October 17, 2022

Book Review: The 6 Types of Working Genius

There are certain types of work that I enjoy most. One of which is asking questions. Being curious. Exploring reality. Wondering. I also enjoy helping my coaching clients achieve success. Supporting their executive efforts. Galvanizing their strategic plans.

There are also certain types of work that I don’t enjoy as much. I am not an inventor. I am also not good at coming up with original ideas or solutions. I am not much of an engineer or an architect. I am also not good at finishing projects. Pushing tasks to completion. Being tenacious.

It’s taken much of my career to identify the work that I am good at and that energizes me and to determine the work that depletes or frustrates me. In fact, I wish I had more insights into both much earlier in my career. I wish I had a better understanding of my “Working Geniuses”.

Fortunately, best-selling author Patrick Lencioni’s latest book, The 6 Types of Working Genius, has arrived just in time for me to better understand both. Lencioni is one of my favorite business authors and I’ve reviewed several of his books previously, including 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Death by Meetings, and The Ideal Team Player. The author is great at taking complicated concepts in business and translating them into easier fixes using a fictional narrative.

The premise of this book is that each of us has certain types of work that bring us joy and energy and other types of work that lead to frustration and burnout. In the book, Lencioni identifies six different types of work that he refers to as “geniuses”. He asserts that each of us thrives on two of these types of work, that we are competent at two more, and mostly incompetent at the final two.

Lencioni created a simple assessment for the reader to determine their own “geniuses”. Based on this assessment, my working geniuses are “enablement” and “wonder”. My working competencies are “discernment” and “galvanizing”. And my working frustrations are “invention” and “tenacity”. Looking back, I can identify many situations where each of these geniuses played out either in or against my favor.

Besides the personal discovery and instant relief the book provides the reader, the model also gives teams a very simple and practical framework for tapping into one another’s natural gifts, which results in increased productivity and reduces unnecessary judgment.

I very much enjoyed reading this book and have also enjoyed helping my coaching clients better understand their respective “geniuses”. What is your “Working Genius”?