Understanding personalities: What color is your personality?

Using Real Colors personality inventory to better understand individual strengths and weaknesses.

Different colored puzzle pieces

Any adult or youth who has participated in an interview can recall the ever-popular question, “Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.” But how do youth gain insight into those characteristics without on-the-job experience and feedback from superiors? The Real Colors personality inventory can be a helpful tool for youth to explore their personality traits and potential individual strengths and weaknesses.

Real Colors is an assessment and training rooted in the work of well-known social science researchers including Carl Jung, Isabel Myers, Katharine Briggs and David Keirsey. The Real Colors personality inventory uses self-assessments to break down personality types into four basic color groups, making the tool easy to teach and remember in future applications. The training helps youth and adults discover their primary “colors,” each associated with a personality type, and gains insight into areas their personality type may excel or struggle in their work in groups. The training is conducted over the course of two hours to a full day and is carried out by trained instructors.

By participating in a training, youth and adults gain perspective about the tasks they may consider easy in their lives, but present challenges to others based on the way others think or approach the task. For example, organizational skills and meeting deadlines may come naturally to some people, but others may need to work harder at achieving the same results. Likewise, some people can read and analyze numbers or see how a problem fits in with a broader context, while others may not draw those connections as easily. Similarly, some people excel in groups and teamwork, and others prefer to work alone.

Understanding what makes individuals unique can help groups identify individual strengths and areas that they could improve. It also provides perspective into how individuals participate as part of a team. Michigan State University Extension educators are trained in facilitating the Real Colors personality inventory, appropriate for adults and youth. Contact your local MSU Extension office or the 4-H Leadership and Civic Engagement Work Team at 4-hleadership@msu.edu for more information.

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