s Working Genius Framework

The framework was developed by Patrick Lencioni, founder of The Table Group, a company dedicated to helping leaders improve their organizations. Lencioni is famous for his books on teamwork and leadership, like “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and “The Advantage.


What makes the Working Genius assessment different from other workplace assessments like StrengthsFinder, Enneagram, and DISC, is that it focuses specifically on identifying and using a person’s natural talents. 

These are the abilities that really energize and engage us at work. 

The 6 Types of Working Genius 

We all have amazing gifts, unique geniuses, that we may not even know we have. By identifying our specific gifts, we can begin doing more of the things that bring us joy and energize us and less of the things that don’t. 

In general, doing more of what you like (are good at) and less of what you don’t like (struggle with), increases your motivation and morale. Do this across your organization and you’re increasing job satisfaction. 

Each participant taking the Working Genius assessment will learn which of these geniuses they most identify with, which are their superpowers, their unique talents. 

The Genius of Wonder

  • Characteristics: Curious and contemplative, always questioning the status quo.

  • Strengths: Identifies opportunities for improvement and innovation.

  • Challenges: May struggle with practical implementation.

  • Roles: Strategic planning, ideation sessions.

The Genius of Invention

  • Characteristics: Creative and innovative, thrives on developing new ideas and solutions.

  • Strengths: Generates novel concepts and approaches.

  • Challenges: May become frustrated with routine tasks.

  • Roles: Product development, creative teams.

The Genius of Discernment

  • Characteristics: Intuitive and judicious, effectively evaluates ideas.

  • Strengths: Provides critical assessment and ensures quality.

  • Challenges: Can be overly critical or cautious.

  • Roles: Quality control, decision-making processes.

The Genius of Galvanizing

  • Characteristics: Energetic and motivational, rallies others to action.

  • Strengths: Inspires and drives team efforts.

  • Challenges: May overlook details in the push to move forward.

  • Roles: Project management, leadership positions.

The Genius of Enablement

  • Characteristics: Supportive and responsive, assists others to succeed.

  • Strengths: Facilitates teamwork and cooperation.

  • Challenges: Can become overextended helping others.

  • Roles: Customer support, team coordination.

The Genius of Tenacity

  • Characteristics: Detail-oriented and persistent, ensures project completion.

  • Strengths: Drives projects to the finish line, maintains focus.

  • Challenges: May struggle with flexibility or delegation.

  • Roles: Operations, logistics.

The Three Phases of the Working Genius: Ideation, Activation, and Implementation

Acronym for the 6 types of working genius spells the word widget

All tasks, jobs, projects go through three phases: ideation, activation, and implementation. When we think of the six types of working genius within the context of the phase of work, that’s when the magic happens. 

The geniuses are interdependent. A team with all six geniuses has the greatest chance of success. 

Wonder and Invention represent ideation. 

  • This is where creativity starts. 

  • It's the phase where needs are spotted, and ideas are born.

  • Role: Sets the direction for the work ahead, turning ideas into possibilities.

Discernment and Galvanizing represent activation.

  • This is the testing phase. 

  • It's where creative ideas are tried out, refined, and improved.

  • Role: Helps sort out the best ideas and gets the team ready for action.

Enablement and Tenacity represent implementation. 

  • This is where we take action and make things happen. 

  • Ideas become real projects.

  • Role: Brings all the previous work together into successful results.

By knowing which phase each genius fits into, you can better assign tasks and ensure everyone is working in a way that energizes them and maximizes their strengths. And by energizing team members, you make the team more efficient and productive. 




Applying the 6 Types of Working Genius in the Workplace

To apply the 6 Types of Working Genius in the workplace, start by having team members take the Working Genius assessment to identify their strengths. 

Remember, each genius is important and no one is good at all of them. 

The assessment process will help individuals categorize the six geniuses three ways: 

Your Working Genius

  • Your working genius is your greatest ability. It gives you joy and energy.

Your Working Competency

  • Your working competency is the work you can do but not what you were meant to do. It falls between your working genius and your working frustration.

Your Working Frustration

  • Your working frustration is the task (or tasks) you hate doing. It deprives you of joy and energy.

Great. We’ve found out what we like and don’t like, now what? 

Remember, successful teams will have one of each of the six geniuses. Managers can use these assessments to create balanced teams and address any gaps in team dynamics. 

Individuals can use the assessments to recognize and 

Once their strengths are identified, it’s time to align tasks with each person's natural abilities, enhancing productivity and job satisfaction. 

Benefits of Utilizing the 6 Types of Working Genius

When team leaders use the Working Genius, they tap into a collective genius where everyone’s unique strengths are identified. And this benefits the teams and the individuals. 

benefits of the working genius assessment for teams

1. Greater Productivity & Efficiency

  • When you match tasks with people’s strengths, they get more done and enjoy their work more.

  • Benefit: Cuts down on time spent on draining tasks, boosting overall productivity.

2. Helping Individuals Recognize Their Own Strengths and Areas of Expertise

  • This framework helps people see what they’re naturally good at.

  • Benefit: Aligns career paths with their strengths, leading to more job satisfaction and better performance.

3. Increasing Collaboration

  • Knowing each other’s working genius helps the team work better together.

  • Benefit: Promotes open communication and mutual understanding, making teamwork smoother.

4. Discovering Creative Solutions

  • By playing to everyone’s strengths, you can tackle problems more effectively.

  • Benefit: Encourages out-of-the-box thinking and leads to innovative solutions.

5. Building Emotional Intelligence

  • Understanding your own and others’ feelings can improve workplace relationships.

  • Benefit: Promotes mutual respect and healthier team dynamics.

Using The Six Types of Working Genius helps everyone find their groove at work, making the whole team more effective and happy.

And perhaps the greatest benefit is that organizations realize they don’t have to get rid of people or hire new people to increase productivity, morale, and engagement. They just need to align the people with the task. Get the right people in the right seats. 


Why is it important to understand the 6 Types of Working Genius?

  • Understanding the 6 Types of Working Genius helps individuals recognize their strengths and weaknesses, enhances team collaboration, improves productivity, and ensures tasks are assigned to those best suited for them.

Can a person have more than one working genius?

  • Yes, most people have a combination of working geniuses, typically two primary geniuses, two competencies, and two frustrations. This blend influences how they contribute to a team.

How do I integrate the 6 Types of Working Genius into my workplace?

  • When you hire a trained facilitator, like Betsy, your team members will take the Working Genius assessment, discuss the results openly, and use this information to assign tasks, structure projects, and resolve conflicts based on each person’s natural strengths and preferences.

Discover your gifts. Transform your team. 

Take the Working Genius assessment and apply the knowledge to elevate your team's performance.

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