This column is the first monthly installment of features by Division staff that will offer tips on how to integrate the True Colors® curriculum into your workplace.
Summer is a time for staff retreats and organizational development days where teams have the opportunity to reflect on the past year and plan for the upcoming year. It’s also a time to explore creative team building and professional development experiences. The Leadership and Ethics Institute (LEI) staff did a little bit of all this during our recent staff retreat. As we thought about a creative way to reflect on our year together as a staff and continue to strengthen our team, we decided to use True Colors® as an anchor for our discussion.
After our spring training with the Division on True Colors®, we were eager as a staff to continue this discussion. Below are some guiding questions we used for that discussion that could be easily adapted to your own teams.
Each staff member was provided with a piece of paper and marker to write and present in any way they liked their responses to the following prompts:
- Write down your True Colors® spectrum and describe how this spectrum represents you in your work.
- Based on your brightest color/s, what strengths do you bring to the team?
- What are stressors in your work life based on your True Colors® spectrum?
- What do you need from your fellow team members?
As team members described their spectrums at work with concrete examples, their colleagues were able to see their True Colors® spectrum “in action.” Since we are a small team, we were able to have time for each individual to share perspectives with all the staff. However, for larger teams, one might need to have these discussions in small groups and then end with a large group wrap-up.
During the strengths discussion, team members were also invited to express appreciation and add to their colleagues’ list of strengths. This conversation provided a natural place for us to show each other our appreciation and highlight how our members and their colors help us in our work.
It was especially insightful and useful as a team member as well as a manager to hear both my colleagues’ stressors and needs. The dialogue provided me with concrete ways to support them as well as deepened my understanding of their needs and preferences. All in all, this discussion was a productive and much needed activity to enhance our understanding of our True Colors®.
Assistant Dean of Students
University of Texas Leadership and Ethics Institute
Office of the Dean of Students