Cutler Scholars Reveal True Colors

by Dr. Karen Deardorff, Cutler Scholars Associate Director

Karen DeardorffAmidst the laughter and good-natured kidding in the Bentley Hall classroom was a serious air of thoughtful discovery. Shouts of “what color are you” could be heard throughout the room as the Scholars and Cutler staff completed the True Colors leadership assessment tool. True Colors is a model of personality identification that can be used to foster and enhance healthy and productive relationships in work, college, and personal life situations. 

To begin the assessment, participants are given four colored cards that represent four personality styles. After reading brief personality descriptions of the back side of the cards, participants choose two colors (blue, green, gold, or orange) that most closely represent how they see themselves. Next, participants respond to a series of prompts asking them to rank a set of characteristics that most likely to least likely describe their personalities. The columns are tallied and sections receiving the highest two scores are the identified ‘True Colors’ of that individual.

Kevin Smith, assistant director for Leadership Community Service in the Campus Involvement Center, facilitated the assessment process and subsequent discussion about how our personality styles impact our interactions and relationships with others. “Have you ever had a group project where one of the members was more interested in socializing first and getting the work done second?” asked Kevin. “If you are a gold that likes to work first and then play and that member is a blue who is more interested in building relationships, can you see how conflict might arise?” Kevin used other similar examples to illustrate how recognizing and understanding different leadership and personality styles can help us relate better with our co-workers, classmates, family, or significant others.

True ColorsAlthough a bit skeptical about the seminar at first, Sam Miller, DHI-Cutler Scholar '12, found the seminar useful. He commented, “I enjoyed the leadership seminar and Kevin did a great job motivating interest and thoroughly explaining the different types of personalities. I've recently truly learned the importance of being able to get along with all types of people and knowing what the needs and wants for different people are. I think the 'True Colors' seminar encouraged me to really think about my actions and how different people might react according to their different personalities.”

Brittni Downs, COB/EAB-Cutler Scholar ’11, also found the seminar thought provoking and useful. “I loved how some of us had such predictable ways of acting based on our colors without even trying to. I think we can learn a lot from our colors and other people’s colors and how to work better together. I would like to know what some other people are in my life and maybe I could find a way to work with them better.”

The characteristics associated with each of the four colors are shown below. What are your 'True Colors?'

True Colors

Blue: Caretaking, optimistic, passionate. A blue’s world revolves around people, relationships, and fostering growth in themselves and others.

Gold: Dependable, responsible, conscientious. Golds thrive on consistency, organization and structure.

Green: Analytical, objective, problem solvers. Greens are problem-solvers intrigued with the how and why.

Orange: Energetic, spontaneous, opportunistic. Oranges are natural performers who flourish in an atmosphere of variety and stimulation.

The True Colors seminar was not only a great teambuilding activity, it also gave each of us a glimpse into understanding what values and needs drive our daily lives. I highly recommend the program for use in classrooms, departmental settings or within student groups.

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