You don’t like certain people, do you? You can learn much more from them than you might expect!

“Perplexed, I look at the report I just received. I had hoped that hiring a new inside salesperson would make my job easier, but it’s looking more and more like I’m getting double the workload instead. Why can’t he just get it right the first time? If I have to take time to explain how to do everything whenever I
need something, I’m better off just doing it myself…!

In the beginning, everything went well and he was motivated and
focused, but now he is working less optimally. He talks to other colleagues all the time, works on a hundred things at once, but doesn’t get anything done properly. Actually, he is quite nice, but his easy-going and open attitude is becoming a source of unreliability and his continuous chatter is getting annoying.

I have often asked him to work more carefully and not to make so much noise in the office, but unfortunately, this has only ever had a short-term effect. Due to his behavior, I have already made several mistakes myself, something that rarely happened to me before.
Do I have to fire him and do everything myself again?
Didn’t I agree at home not to work so late anymore?

My colleagues have no problems with him and he seems to do the tasks they give him well and to their satisfaction. Am I the problem?”
This situation is just one of many that cause anger and frustration among colleagues and managers.
As an employee of a company, how do you succeed in motivating both yourself and your colleagues in the long term? How do you learn to deal with strengths and weaknesses? And what is the most elegant way to make it clear to your colleagues when something has not gone optimally and what consequences this has for the entire team and also for each individual employee?

How does a manager successfully motivate her employees to take on more responsibility and work towards the big picture? And how does she optimize the use of her own core qualities and thereby give her best for the company?
All managers and employees have to deal with these questions. The methodology behind “Core Qualities and Core Quadrants” deals with exactly this and is taught by Core Quality Education CEO Albert Heemeijer in lectures and workshops.

Read on to discover how managers and employees can learn the most from the very people who annoy them the most.
Also discover how they can handle this and many other situations with confidence, inspiring themselves and those around them.

The change of perspective

It is often clearer for outsiders to see where problems lie and how they can be solved. The external perspective is less influenced by emotions that bias their thinking or their view of the matter.
Coaching is one method to uncover this external perspective.
For example, a good coach would work through these steps:

1. Recognize the real problem
a. The new employee does not do his work as desired (objective data)
b. The new employee shows disruptive behavior (subjective perception)
c. The affected person is negatively influenced by this

2. State the problem as much as possible using facts instead of opinions

3. Name the impact and further consequences for the company, other colleagues, and external partners (customers, suppliers)

4. Have a conversation with this person in which
a. the importance of the quality of the completed tasks is made clear.
b. the influence of their behavior on those affected is explained.
c. Consensus is reached on behavioral and quality of work changes to be made, and these are translated into measurable agreements.

5. Schedule another feedback session to reflect on the situation again with some distance

Since a coach is not always available to resolve conflicts, it can be helpful to develop the ability to take other perspectives on your own. And this is exactly what you achieve by working with the Core Quadrant.
The Core Quadrant helps you to get to know your core qualities better and to grasp what effects these qualities have on you and your environment. At the same time, you learn to better assess other people and know exactly where to start in order to efficiently interact with these people.
And of course, the Core Quadrant can also be applied proactively when used as a preparation tool for upcoming situations. After all, the ultimate goal is to develop oneself further in order to master difficult situations with confidence.

Personal development

Do you know the saying: ‘No two snowflakes are alike’? Something similar applies to us humans. Each and every one of us is unique and manifests this in his or her individual set of core qualities. For example, while one person is characterized by diligence or care, another is characterized by determination or flexibility.
And the more a person knows about and reflects on their core qualities, the more efficiently and effectively they can use them and inspire others.
The Core Quadrant is a tool for discovering core qualities and challenges in oneself and in others. In addition, this tool shows that you can learn a lot from the very people you dislike the most.
But what are the differences between core qualities and learnable skills? And how do you use them most effectively, both privately and professionally? Are you even more curious now? Read on…

Core Qualities
Core qualities are the characteristics that make you very personal and distinguish you from other people. If your core qualities were taken away, people close to you would probably no longer recognize you.
And for yourself, you may take your core qualities just as much for granted. You may live under the assumption that everyone else could certainly be just as creative, careful, considerate, or assertive as you are. But they aren’t. The people around you have different core qualities which can complement, mirror or enhance yours. Do you know which qualities identify you personally?

Work break 1: Recognize qualities
Write down qualities you attribute to yourself or which other people attribute to you. Which qualities do others particularly appreciate in you? Which ones do you yourself take almost for granted or expect from others as a matter of course?


Recognizing and developing a core quality broadens your understanding and inspires personal development. But even the best medicine has an optimal dose. If you use one of your core qualities too much, you run the risk of falling into your own personal corresponding pitfall.
This shadow side, or pitfall, of a core quality, can be recognized as “too much of a good thing”.
Communicative then becomes pushiness, for example, and carefully becomes patronizing. Someone who is very careful can seem petty or pedantic in some situations; a helpful person tends to interfere in everything. And this is precisely what other people occasionally criticize in helpful people. The pitfall is connected to the core quality and cannot be separated from it. It is like a deformation of the core quality.

Work break 2: Identify pitfalls
Now write down which pitfalls you fall into most often. What do other people occasionally accuse you of doing? How do you occasionally go too far in using your strengths from exercise 1?


The combination of core quality and pitfall results in individual areas of development for each person, the so-called challenges. For example, a person who occasionally imposes himself on others with his strong communication skills is challenged to find ways of withdrawing once in a while.
Core qualities and challenges, therefore, complement each other well.
They belong together.
The most important questions here are: “How do you find the balance between, for example, drive and patience?” “How does one become communicatively reticent or reticently communicative?” It’s about “both/and” and not “either/or.”

Work break 3: Accepting challenges
Now write which qualities you see as the opposite of the pitfalls you worked out in exercise 2.
Do these happen to be qualities that you would like to develop more in yourself or that others would like to see more of in you?


And to come full circle, we should not forget the associated allergy of a core quality. It signals the conflict potential between people with different imprints. People regularly have an allergic reaction when they meet ‘too much’ of their own challenge in the behavior of other people. In our example, introversion is the allergy of a person with strong communication skills, because introversion, simply put, can be rephrased as “too much restraint”.
The more someone is confronted with their own allergy in another person, the greater the danger that they will fall into their pitfall. Thus, it is not the pitfall that makes one vulnerable, but the ignorance of one’s own allergies that drive one into pitfalls. With the allergy, the Core Quadrant becomes a circular-dynamic model with multiple starting points.

Learning from allergies
Looking back at our initial story about the manager who was upset with his new employee, it’s possible to illustrate how you can learn from your allergies.
In a team-building workshop using the Core Quadrant, the manager and employees work out their own Core Quadrants, share experiences and see to what extent the different team members can complement each other.
Here, the manager learns that some colleagues appreciate the employee, who frustrates the manager so much, precisely for his communicative and positive nature. He always knows how to mediate and is also happy to take on tasks that others cannot manage. In addition, the manager realizes that he himself is very goal-oriented and businesslike. The supposedly underperforming colleague has core qualities such as easy-going and communicative, something the manager could identify as challenges for himself. The manager may find it difficult to see the new colleague as a valuable addition to the team unless he understands how his qualities and challenges can complement and benefit from those of the colleague. So which challenges does the manager have to accept in order to make use of the total spectrum of this colleague optimally, and to be able to appreciate his qualities more?

Work break 4: Accept allergies and derive challenges
Which character traits repel you or make you envious? What do other people occasionally wish you would do?
Formulate the positive sides/qualities of these allergies here. These could also be your personal

“Famous” Core Quadrants

The Core Quadrant for chaotic people

The quality
Chaotic people usually have the core quality of creativity. It is their creativity (new ideas, solutions, insights) that puts them at risk of not completing existing work or creating a pile of unfinished work. This pile of unfinished work/actions (chaos) is a potential pitfall for creatives.

The challenge
Now you can’t just tell creative people “Don’t be so creative”, because that is one of their core qualities. Creative thinking cannot be switched off!
However, creatives can learn to develop another quality, such as discipline. (Exactly what quality this is depends on the person, not all creatives need to have discipline as a challenge, it could also be focus or structure for example).
The creative can learn to work in a more disciplined way, for example, by better defining their work processes.

A creative graphic designer makes the most beautiful designs for his client. Precisely because he loves his work so much, he invests far too much time in the designs.
As a result, he cannot meet other commitments.
The second point would be that he sends the customer the designs but then starts directly on the next job. In this way, invoicing tasks are left too long and at the end of the month, he forgets the extra hours he invested for the customer.

Start by discussing his Core Qualities and his Challenges together with a coach.
With consideration for his challenge (discipline), determine the work processes that are actually feasible for him.
Now, immediately after the submission of the designs, he sends the customer his invoice, which he has already prepared before (as a first step).

The Core Quadrant for bureaucrats

The quality
Bureaucrats like clear order and structure from start to finish. Even if they are sometimes ridiculed or mocked for their narrow-mindedness, they have a clear core quality: structure.
They do their work according to clear structures, are well organized and rarely get into a time crunch or stress because they think ahead and plan every step of the work.
That is a good quality. But they have to be careful not to become addicted to their bureaucratic way of working and become too rigidly dedicated to structure at the cost of all else. The bureaucrat reacts allergically to extremely unsorted people who tend to get bogged down.

The challenge
To be addicted to bureaucracy means at the same time not to be open for spontaneous activities or changes. The challenge of highly organized individuals is flexibility. They must be open to thinking and acting ‘off plan‘.
The organized employee has managed his workload properly and is set up to accomplish everything on time as he has planned. However, he receives a last-minute call from a colleague to say she will be absent due to illness. This doesn’t change the fact that the work must still be submitted today.
The organized employee finds it difficult to throw out his to-do list for the day, because he feels uncomfortable when he leaves the office in the evening and the list is not completed.

The organized employee could create a priority list. When the call from the sick colleague comes, he will look at his list and will see that the most urgent tasks on this list have already been completed that morning.
He can safely postpone the other tasks until the next day so as to be able to dedicate additional time to complete the project that is due today.

The Core Quadrant for lazy people

The quality
The lazy person likes to take things easy, sometimes overlooking the urgency that some things simply need to be done immediately.
His quality is this relaxed and tranquil nature, he is patient when others may already be restless. In many situations, this patience can be very helpful.

The challenge
Those who are too sluggish and slow should try to become more energetic, to show more commitment. They must learn that some things have to be tackled directly.
The tranquil sort of person reacts allergically to people who are too active, possibly too hectic, and too pushy with their thirst for action.

The tranquil employee is sitting in the office and receives an email confirming an order. This order has a longer period of time before it must be fulfilled, but includes several work steps.
The tranquil person is happy to take care of the order but has other things on his mind right now. He believes he has some time to decompress from the previous task. The problem is that the first work step for the new order must be carried out directly (e.g. consultation with boss, approval, or similar).

The tranquil person could practice identifying urgencies and priorities.
Although it may be difficult on a Friday afternoon, he could take a quick look over the schedule of the job he has just committed to before the weekend to see if there might be a step that needs to be completed before the weekend so that it can progress to the next step by Monday.

The Core Quadrant for scaredy cats

The quality
Fearful people don’t have it easy. They seem too reserved, they lack self-confidence, they don’t dare to tackle things and have to ask several times to be quite sure.
The quality contained therein is prudence or cautiousness. Prudence is also a quality that should not be underestimated in working life. Things must be thought through before they are carried out. Sometimes it is advisable not to simply act rashly, but to carefully consider all possible problems.

The challenge
The cautious person could work to train his courage. He should learn to simply dare and stand by the decision he has made. Things don’t change if you don’t dare to tackle them.
A cautious person is allergic to reckless people who act without thinking much about it.

The cautious employee is in a meeting with 20 employees from the entire department. He has been thinking about an improvement proposal for one of the current projects. He has thought it through from beginning to end, but now doesn’t dare to say it out loud because he is unsure whether it might be nonsense.
So he stays quiet and keeps it to himself.

If the cautious person has a good idea for a suggestion for improvement in the project/company, he writes it down and discusses it with a colleague. And that’s before he mulls it over for a week. If the colleague says, “Interesting idea, but that’s not financially feasible,” he can cross it off and devote himself to other work.
But maybe the colleague says “interesting idea, you should present that to the head of the department. I’ll also help you with a better formulation…”.

4 key questions
Answer these support questions to discover your core qualities, pitfalls, challenges, and allergies. Continue to use these questions to compile your first Core Quadrants.

My core qualities
What others appreciate in me…

What am I occasionally accused of?

What do other people want from me?

About what kinds of things do others tell me :
“Don’t make a big deal out of it.. Relax !“ ?

Create your own Core Quadrant here!

The Core Quadrant in practice

Exercise: Recognize and develop qualities
Make a list of qualities you see in other people, for example, a colleague, a family member, a friend. Also, write down what qualities you think you possess.

Afterward, think about which qualities you don’t have but would like to have, or admire in others. Write these down under “Challenges”.
How would you describe “too much of a good thing” for these challenges? These are then your allergies. If someone else has “punctuality” as a quality, your allergy could be “overly strict in regards to time”.

Exercise: Getting angry at others
As you work, write down when you get angry with your colleagues/customers/suppliers and find the exact reason why you get angry. This is an ideal exercise to find out your allergies.
Write down these reasons and find the positive qualities this person might have. For example, if you are annoyed by “unpunctuality”, the positive quality “easy-going” or “Serenity.” This positive quality will most likely say something about your challenge.

Exercise: Stress situations
Recall different stressful situations and write them down. How did you react? Did you possibly encounter your allergy in one of these situations? How did you get out of the situation?
Think about what alarm signals could help you detect this “threat -> allergy
lapse” at an early stage and how to balance them in order to maintain equilibrium.
A mother with the core quality of “caring”, for example, succumbs to the pitfall of “overbearing” (alert level 1) in a stressful situation (argument) with her son. The son rebukes her harshly so that the mother is hurt and finally succumbs to her allergy “indifference” (alert level 2) (according to the motto “let him see where he stays!”).

There are always “good” reasons not to follow through with certain things, or not to do them at all. Perhaps these are precisely your personal barriers.
The most important thing is to get to know yourself better and find out which of your pitfalls are preventing you from achieving your goals. Find out which of your qualities are your “friends” and how to reach your maximum potential.
If you do not want to invest more than an hour of time in this analysis/compact course, then use only 10 minutes for each worksheet. To make this analysis pleasant and if you feel like doing it among people, sit down in a nice cafe, bookstore, or similar place.
Observe the people around you for a moment and keep in mind that everyone has goals (conscious or unconscious), everyone has both strengths and weaknesses, sees opportunities and barriers, and everyone is somewhere on the path to achieving their own personal goals. Some manage to reach their goals sooner, some later.
Your work to uncover your core qualities will help you achieve your goals, but will certainly cause confusion at times. Every person faces their own personal Mount Everest that they must brave and climb. Every Mount Everest requires the first step.
Maybe this personal analysis is already your first step. Maybe it is already more. That is up to you personally.

Use this model free for non-commercial use only!

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