We were talking about the early days of working with Personality Dimensions® at the office earlier today – okay, I was talking, the others were listening; they’re all from the next generation – and it reminded me of one presentation that really stands out in my memory and that has helped shape Personality Dimensions® in some ways.
I had been invited to speak at a gathering of leaders for a youth organization. There were leaders from all over southern Ontario present, a hundred or so if memory serves, including from their headquarters. I’d been given an hour or two to do to an introduction to temperament theory/Personality Dimensions® and I included an emphasis on interpersonal communications.
The lovely ladies (it was all ladies present) who volunteered their time and talents to the youth in their units all seemed to be really interested and a lot of discussion took place. The room was, to my eye, largely a sea of blue, and I’m not just talking about the uniforms. Sitting at the front, clustered around one large table were the leaders from headquarters – a very Organized Gold group, with some Authentic Blue and one Inquiring Green. Everyone, regardless of their plaid, was there because they wanted to do the very best job that they could for the kids.
I did the presentation and it was well received so I started to pack up and prepare for my 4 hour drive home. It took me another 2 hours to get out the door! Foregoing the break that was planned immediately after my presentation, many of the ladies gathered around to help me – and to talk about how my presentation applied to them specifically. While some talked about their kids or spouses and how they now recognized why they didn’t always see eye to eye – the usual reaction people have after they’ve been introduced to Personality Dimensions® – many wanted to talk about the actual organization. It seems that there had been some problems between headquarters and many of the leaders. Some were actually in tears (in case you don’t know me, I’m a bright Inquiring Green; tears can be a bit of a challenge for me to deal with so to say I was surprised at this reaction to my presentation would be quite the understatement)!
It quickly became clear that changes were being made to the program at the top level but no one was actually explaining why. Keep in mind that many of the ladies had been volunteering for several years, often starting when their own child wanted to join and a new leader was needed to keep the group going and then staying on long afterwards to continue to give to the next groups. They were hurt and felt a bit resentful. Now they understood a bit more about the differences in communication styles for each colour; it wasn’t personal, and was never intended to be.
I got home a bit later than I’d planned to that evening but the whole event left quite an impression on me – obviously; it took place almost two decades ago and I’m telling you about it now. If we are able, as Personality Dimensions® facilitators, to give those who we have the opportunity to speak with a greater sense of self-respect and understanding for others and in the process allow them to see the differences in communication styles for each colour – and fill in any missing gaps – we will have done a great thing!
Yours, from the back office.
Denise Hughes is the Director and owner of CLSR Inc. and general editor of Personality Dimensions® materials and products. She just noticed the calendar and realized it is just past the 44th anniversary of her introduction to career and type and temperament materials. Those experiences and the expertise she gained through her years with the Guidance Centre, University of Toronto, and now with CLSR, continue to shape the direction that both CLSR and Personality Dimensions® take.