Recently I’ve been working with the two co-founders of a startup and it’s been wonderful learning from them and helping them be more fully themselves. After several coaching sessions, it’s been interesting to find ways to leverage their different personality styles. Human Design, for example, defines a number of styles. It takes a different approach to bring the best out of each personality. 

Today I want to talk about two of the most common. One is called generator and the other manifestor. Which do you align yourself with most? How do you bring the best out of these different types?


Generators are good at responding to a situation. I’m more of a generator. It is much harder for me to create from a blank space in an empty room but, when presented with a question, I instantly have something to offer. I just know in my gut how to respond. To bring the best out of a generator, you want to provide the right stimulus: a flow of situations that ask clear questions that access our instinct. Without that kind of a sounding board, we can become flat. Bring us a clearly articulated problem, however, and we know exactly what to do, pretty much instantly. This “generator” quality helps people to feel uplifted. In our presence almost any creation is energized, and it usually feels warm and supportive.


Manifestors create in ways that take more time and involve more disturbance. My wife is more of a manifestor. It is like the seed of something new lives in them and it can be tough to bring it out. Present a manifestor with a yes-no question, and, often as not, the answer is: I don’t know yet! 

Typically manifestors make decisions by riding the wave–one minute it seems ‘left’ may be the best way to go, and next day ‘right’ seems better -– until eventually it settles out and becomes clear. What manifestors have to bring is more likely to disturb the status quo, so they often need alone time to go through their creative process. Or empathy free of reaction. Sometimes manifestors can’t help themselves coming across prickly around people. Or negative–they often focus on what is wrong before seeing what is right.

Opposite to a generator, the best strategy in dealing with a manifestor is to reduce stimulus or reaction, and give them space to create. Check in maybe but don’t hover. If you are coaching a manifestor, help him or her inform people so that they don’t take it personally should things get prickly or go into a hole. The great leader trains those close to him or her how to bring out his or her best stuff. 

I find it so interesting to see how different types of people work with each other. How these co-founders, for example, can leverage their differences to create a strong creative culture. At their best, these different personalities are complimentary. Which do you most align with? Have a conversation with a friend, colleague, or partner to find out how to support their creative process most effectively, and how they can best support you. 

David Lesser