Learning to Lead: GFC Foresters Come Together for Leadership Conference in Helen, GA
By Aubrey Deane, GFC Graphics and Visual Art Specialist
It’s no secret that leadership can make or break a work environment. At the GFC, we’re committed to constantly growing and striving to become the best versions of ourselves, both for each other and for the communities we serve. That’s why a group of 44 members of the GFC recently gathered at Unicoi State Park and Lodge to undergo three days of leadership training led by Dr. Lauren Griffeth and Rochelle Sap of UGA’s Office of Learning and Organizational Development.
Dr. Lauren Griffeth and her team led us through multiple activities designed to encourage introspective thought and allow us to gain a better understanding of ourselves and how we each are like pieces of a puzzle that come together to make up the GFC. These activities highlighted our similarities and our differences, grouping us together based on personality types, generation, and communication style. Being grouped this way, we were able to meet like-minded co-workers, and discuss what strengths we bring to the organization. This also helped us learn more about our peers in other groups, and how they may think and function differently. These differences make us stronger by providing a balance of personalities within the organization, ensuring that we always have the right person for any job.
As a group, we discussed what qualities we believe are exemplary of a good leader. The consensus was that a good leader is someone who actively listens to their team, is willing to learn and grow, is organized and responsible, and capable of making tough decisions. Then, we divided up into four corners of the room based on what leadership style we most identified with – the Lion, the Beaver, the Dove and the Dolphin. This test is known as the “Four Animals Personality Test,” and is designed to help participants understand their natural approach to dealing with conflict. Click here to learn more about this test and see which corner you fall into!
Additional insight was gained through presentations on the communication process, active listening, and Carol Dweck’s “Growth Mindset.” We also dug deep into our own personal values and beliefs, and how they can fuel our passions and purpose. It was very interesting to see how many of our personal values aligned with the values of the GFC as a whole, including education, service, and compassion for each other and the world around us.
Another test we took is known as the “Real Colors / True Colors” test. It is designed to help us understand our behaviors and improve communication between individuals. After taking a brief questionnaire, the test analyzes the answers and assigns participants a color based on their responses: Green, Gold, Blue, or Orange. People who identified with Green are usually analytical, logical, and calculated. Gold signifies an individual who values loyalty and respect, and is dependable, loyal, and responsible. Blue is representative of empaths, who are driven by compassion, understanding, relationships and creativity. Orange exemplifies the spontaneous adventure-seeker, who values change, competition, and risk-taking. As you might imagine, within the GFC we had many Greens and Golds, as many of our foresters are good-hearted, loyal individuals driven by facts and data. As a whole, this activity helped shed light on the importance of our differences and how they function as one of our organization’s strengths. Having a good balance of all four colors helps keep our organization efficient and guarantees that we are serving our state in the best possible way. Watch this video to learn more about the Real Colors / True Colors Test and click here to try it for yourself!
I found this learning opportunity to be incredibly valuable. However, as someone who is fairly new to the GFC team, I most enjoyed meeting so many new co-workers and getting to know them and their communication styles. I’m proud to be part of such a strong and passionate team made up of so many different personalities! I truly believe that our team benefited greatly from experiencing this training together, and we have returned from Unicoi State Park and Lodge as better listeners and communicators, with a stronger bond and renewed sense of drive and purpose.