Sustaining Leadership

Goal: Learn how to use good leadership practices in extremely stressful situations

In most group or teams, it is rare in which there are no times of distress or chaos. More likely, groups are going to be faced with difficult decisions when the team is split in half. During my LeaderShape experience, I was given an opportunity to work and improve my skills on this attribute. During a break-out activity, the members of our team became divided and personally invested in their beliefs. Contrary to what I thought, I found myself becoming the emergent group moderator/leader and mending the different stances.

Throughout many of my leadership positions around campus and outside of the Illinois campus, I have seen organizations get into difficult situations with no easy or clear way out of the mess. The method that I have found to be effective in working our way forward is by stopping and identifying what exactly the core problem is that we are facing. At times, the “surface problem” can be deceiving and not represent what the real problem is in a team. This confusion and lack of clear definition is what significantly contributes to the stress of a situation. By reviewing what has been said and considering everyone’s perspective, it is much easier to identify what issue needs to be solved.

Thanks to the activity and whole experience during LeaderShape, I was able to acquire this prospective on how the problems can be hidden within different “frames”. Also, LeaderShape helped me better understand myself and the tendencies I must be aware of. Knowing ahead of time how I am likely to react to a stressful situation can help me prepare and practice handling myself. Certainly the phrase “good leadership practices” is relative, but it boils down to the concept of ethical leadership, in my opinion. LeaderShape is a great way to be polished as an individual and I again strongly recommend anyone with the opportunity to attend.