What Color is Snow White?
by Andrea Bargsley and Patti Hill of BlabberMouth

One day when the wicked queen asked her mirror, "Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who in this land is the fairest of all?" The mirror answered, "Thou art fairer than all who are here, Lady Queen. But more beautiful still is Snow White, as I ween."

That's how Insights Vancouver President, Joyce Gwilliam, began the Minerva Foundation Leadership Conference for Women at St. John's College at University British Columbia in June of 2002. The Leadership Conference was designed to bring together women of all walks - high school students, graduate students, and business and community leaders for a "Leadership Learning" weekend.

The Leadership Conference participants, thirty 11th grade students, thirty graduate students, and thirty professional leaders, represented a cross-section of geographic, cultural, social and disciplinary diversity. It was a superb mix. The professional women shared their stories of accomplishments and leadership. The 11th graders were enthusiastic, curious and incredibly optimistic and the graduate students wore a serious, contemplative perspective as they positioned themselves to enter future career paths.

Insights Vancouver, an Insights Learning & Development learning center, was an obvious choice, providing attendees significant opportunities for self-reflection with development tools to expand their awareness of self and others. Developed in the UK and used across the world, the Insights Discovery System™ is designed to help organizations and individuals increase their productivity, communications, and successful relationships within organizations as well as with customers. This powerful tool helps organizations and teams to better understand the interpersonal dynamics of their workplace and then begin to work with each other in a more soulful and authentic way.

Snow White's Conflict Issues

Looks aren't everything! After all, Snow White had some serious conflict issues with her Dad's new wife. She also made some career limiting moves by catering more to the needs of seven dwarfs than focusing on her own development. On top of everything else, she seemed totally naïve to the fact that the handsome prince that was swooping in to save her, promising her 'happily ever after' was statistically unlikely to stay by her side due to personality conflicts they couldn't resolve.

Let's face it - there is a little bit of Snow White in each of us. Whether finding ourselves in conflict with co-workers, family members, neighbors, or the grocery store clerk, the fact remains that we all have a unique personality with its many ways of reacting and interacting.

So, how do we prepare ourselves to interact with those who have a different view of the world? It's all about discovering your true color. With a bit of insight into the color of your psychic energy, you can better manage yourself and others, as well as gain feelings of control in every situation. You can learn the capacity in which you work best, which will then enhance your career and personal life. Psychic energy cannot be seen. However, colors can be seen, and the Insights Discovery System uses four colors to help distinguish which psychic energy or color is most and least like us. Carl Jung recognized that people "express their energies" in different ways. Jung introduced the concepts of introversion and extroversion. Whether quiet, cautious, gregarious, or bold, there are ways in which we can all better communicate by understanding other energies.

Four Primary Styles of Leadership

Now, the Wicked Queen … she got a bad rap. She was really onto something amazing … tragic as it was that she didn't know how to use it. Through her mirror, she was trying to recognize her positive attributes and gather strength. However, she didn't fully know how to use the feedback she received to her advantage.

Fairy tales or reality - both can lead us to understanding ourselves, our strengths, idiosyncrasies, and capacity to add value and relate to others in order to become a true leader.

The Leadership participants were challenged to understand where they stood as a leader and whether that leadership was experienced or emerging. Each participant was given an Insights Discovery Profile. The reports were not as dramatic as having a magical mirror in the bed chamber, but none-the-less were accurate, and without bias. The reports are the first resource, skimming only the first layer toward better communication through self-understanding.

The Insights Discovery Profile might reveal answers to whether or not you are:

  • Confident and forthright?
  • Outgoing and optimistic?
  • Enthusiastic and free- spirited?
  • Generous, warm and caring?
  • A non-judgmental mediator and patient?
  • Loyal and organized?
  • Detail oriented and reflective?
  • Self-disciplined and reflective?

According to the Insights Discovery system there are four primary styles of leadership:

  1. Strategic results-based leaders
  2. Vision-based leaders
  3. People-based leaders
  4. Information-based leaders

In the Insights system, the different types of leadership are identified as:

  1. Fiery red
  2. Sunshine yellow
  3. Earth green
  4. Cool blue

Fiery Red

The fiery red energy represents the strategic, results-based leaders. A fiery red might live by the motto: "Only she who attempts the absurd achieves the impossible."

Take the powerful speaker, writer and social activist, Nellie McClung, as an example of the fiery red leader type. McLung is most well known as one of the "famous five" women in Canada who helped to secure the vote for Canadian women. McClung possessed a superior ability to understand and tackle complex challenges. As she campaigned, for social justice, her sharp wit and highly developed sense of timing served her well. In fighting for the rights of women in Canada she was bold, assertive and goal-directed. One of her most famous quotes reflects her fiery red energy - "Never retreat, never explain, never apologize…get the thing done and let them howl."

General attributes of the results-based leader are:

  • Positive
  • Affirmative
  • Bold
  • Assertive
  • Goal-Directed

Sunshine Yellow

Sunshine yellow energy is seen in the vision-based leaders. Oprah Winfrey is a sunshine yellow leader. She has crossed racial barriers to succeed in television, publishing, film, education, health & fitness and social awareness. She uses her personal passion to blend public and private; through her own willingness to put everything on the table she inspires people to improve their lives. Vision-based leaders are able to communicate with passion, create an inspiring atmosphere, share a vision that other people can believe in, and encourage active participation.

General attributes of the vision-based leader are:

  • Cheerful
  • Uplifting
  • Dynamic
  • Enthusiastic
  • Persuasive

Earth Green

The People - and Values-Based Leaders are those with earth green energy. Mother Teresa is a people - and values-based (earth green) leader. Her life started without fanfare, a daughter of an Albanian grocer and his wife, joined a community of Irish nuns and worked as a teacher and high school principal. Then at age 37 she received a call to "serve the poorest of the poor". For the next 50 years she was the head of Missionaries of Charity - which at the end of her life was operating some 517 missions in more than 100 countries. Accepting the Nobel Prize in the name of the "unwanted, unloved and uncared for", she was applauded as a leader known for her values-based and thoughtful planning, her ability to inspire trust and build confidence in others and her model high standards of openness, integrity and respect.

General attributes of the value-based leader are:

  • Encouraging
  • Patient/Calming
  • Amiable
  • Caring

Cool Blue

The cool blue energy representing the information-based leader finishes the color palette. Julie Payette, currently the Chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency, is an example of cool blue energy. Before being recognized for her role with the 1999 Space Shuttle Discovery program, Payette conducted research in computer systems, natural language processing, automatic speech recognition and application of interactive technology in space. She holds a multi-engine commercial pilot license, speaks five languages, plays the piano and has sung with various orchestras - worldwide. The blue energy leader's strength is in her ability to create structure, process and detailed analysis, apply critical thinking and make sense of complex details.

General attributes of the information-based leader are:

  • Precise
  • Questioning
  • Analytical
  • Objective
  • Unbiased

A Kaleidoscope of Colors

Interestingly enough, all individuals are a blend of these colors. From the four basic color energies, further definition breaks them down into eight primary types. Each of the eight primary personality types approaches a leadership situation from a different perspective, or strength. Because all of these energies are within all individuals, we're each faced with decisions about how to draw on our gifts and adapt our personalities to use other energies when appropriate.

The Insights Discovery System also teaches us that our energy might sometimes change according to things occurring in our lives. Stressors, promotions, personal issues, marriage, and many other outside factors play a huge role in determining where our personality fits into the color wheel.

Moral of the Story

The moral of the story is that knowledge is powerful. Take the Queen for example. She had something unique and special. Through her mirror, she was able to get daily insights - feedback that was offered honestly, without bias or judgment. The tragedy was that she didn't use the knowledge for its best advantage.

By tapping into our own energy and opening up ourselves to more confidently and wisely communicating with others, we can become the Queen of our domains; whether than domain is home, office, leisure, or anything in between.

Andrea Bargsley and Patti Hill are co-owners of BlabberMouth, an Austin-based full service marketing and public relations agency specializing in branding, creative design, and strategic communications. BlabberMouth helps businesses 'get the WORD out' to target markets with substance and style. For a free marketing analysis and information about services, visit www.BlabberMouthPR.com .

About the Minerva Foundation

The mission of the Minerva Foundation is to create opportunities for women throughout British Columbia to realize their economic and leadership potential. It is an independent non-profit society governed by a volunteer board, representing the cultural and geographic diversity of British Columbia. The Foundation will focus on four priority areas: economic security, safety, education and leadership development for girls and women. Through grants to community groups, collaborative projects with institutions and government, and corporate partnerships, the Foundation will ensure that the progress BC women have made so far continues.

About Insights Learning & Development

Insights Learning & Development Ltd, founded in 1988, is an organizational development and learning company with offices in over 18 countries. Executives of some of the world's largest corporations and government agencies use Insights leading edge psychometric testing and personal development tools to enhance areas such as team building, strategic direction, creative change, and sales success. Insights products are supported by a worldwide network of learning centers that offer training and consulting services by means of assessments, workshops, coaching, and e-learning.

The Insights System is the result of hundreds of thousands of hours of research and development. What's more, it has a proven track record in some of the most effective and productive organizations world-wide. Based solidly on the work of the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, the Insights development framework provides powerful and practical training programs - on personal, corporate or global levels. For more information, visit www.insightsworld.com, www.insightscompas.com or www.insightsna.com.

"get the WORD out"

Many more articles in The HR Refresher in The CEO Refresher Archives


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