Looking Ahead

            The activities of today did not change the way I view leadership. Instead, they reinforced what this course had already been teaching. In none of the activities did a clear leader come out in the common notion. No single person began commanding everyone else to success or failure. There was no preconceived idea of who held authority, and there was no decision made about who should lead. Each person influenced the group dynamic, others’ positions, and therefore the final decision. However, the modes of influence were not just through speech, but also a number of other small queues that were initially difficult to be aware of from inside the task. Small changes in body language, unintentional demonstrations, and the tone with which something was said are a few ways other than speech. It was also clear from the activities that leadership is a two-way street. Necessarily, there are followers, or just other group members, and they have a role to fill as well. For example, there were cases where an idea was presented, but it ended up just being brushed over and not considered as potentially helpful in reaching the goal. This brushing over was not an intentional behavior from negative thoughts toward the idea, but rather a failure to focus or listen appropriately at that given time. Ideas that could have improved our efficiency at each task ended up being overlooked, so there is a responsibility on the part of everyone else to be attentive at all times.

            Today, we had also looked at a feedback model, which highlighted an effective way to both give and receive feedback. This model demonstrated how an effective leader deals with their own mistakes, as well as others’ mistakes. Of course, feedback does not only happen after a negative action, but can also be used to reinforce good behavior. The important part of it is that it is focused on the future rather than the moment of mistake. Even though feedback begins with identifying that moment, its real substance lies in the advice about he future. The other crucial part of this feedback model is that feedback is relaying information and nothing more. What was the situation, behavior, and impact of that behavior? In terms of dealing with one’s own mistakes, focusing on the facts is important to be able to function into the future. It is often the case that we blow our own mistakes out of proportion and create a crippling level of guilt to where we can’t be at all effective anymore. The feedback model invites one to step back and reevaluate their mistake, not as such a momentary terrible thing, but an opportunity to use it to grow into the future.