Four Lenses provides “diverse” insight

Story by Lt. Col. Tinagay Riddle, Kentucky National Guard Diversity Initiatives Advisor

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Four Lenses training is designed to improve teambuilding skills and better prepare troops for deployment. (Photo by: Sgt. David Bolton, Public Affairs Specialist, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Kentucky Army National Guard)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Many wonder, what is this “diversity” that we keep hearing about?  Is that just a new fangled word for equal opportunity or affirmative action – will it only benefit minorities or women?

In the primary sense, all diversity means is differences.  In a human resource context, diversity refers to human qualities that are different from our own and those of groups to which we belong; but that are manifested in other individuals and groups. Dimensions of diversity include but are not limited to: age, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities / qualities, race, sexual orientation, educational background, geographic location, income, marital status, military experience, parental status, religious beliefs, work experience, and job classification.

So, diversity focuses on a broader set of qualities than race and gender. In the context of the workplace, valuing diversity means creating a workplace that respects and includes differences, recognizing the unique contributions that individuals with many types of differences can make, and creating a work environment that maximizes the potential of all employees.

How do we go about that?  Well, we start by heightening our own awareness of individual preferences, styles and behaviors.  This allows us to gain a deeper insight into how our own personal preferences thus, style impacts our relation to others, to a team, and to the organization.  It also allows us to perceive potential conflict.  We then may see differences with this amusement – how, with so many differences that exist within individuals, could we possibly think that we would react, behave, interact and relate in the same ways?

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Diversity in the National Guard goes beyond race and gender — it includes military, civilian, family and veterans. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The Four Lenses Discovery Workshop is an approach to temperament theory that instantly creates a sense of understanding and involvement.  Classifying humanity into specific personality types is an idea that has been around for centuries.  It has been found in the writings of the ancient Egyptians, Europeans, American Indians, and Greeks.  In the early 1900s, the study of personality became more scientific.  Carl G. Jung, a Swiss psychologist developed a way of interpreting preferences into personality type with some functions dominant within the individual than others.  This idea was further perfected for interpretation and application by Katharine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers in 1942.  In 1962, this psychometric, the Myers/Briggs Personality Type Indicator, was finally published and has been used and elaborated on extensively.  Simplified and condensed in 1978, by another psychologist, Dr. David Keirsey; he reduced it down to four basic personalities and called them temperaments.  Four Lenses is based on the temperaments with each temperament symbolized by a color for ready identification and applicability.

Last year nine Army and six Air Guard members were qualified to administer this fun, thought provoking, and team building class.  The Four Lenses process does not limit us to any one preference – variety is endless.  It is not to pigeon hole, but to help us realize that we all have traits of each other; though we all have differing comfort levels with various aspects of personality.  It is most important to realize that real strengths lie in the areas with which we are most comfortable and real learning occurs when we become more self aware.

Four Lenses could begin lifelong learning about aspects of oneself that, many times, is not individually challenged, but which could lead to more strength and professionalism of self; more respect and appreciation for others; and everyone can use improvement in the area of relationship.  Team, organization and mission can only be improved by the benefits of this influential course.

For information on scheduling a class for your unit contact Lt. Col. TinaGay Riddle at  tinagay.riddle.mil@mail.mil or call her at 502-607-1798.

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