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The Makerere training team had a retreat from 17th to 18th June, 2019. Attended by eleven team members, the retreat was held at the idyllic Malakai Eco-lodge in Kitende, Wakiso, Uganda. The purpose of the retreat was to build training capacity and engage in team building. It came at an opportune moment as GREAT welcomed new trainers to the team. The retreat was facilitated by renowned process facilitators: Dr. Richard Miiro and Dr. Maria Nassuna Musoke from Makerere University, who also double as GREAT trainers. The beautiful ambience in the suburbs of bustling Kampala city, lent the right atmosphere to this two-day engagement.

To get more and different perspectives about the event, we’ve published blogs from the Team Leader Associate professor Margaret Najjingo Magheni, the Associate Coordinator Dr. Brenda Boonabaana, and Dr. Peace Musiimenta. This time we’re sharing perspectives from GREAT trainers Dr. Thomas Odong, Dr. Rosemary Isoto and Dr. Jenipher Bisikwa.


The power of different personality types to team building

By Dr. Jenipher Bisikwa, GREAT Trainer

During the training and team-building retreat for Gender Responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) that was held in June 17-18, 2019 at Kampala, I learned about the power of teamwork and the importance of different personality types in team building according to Richard M. Stephenson.

For the first time I realized that having a team made up of members with different personality types can actually enhance team performance. As someone who has an Eagle personality type, I am task-oriented and can sometimes get too controlling in order to get the task accomplished within the required timeline and this doesn’t go down well with the Dove personality type, who is slow, analytical and thus prefers more time to reflect. These two personality types do not have to be competitive but can be complementary to get the task accomplished in time and with a high quality product. For example, the eagle-type personality type like myself will be able to meet deadlines while the dove-like personality on the team will be able to review the facts and get data that can enrich the quality of the finished product such as a research report.

During this team-building retreat, I also learned that I can learn to nurture a good relationship with other personality types by learning to work together as a team with them. For example, one personality may be quiet and a good listener, while the other is more assertive and a great presenter of facts, thus able to market the team idea to the public and thus make the team more visible and recognizable. As a team, I also learned that we need to build each other up by giving an opportunity to all members of the team to express their views and so my take-home message as someone who can be dominant and assertive is to learn to give other people on a team time to give their views as well as a chance to make a presentation at meetings or during discussions. This will minimize conflicts within a team as well as build a confident coherent team.

The recent team-building training and retreat has taught me many lessons about the power of working together as a team as well as the importance of working with members of different personality types. For example, knowing the personality style of my team members will help me to work better with them because they have a different perspective, strategy, and preference, which will in turn enrich the team performance. Also, each personality type has a different way of handling relationships, emotions, communication, and conflict, which factors are key to a high performance team. I also learned that no personality type is superior to the other i.e. they are simply different, each having both strengths and weaknesses and as a team we need to learn to manage the weaknesses and harness the strengths for the benefit of the team effort.


My great experience as a first-time trainer during the GREAT team retreat

By Dr. Rosemary Emegu Isoto, GREAT Trainer

I was invited to join the team of trainers by the Principal Investigator (PI), Prof. Margaret Mangheni in order to add an economic eye to the existing team of GREAT trainers. I was warmly welcomed on board by the PI, administrator and other GREAT Team members. The whole team was extremely kind and warm to me and this made me feel at home, accepted and appreciated. It is an honor to be part of this great GREAT team. Generally, I bring in an economic dimension to the team and a different perspective on the outlook of things. As an economist and specifically econometrician, I bring on board, special analytical skills to enhance the skills of the trainees. Econometrics can be used and applied across disciplines. The retreat gave me an opportunity to have a deeper appreciation of GREAT and its team members besides understanding the process, approach and methods used by the GREAT trainers in their facilitation of GREAT training. The most captivating thing I learnt and enjoyed and benefited from the most was the knowledge of existence of different types of learners such as the imaginative, analytical, common sense and dynamic learners who together always compose the class. This is extremely useful in enhancing learning for action and change.

particpants have a discussion around a tableAnother moment that was very enriching was learning about different personality types such as the dove type, eagle type, owl type and peacock type. This gave me an appreciation of diversities inherent in human beings. These diverse personalities need to be recognized and harnessed in order to work together harmoniously and they need to be recognized and appreciated too. It was such an eye-opening moment that will be extremely beneficial while working with other people in the team to achieve the expected objectives and results. All in all, there were many interesting and impactful sessions that have not been mentioned here but are greatly appreciated. I would like to sincerely thank the GREAT leadership for their untiring efforts for a successful impactful and insightful retreat.

What a wonderful retreat, thumbs up for GREAT team

By Dr. Thomas Lapaka Odong, GREAT Trainer

It is always rare that all aspects of a training or workshop go right but this time it did. Ever since I stopped being a student more than 10 years ago, I have never learned so much within a short time. Sharing of personal experiences amongst trainers and facilitators during the opening session set stage for free flow of information and provide a great environment for learning. During the entire training period the interaction between the participants and facilitators was very good. There was so much fun and sharing of ideas. The topic on the different types of learners and trainers was very interesting and informative. I realized how much my teaching/training would improve by simply taking the time to understand my audience and myself properly. The personality test provided me with opportunity for self-reflection. I believe I now understand my associates and myself much better than before.

The retreat environment was simply fantastic. The food was great and my tree house was amazing. The quiet and natural environment provided by a blend of natural and artificial vegetation, water, monkeys and birds made learning very interesting. Although Malakai Eco-lodge is situated in the middle of the swamp, the mosquitoes were surprisingly very friendly. Thanks to Margaret and Liz for the organization. Big thanks also go our able facilitated Richard and Goretti for the great work done. Long live GREAT!

About the authors

Jenipher Bisikwa, Rosemary Emegu Isoto and Thomas Lapaka Odong

The authors are GREAT Trainers.

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