Expand Your Vocabulary: Listen More
Although our tasks are different, it’s a pretty safe bet that everyone in the Division of Student Affairs interacts with other people daily. Communication flows rapidly between our co-workers, supervisors, students, campus partners and stakeholders.
What if we took the time to actively listen to others? When we truly listen to what someone says and how they say it, we now have the opportunity to respond in a way that compliments their True Colors®. Once we know their color spectrum, we can use that information to listen in a new way.
What does this look like in practice? Let’s learn about active listening through a True Colors® lens with the following example:
A “green-gold” employee has a supervisor who is a “blue-orange.” The employee approaches the supervisor and asks, “Why don’t we consider changing our student staff training this year?” The supervisor, if listening through their “blue-orange” color, may take this question personally. After all, the supervisor designed the program from scratch and the assessment results are always positive. Taking some time to understand the employee’s colors, the supervisor may realize that allowing their employee to exercise the “green-gold” strengths could yield an enhanced training. Entertaining the question could also “brighten” the employee’s colors and may ultimately make the student training even better.
This example demonstrates how active listening can aid our understanding and create a healthier work environment. We should not discount our own True Colors® preferences, but by taking the time to interpret how others perceive the world, we can learn to ask better questions and realize our collective strengths.
As Atticus Finch said in the classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
This concept can be applied to our True Colors® lens. Learn more about how the different colors communicate and tips for communicating better here. Expanding our True Colors® vocabulary can make our Division and university better.
Deputy to the Dean of Students and Coordinator for New Student Services