From John C. Maxwell’s The 360 Degree Leader

1. How do you deal best with tension in a stressful situation?

We’ve all been here before. In stressful situations, I usually find it best to identify the source of tension and try to understand why it is there. For example, if someone in my committee is not doing their part, I would approach them individually and try to understand why they are unable to complete their work. Upon understanding the situation, I would then try to remedy the source of tension. Is this person simply confused as to what they need to do, or do they need extra help and more group members assigned to the task? Since the person unable to complete their work understands their situation best, I would also ask for their input into what they need to help them complete their task.  I think an important thing to remember is not to embarrass anyone in front of the group or to come off as insulting. When dealing with tension, especially in a stressful situation, it’s best to deal with the problem discreetly, so that you are not breaking the trust of the group member who may need help. Also, dealing with tension in a positive and peaceful way sets an example for the other members in your group so that when problems arise, they can sort them out in a positive way as well.

 

2. What should you do when you find yourself following a leader who is ineffective? How do you continue to add value?

When you follow an ineffective leader, it becomes even more important to be a good leader from the middle. Remember, even though you are below your leader, you can still influence them to become a better leader. You can add value to your group by leading the people around effectively, and by helping your leader develop their leadership skills. However, you don’t want to discredit your leader. The steps to helping your leader are:

  1. Develop a solid relationship with your leader.
  2. Identify and appreciate your leader’s strengths.
  3. Commit yourself to adding value to your leader’s strengths.
  4. Get permission to develop a game plan to complement your leader’s weaknesses.
  5. Expose your leader to good leadership resources.
  6. Publicly affirm your leader.

3. List the different “hats” that you are currently required to wear.

  • Leader
    • in group work and sometimes in committee roles
  • Servant
    • To my parents and my family
  • Collaborator
    • when working with my peers and friends
  • Entertainer
    • to my friends and siblings
  • Caretaker
    • to my younger siblings, but as we have gotten older they have become more independent
  • Mentor
    • to Joanna, for math help, my peers in ICT 9 when they miss a day of class or need help, and to the nines in TALONS)
  • Student…
    • when in school and when learning a skill outside of school

4. Do you tend to focus more energy on production or promotion?

I tend to put more of my energy into production. In my opinion,the success of the group means the success of myself. This is why I put more energy into producing what the group needs than promoting my work. However, putting all this energy into the work sometimes means I forget to appreciate what myself and others are doing. In past group work, each member knows how much work they’ve done, but no one knows how much work everyone else has done. I think for the future, it maybe better to devote a little bit of energy to motivating and recognizing other people for what they do. In addition, this may result in better productivity of the group.

 

5. How will you contribute to your committee’s success?

When planning for the adventure trip, I’ll test the leadership principles I’m learning in real life. I will be consistently  available for communication, and I will clarify tasks and needs of the group to the members as well as keeping the project managers updated on my committee’s progress. I will communicate with the other committees as well to make sure everyone is on the same page, and that I’m not taking other committee’s job (as we learned about in the “is it mine, or yours?” portion of today’s class). In addition to communication, I will build relationships with my group members and actively involve them in the committee, asking for their input, guiding or helping them with their task, and encouraging their initiative.

One thing that may prove to be a challenge, but I would like to try, is empowering my group members by delegating tasks in sections. For example, one section may be doing the practice trip exercises preparation, another may be doing the canoeing, and the last person might be doing first aid or orienteering. In the practice trip exercises preparation, one person could be responsible for leading that section and communicating with the other sections, another person may be responsible for finding out when the best dates and times for exercise periods are, another two people may be responsible for leading the exercise periods on alternating days, and the last two people might focus on making a form and attendance list for the exercise sessions. The size of the group will determine the effectiveness of this, because a very large group is well suited to this delegation, but a smaller group will be easier to manage as a single piece.

6. How do you relate to and align yourself with your committee’s vision?

My committee’s (or really any committee’s) vision is to plan, prepare and execute a fun adventure trip. I can relate to this because, if successful, I will share in the reward of going on the adventure trip and having a great time with my peers. The success of this vision is directly related to my personal happiness, but I will also get the satisfaction of a job well done if I work hard to fulfill this vision. Thus, being invested in my committee’s vision, I did by best last year and will do my best this year to make sure the adventure trip is a heck of a good time!

7. In what ways have you experienced the influence challenge?

When trying to lead a group project with one of my friends in 9th grade, I attempted to get my partner to follow my ideas and plans for the project. However, my partner was also one of my friends that I had known for many years, and he wasn’t impressed by my organized planning. He was reluctant to put in the time and effort it took to complete my plan, because he had a different vision than mine – one that involved substantially less work. While I ended making a compromise with him so that there would be less work for both us, my plans also had to change. This illustrates my struggles with the influence challenge. I could not influence my partner to join in my vision, so we both had to compromise.

Sometimes I find this a challenge because even I don’t want to follow myself! People follow leaders they know, trust, respect, admire and can approach. To become someone people want to follow, a leader has to

  1. Care about others
  2. Show character
  3. Be confident (this comes from rising to overcome challenges)
  4. Be consistent
  5. Be committed

To achieve large goals, I often can’t do all of the work myself. For example, one person cannot plan the entire adventure trip for the TALONS class in the time frame we have. I need to harness the power of teamwork, but to do that, I need to be someone that people are willing to follow. This starts with building relationships and showing that I care about others. The next step is showing character, and pursuing admirable character traits to constantly  improve myself. I’m currently working on being more open-minded and accepting, and I am very near to reaching my goal of switching the default pronoun I use for strangers to “they” instead of he or she. I must also take risks and face challenges to become more confident. I must be consistent so that others are comfortable approaching me, but I think this step will be dealt more with in the “building relationships” and “pursuing admirable character traits”. After all, being consistent is a character trait. Lastly, I must be committed. I know that I have a commitment to my group now, but I must be ready to sacrifice time and energy to a project to be a good leader. This ties in with English, about being aware of what you are sacrificing to pursue your vision. For example, if I spend too much time trying to perfect my leadership qualities, I may never actually lead any projects or trips.

That being said, I’m signing off!