It was a busy day today. A good day. It included my facilitating a Personality Dimension’s workshop for first year nursing students. This is a fun interactive workshop and a very enlightening tool that I facilitate to different program, first semester students at my college. The students see it as a real eyeopener and its usually their first introduction to a workshop such as this. It is helpful for the students to understand themselves and other people, a tool they can use when they are working in groups on assignments, meetings, work and in their every day life with family and friends.
You might be familiar or attended a True Color’s workshop, this is the Canadian version. The concept of Personality Dimensions goes all the way to Hypocrates from which time on researchers have studied human behaviour. Researchers have all come up with one commonality being there are 4 different temperament styles. Each of us has these 4 temperament styles which Personality Dimensions differentiates by calling Inquiring Green, Organized Gold, Authentic Blue and Resourceful Orange. We have one temperament style that we feel most comfortable with, our strongest colour and comes most naturally to us (some people feel equally comfortable in more than one). However, when we need to we are able to use the other temperament styles though they may not feel as comfortable to us.
To help them understand the analogy of our preferred temperament style vs another one we’re less comfortable one I ask them to write their first name and last name as they usually do. Then using their other hand they again write their first and last name as they usually do. Thats where the chuckles start. Thats how it is with the temperaments as well. We have our preferred style that we feel most natural with but we are able to use the others as necessary though it may not feel as comfortale to us.
After a brief history of Personality Dimensions I lead them through a workshop where students identify their temperaments from the one that is most like them to the one least like them. They read through 3 sets of cards, In Communications, In Lifestyles and Picture Cards. They also answer a Traits and Characteristics sheet.
Once this has been determined they go into groups of like colours and each group discusses and answers 4 questions. The key being they must all agree on what goes on the paper. After each group presents their answers I tell them what the experts say about that colour. The smiles, nods and awe on their faces is wonderful and they can’t imagine that what I tell them is really about “them”. That simply confirms what a great tool Personality Dimensions really can be. I close by tying it all together explaining the similarities between the 4 temperments, where the problem areas are and what the 2 more problematic temperament colours are.
Personality Dimensions is a tool and like any tool you can use it when it applies and set it aside when it does not work. Human Behaviour is such a huge area and it does not presume to understand all human behaviour but it is so very enlightening. I see it in the faces of the students over and over again and read it in their evaluation forms whether they use it while working in groups at school, with their peers, at work situations, in their homelives.
I stress we cannot change the other person, but we can change the way we look at a situation. Something that might have been a conflict before really might not be seen as such when we understand. By understanding ourselves and by understanding others we can see that differences are not necessarily faults. Differences are gifts, a good thing.