Thursday, July 15, 2010
Adapting My Style to What Works
Today, at the Ropes Course, I learned that everyone had different leadership styles. Many people's comfort zone was in the leadership style that they took most often- for example, concerned with results, relationships, vision, or details. During the Ropes Course, because of restrictions on some aspects and encouragement on others, people challenged themselves to try other styles that would most benefit the whole group in that particular situation. I challenged myself to trust anyone in the group to hold me, catch me, and guide me through the course in more ways than one.
About myself, I learned that patience is important in working together. In some activities we were made to be silent. I learned that when my ability to communicate is impaired, if I have something to say, I become frustrated. Eventually, however, I learned how to make the situation work for myself and the group. I think that it was both a physical and mental challenge, because it was a physical restriction but a mental challenge to deal with.
Here are some pictures from our lunch at a beach filled with rocks and shells. It was actually very pretty.
Top Left: Allie finds a rotting crab leg. Top Right: Lindsey and Lina explore together. Center: Lupe investigates the shore. Bottom: Tierra has fun!
With physical challenges, I pushed myself very hard. For example, at the tightropes, I refused to stop when I felt wobbly, even when My and Aaron (the facilitators) were telling me to step off because they were scared for me. I know that they thought that they were helping me, and I would probably do the same if I were in their place.
However, I felt at the time that I could do it and that I didn't want to show weakness to myself or my peers by stepping off. It was like giving up to me. After a long while, I finally stepped off on the highest, longest tightrope. So my physical challenges mostly turned into mental ones that I either resolved (like the silence) or that I allowed to weaken my contribution or participation to the group.
Ryan (a major driving force in the Leadership Institute) and I
In a group, sometimes it will take me a while to step up and be seen as a traditional "leader". I usually let someone else try a challenge first, and then I go second. It's partly to learn from their mistakes, and partly out of fear that I might not succeed. I might even think that I would be judged in some way because of that.
Beautiful views of the beach
Groups work best when people step a little bit out of their comfort zones. That helps everyone participate but also encourage others to play a part. I will definitely apply this knowledge in the coming week by continuing to challenge myself to be an active learner. This means speaking up when I'm feeling quiet, and letting others speak if there's an issue that I've been contributing to in a discussion for a while.