I wanted to use my first blog post to talk about my first real LC experience: training. Being an LC is a unique job, which of course requires unique training. For just over a week in June and another two weeks in July, the LC team gathered at Sigma Kappa National Headquarters in Carmel, Indiana. June was our Initial Training; during this time we learned the basics, like how to do our timesheets, and were introduced to all of the National Headquarters and volunteer teams. Just before Advanced Training in July we learned our placements – whether traveling or a specific residential location. Advanced Training was then a more in-depth training about our job with a focus on our placement and the details of being an LC.
These three weeks of training were as rigorous as they were rewarding. Every day was packed full of information about Sigma Kappa, leadership, and learning about ourselves. We discussed current events, played ice breakers and team builders, and dedicated entire days to ritual and recruitment! While most of our time was dedicated to learning nitty-gritty details about how Sigma Kappa functions as an organization and our role and responsibilities, care and attention was also given to our personal and professional development.
Some of my favorite activities included taking personality/communication assessments such as StrengthsFinder and the Myers-Briggs personality test. I’ve always enjoyed assessments like these that explain how people think and allow us to draw on our strengths (and acknowledge our weaknesses). I completed some of these in the past but enjoyed seeing how my strengths had changed over the past couple of years and seeing myself in a new light.
However, I believe one of the best ways to utilize these assessments is in the context of team dynamics, which is what we did. Learning about these assessments in a team context allowed the group to learn who can fill in our “gaps;” all strengths are good, that’s why they’re strengths, but it is helpful to know who has the strengths that we may lack. On the road, people with different and/or opposite strengths can help us think of problems from a fresh perspective and provide valuable feedback. It will also help us communicate better knowing that not everyone has the same style and we may have to adapt our typical style to be properly understood.
Fortunately, many of these tools are online; while StrengthsFinder is not free, there are many free Myers-Briggs assessments. Many of us used the website 16 Personalities, which also provides information on how your personality type can function in friendships, romantic relationships, the workplace, and more. There are many other helpful quizzes as well, such as Love Languages. We also used a few resources in Workshop Warehouse, exclusive to us as Sigma Kappas; we took the communication style quiz in the Communicating Effectively program and used the Who Are We program in Recruitment Preparation. There are actually two sections of workshops devoted to Self-Awareness and Development and Career Readiness! These can be used in small groups or with the entire chapter.
By the end of training, we all learned an incredible amount about ourselves and each other. The days were quite full, but everyone was excited to be there and eager to learn. I think I can speak for everyone and say we had an amazing time learning about Sigma Kappa and bonding as a group. We’d spend all day together learning and would still want to hang out afterwards and get group dinners! Starting your first job is always a bit scary, but it helps having an amazing team and we could not be better prepared.
- I highly recommend taking assessments such as the Myers-Briggs, especially in the context of a team such as executive council. Individuals may benefit just by learning more about themselves and why they think a certain way; this can also help people explore major/career options by seeing what matches their strengths and interests long-term.
- Develop a strong support system to encourage you and help fill your gaps.
- Know your resources! There are so many online to help your personal and professional development.