Thursday, April 2, 2009
Leadership class studies relationships
By SUE WATSON
Unlocking the mystery of interpersonal skills, and how relationships work or do not work at home or at work, was one module the Leadership Marshall 2009 class completed this week.
The Myers-Briggs personality test, which defines 16 basic types of personality mixes, is given to the leadership class each year and is probably one of the most favorite of modules as the test can help one understand what makes him or her tick. The test is useful in resolving conflict that arises between individuals, and within groups, be the group a business, organization, governmental body or educational group. Myers-Briggs is the leading self-development tool in use today worldwide.
With nearly perfect attendance at last week’s leadership class at the Industrial Development Authority building in Holly Springs, members of the class got to share the results of their test with the rest of the group.
Four scales are used to assess the personality type using the Briggs-Myers test. Those who answer the 93 questions, learn more about their personality type - are they an introvert or extrovert, do they make decisions based on sense data or on intuition, do they decide based on thinking or feeling, and do they make decisions based on judgement or perception.
In answering each question, the test is structured to force the test taker to select an answer when answers are in opposition to each other.
Ronnie White, test administrator from Mississippi State University, said each personality type has special gifts and each person is unique. Everyone who takes the test also uses preferences on both sides of the scales in daily decision making, he said.
The test was given to the leadership class to illustrate how to use personality types to appreciate and work with others, he said.
The class worked on a module on race relations in the afternoon session.
The leadership class has divided into two groups to work on two projects that they hope can be carried out and leave an impression on the community.
One group is developing a beautification project to help promote a safe, clean and attractive environment in Byhalia. The group is discussing work on a walking trail and working with the Byhalia Garden Club.
A second group wants to build a Marshall County youth leadership program that will improve skills by promoting self-esteem, vision, and unity. The program is designed to work with adult leaders joining youngsters to lead together.
Organizers hashed out some of the elements they thought would be important in building the youth leadership program.
Chris Cothern pointed out that “kids need to know you are interested in them.”
Hunter Hollingsworth thought adult leaders should visit the schools and take the children on field trips outside of the school.
“I believe there should be less paperwork and more interaction,” he said.
George Khars agreed, emphasizing the difference between “make work” projects and mentoring.
“Our mission statement says this is not make work,” said Robert Pearson.
Felicia Autry wanted the goals for the youth leadership program to be spelled out before adults went before the kids.
Khars pointed out other projects, such as Junior Achievement, that involves youngsters in hands-on projects. He said this leadership project should be more about showing kids how government works by introducing them to elected officials and taking them to board meetings.
Cothern advised that the groups would not be able to meet with youth often.
“We can’t do it every three months,” said Hollingsworth.
“We have to come up with a plan of implementation and say how often (we will meet with kids),” she said.
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