Expressing Talents: Hypothetical Learning Scenarios
Having an appreciative mindset also means recognizing that people have different perspectives and that there can be many equally valid ways to approach a situation. Working with a profiling tool such as the Myers-Briggs type indicator or Insights Discovery can help both employees and volunteer group leaders support their staff and students to learn and grow through focusing on strengths and qualities. We have found that the Insights Discovery profiling tool in particular provides an appreciative language that enables our paid and volunteer staff to focus on strengths and learning possibilities in any situation.
A profiling tool gives a rough outline of preferences that are said to be archetypical. Used without care, a profiling tool can become a way to put other people in boxes, but used carefully it can provide a very powerful language to address differences in an appreciative way. It offers a number of suggestions of possible outlooks on life and motivation and as such, if used with curiosity can be a conversation starter for talks about where the individual volunteer finds motivation and experiences challenge in their volunteer work. It also serves as a tool to help people discover their own strengths and address the strengths of others as they see them. Look through the pictures for some ideas on activities and conversation starters.
Results for the organisation
Having a language that can address differences in a non-conflictual way helps management address potentially difficult issues with the volunteer staff. It also teaches the individual leader to look at the positive qualities of each volunteer, which according to the theories of appreciative management, will create more of the desired positive output and less negative.
Results for the volunteer
The volunteers also gain an insight into their own behaviours and especially how this can be perceived by others. They gain tools that can help them address conflicts with other volunteers as well as express what they need in terms of feedback from management.
You can either get your staff certified as Insights practitioners or you can find someone who is and have them do a series of workshops with you. There are also a lot of free resources available online for research and download.
Doing a workshop with a profiling tool like Insights can function as an introduction to the appreciative mindset for new volunteers and staff members.
In an organisation it is important that you’re able to talk about your volunteers’ talents, so they can discover their own talents and abilities. By paying them a compliment, you start the conversation. Why do you pay them that particular compliment?
You create a positive atmosphere. People feel supported, acknowledged and more confident.
Confident people are able to learn more and are more open to feedback. They are able to let their talents grow.
At the annual International Volunteer Day DINAMO made duo-cards with compliments for each volunteer. They got to keep one for themselves and had to give the other to another volunteer. It was fun to do, made people happy and people started talking about what they are good at.