Fruit bowl

Thriving through personality groups

Finding harmony in a fruit salad

4 minute read
Fruit bowl

Personality groups have long separated people into four distinct brackets.

Some are loud and competitive, while others are quiet and introverted. Additionally, there are those who prefer to avoid conflict altogether and others who seem to be all over the place.

Each of these four personality groups can be found within a workplace, all coming with their own pros and cons, influencing their ability to work together.

Ripe Learning Founder and Director Lynne Schinella said the original theory of different personality groups was put forward by the physician Hippocrates in Ancient Greece.

“Hippocrates suggested that our personalities or temperaments didn’t come from the gods or the stars, but they came from our own physiology,” she said.

“He put forward the idea of four groups based on elements of bodily fluids, black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm.

“When I decided to develop my own simple system, I created apples, mangoes, limes and bananas because it was easy, fun, simple, memorable and blameless.”

Identifying each personality group

Ms Schinella said it was important to be able to identify the different personality groups of those who you are working closely with to determine how to get the best out of each other.

“It’s important to emphasise that we are not just one fruit – this would be way too simple,” she said.

“We are a complex version of 20,000 genes.

“We are a blend of all the groups but we do tend to work in our top two preferences, particularly when under pressure.”


Breaking down the apple personality group within a workplace, Ms Schinella said they tended to be fast-paced, logical and intellectually smart.

“They are very strong personalities,” she said

“Apples have this ultimate belief in themselves that they can do anything.

“They are great in roles where they have to make logical fast decisions, so naturally apples are up in leadership roles because they believe they should be in them.”


Mangoes are big-picture personalities that are fast paced, like apples, but more random.

“Their thoughts jump around a lot, they don’t take anything too seriously and they are the first to laugh when something goes wrong,” Ms Schinella said.

“Mangoes like variety and they are really good at leading change.”


When it comes to a lime, Ms Schinella said they were more careful, making calculated decisions within the workplace and refraining from taking big risks.

“Often they are more introverted, but if you put them in charge of their own small domain, they are definitely going to be the boss,” she said.

“They can be taken for being aloof or standoffish when they actually are not at all – they are just serious and deep thinkers who are often creative.

“Limes are super efficient, organised and love systems and policies.

“They bring order to chaos in an office – every workplace needs a good lime.”


Ms Schinella said bananas were nice, kind and patient, and loved harmony in the office.

“Bananas are the ones who organise the birthday cakes and bring you cups of tea when you look sad,” she said.

“They exist to help; they love being in a helping and caring role, which sort of gives their lives purpose.”

Benefits of understanding the personality groups

According to Ms Schinella, self-awareness is the foundation of your emotional intelligence, meaning there are plenty of benefits in understanding your own personality group, as well as others.

“Your relationship with yourself is actually one of the most important relationships in life, because if you don’t know who you are, how can you possibly go on to live a meaningful, purposeful and fulfilling life for yourself and for others?” she said.

“This awareness is important in your understanding of managing your teams and those you work with.”

Ms Schinella said it was not just about understanding yourself in regard to your place within a workplace but also understanding which career was the right pathway.

“It is not just career, it’s about the way you work,” she said.

“Do you work better remotely or better hybrid?

“Some people need to go into an office every day and they need to have that contact, while other people are happier working alone.”

Tips for working with the other groups

Ms Schinella said it was important to take a hard look at yourself and chat within a group to see how your own personality might impact the workplace negatively.

“Apples like bullet points and direct communication, while effective communication with mangoes should consist of talking in pictures and metaphors because that’s how they think,” she said.

“Bring in visuals wherever you can for mangoes – whether it is on a PowerPoint presentation or drawing on a serviette.

“When working with a lime, if you are fast, slow it down and if you are loud, quieten down.

“For bananas, they just want the people they work with to be nice – don’t raise your voice or get impatient; they wanted to be treated the way they treat others.”