By Ms. Lindsey R Monger
U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command
The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command’s Master Resiliency Trainers (MRT) assisted the ATEC workforce in discovering their character strengths, and how to leverage them, during this month’s resiliency training July 8 at the Aberdeen Proving Ground-North Recreation Center.
Part of the Army’s Ready and Resilience (R2) Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) program, resiliency training helps develop skills that build resilience and enhances performance among members of the Total Army.
ATEC Resiliency Trainers, Staff Sgt. Cornelius Tharrington, S-1 non-commissioned officer in charge and Diana Reeves, R2 civilian program lead, presented this month’s skill, ‘Identifying Character Strengths in Self and Others,’ aimed at identifying and understanding one’s strengths, increasing effectiveness, and strengthening relationships.
Prior to the class, participants were asked to complete the University of Pennsylvania’s Value in Action Character Strengths survey used to identify 24 character strengths for discussion during the session.
“You can strengthen your effectiveness as a Soldier and civilian when you know and use your character strengths,” Reeves said. “When you’re fully utilizing your strengths, it helps increase your energy, motivation and success in your personal and professional lives.”
Reeves explained how the participants can evaluate the results of their surveys to identify their signature character strengths.
“When you look at your signature strengths, these are the ones that are most comfortable to you, the most dominant in who are you, and that show up in your daily behavior,” Reeves said.
Reeves said some character strengths are not used as frequently as others. “For some people, those character strengths could be considered a weakness.”
Tharrington encouraged participants to strengthen their bottom character strengths so they are more comfortable when required to use them in any challenging situation.
Tharrington further explained what is referred to as the ‘shadow side’ of one’s character strengths.
“Each character strength has a shadow side that can get you in trouble or limit you,” said Tharrington. “The shadow side of a character strength is created when a particular strength is overused, exercising a strength in the wrong context or in a manipulative way, devaluing the character strengths of other people, or in a way that is not attuned to others.”
Tharrington ended the discussion with a comparison between resiliency sessions and tending to a garden.
“One of the first things you do when you have a garden is pull out the weeds,” Tharrington said. “We are, through teaching resiliency skills like mental games and real-time resiliency, ‘weeding out’ negative thoughts and behaviors from our minds’ ‘garden’ and replacing them with something more positive,” Tharrington explained.
Although resiliency training is mandatory for military personnel, civilians are highly encouraged to attend, he added.
“We [master resiliency trainers] want to help the Total Force [Soldiers, civilians and their Families] grow their character strengths,” Tharrington said. “That way, you can use those skills to help your colleagues and loved ones at home.”
In addition to the monthly resiliency training, ATEC resiliency trainers have also incorporated resiliency skills into staff meetings in an effort to bolster civilian participation and to raise awareness of the value of these classes among civilian personnel.
According to Lorrie Chieffo, ATEC’s workforce development officer, members of the acquisition workforce are required to earn 80 continuous learning points (CLPs) over a two-year period.
“Attending resiliency training is a great way to rack up CLPs,” said Chieffo. “Each resiliency class counts for one CLP. Attending resiliency training just once a month for two years could earn someone 24 CLPs,” said Chieffo.
For more information about ATEC’s Ready and Resiliency efforts, visit www.atec.army.mil/r2c. To learn more about the Army’s Ready and Resilient Campaign, visit www.army.mil/readyandresilient.
To register for a MST class on WSMR call Army Community Service at (575) 678-6767.