Leadership Development 1
1) Define consensus and collaboration in your own words, give an example of how each can be applied in a grove setting, and explain which you prefer and why. (min. 250 words)
1) majority of opinion;
2) general agree or concord; harmony
1) the action of working with someone to produce or create something.
2) traitorous cooperation with an enemy.
Consensus is when, in a group setting, all the members of the group come together to make a decision on a specific issue, action, or situation. While consensus doesn’t have to be unanimous (though it can be) it is often the result of common thought and compromise. The connotation of consensus implies that while not everyone may agree on all points unequivocally, they are in general agreement with and can accept the decision. Consensus can be used in a grove setting where the group is brainstorming ideas for new projects, since that is a situation where ideas and issues can be brought up early on, so as to not interfere with the decision making process too much. We use consensus when we write the new stanza for our grove poem each year. Everyone can contribute new ideas, and then we mix them until everyone agrees. Poetry by committee is entertaining to the say the least, and somewhat exemplifies why I prefer collaboration to consensus. Consensus takes a long time, involves more compromise than is necessarily good, can be hung up by a single person who can’t or won’t agree to the compromises, an can leave less direct individuals feeling like their opinion and voice wasn’t heard.
Collaboration is when a small group comes together, often guided by a lead member, to create something or solve a problem that has arisen. It involves taking input from many sources and encouraging creativity and new ideas. It is most often goal driven, and the teams involved in collaboration may change based on what needs to be done. A grove can use collaboration when planning rituals. We often use the system of ritual teams, where we have a Druid-in-Charge (laity), a Priest-in-Charge, and 2-3 supporting ritual team members. This ritual team plans, writes, and assigns out parts for each of our high day rituals. I prefer collaboration to consensus because it allows a small group to come together to focus on tackling a specific project. There are less personalities involved, making the process smoother, and because the focus is more often on solving a problem, or entertaining multiple creative ideas in order to find a good outcome, rather than on finding something everyone can agree to, there is less hurt on a personal level.
2) Describe the following traits of leadership. Describe the types which best fit you. (minimum 100 words for each trait, and 100 words for the self-description)
There are Four Traits of leadership, with each trait divided into two opposing preferences. These preferences are expressed on a continuum, with most people falling somewhere between the two extremes.
The Influencing Trait ranges from Indirect to Direct, and qualifies how you express thoughts, present ideas, and assert yourself. It has to do with communication. It is not a measure of how influential someone is, but refers how they prefer to go about influencing others. The Influencing Trait does not measure assertiveness, power, or self-confidence (Handley “Training” 17-8).
a) Direct – A direct style of influencing involves straightforward talk and body language. The direct individual is willing to debate ideas, is confident and self-assured, and tends to tell people what to do, rather than ask them. They are bold, and will say exactly what they mean without dancing around the topic. A direct individual is good at taking charge, especially in situations that need a clear direction or someone to take point on decision-making. They are good at getting issues out in the open, especially issues that other more indirect individuals may feel more hesitant abut broaching. They are good at encouraging frank discussion of issues, and encourage all participants to lay all their cards on the table. Direct individuals need to be conscious of how blunt they are being, as well as how much air time they are using. Are they allowing other more indirect individuals openings and opportunities to talk, engage in discussions, and be heard? (Handley “Training”26-34)
b) Indirect – An indirect style of influence involves more diplomacy than a direct style of influence. The indirect individual is more likely to be intimately aware of how their word choice, phrasing, and timing will effect their communication and ability to influence someone to their way of thinking. They are tactful, modest, and approachable people, often open to negotiation and hearing multiple sides of an issue before nudging the conversation in the direction they want to see it going. Indirect individuals use a supportive approach, guiding conversation so that others think ideas are theirs, and then supporting them in making that idea reality. They are likely to present their ideas in an unassuming, often Socratic, manner. They will ask for tasks to be done rather than telling people to do them. They are good at facilitating discussion and mediating conflicts. Indirect individuals need to be conscious of their unassuming nature and diplomacy to be sure they don’t drift into the realm of manipulation. They should also be aware that their gentle approach may be mistaken for a lack of confidence in their opinions, and sometimes not worthy of consideration because of that (Handley “Training”18-25).
The Responding Trait ranges from Reserved to Outgoing, and qualifies how you approach and respond to others, particularly groups. In other personality tests this is the same scale that measures introversion and extroversion. (Handley “Training” 35).
c) Reserved -A reserved style of responding describes an individual who prefers deep one-on-one discussions and prefers to have the time to thoroughly think out their responses to people before voicing an opinion. They tend to be quiet in large groups, but very engaged in small groups. They recharge from stress by taking time for themselves. In addition to their style of verbally communicating, they also tend to have reserved body language, minimized facial expressions, and use few gestures. This doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling emotions, but rather that they don’t tend to show those emotions publicly. Reserved individuals often do not share a lot about themselves, and may take a long time to build a trusting relationship with and get to know. One thing that is important to note is that the reserved trait is not the same as shyness or lack of self-esteem. A reserved individual just doesn’t talk when they don’t feel like talking, and tends to abhor small talk (Handley “Training” 35-42).
d) Outgoing – An outgoing style of responding describes an individual who on other personality scales is often referred to as “extroverted.” They tend to be talkative and enjoy group settings. When working through issues and problems, they are far more likely to talk out the issue, rather than think it over by themselves in order to clarify how they feel. They are more likely to verbally process information. They recharge from stress by finding like-minded people to be around, discuss their stresses with, and generally socialize and connect with people. Outgoing individuals are open and expressive, and the often use large gestures when communicating. They stay in contact with friends, family, and acquaintances easily and frequently, and are good at making others feel at ease around them (Handley “Training” 43-48).
The Pacing Trait ranges from Urgent to Steady, and qualifies the speed at which you make decisions and take action. It has to do with how an individual goes about their tasks. It is not a measure of energy level, soundness of decision-making skills, or productivity. To judge those qualities it is more useful to look at how dedicated and motivated an individual is (Handley “Training” 49-50).
e) Urgent -An urgent style of pacing describes an individual who is able to make quick decision by considering only the most important information. Too many choices and alternative options don’t bog them down because they prioritize importance well. They are able to act quickly and easily adapt to change. Urgent individuals do well in leadership roles that have many short-term projects. They are good at jumping at opportunities as they arise and working with many projects at the same time. They can move an organization quickly towards a goal. Because they are quick to react, they do need to be aware of how their emotions and frustration effect their communication, as they are often described as having short fuses (Handley “Training” 50-56).
f) Steady -A steady style of pacing describes an individual who is persistent, deliberate, and loyal. They are not slow, but rather carefully consider as many options as possible before making a decision, and are not impulsive. They would rather be sure that all research has been done well, and are willing to wait for other options to open up, rather than jump to a hasty conclusion. Steady individual have an excellent long view, and are good at seeing the bigger picture and how cascading decisions may play out down the road. They do well with long-term projects that require careful research, and more easily overcome boredom associated with drawn out tasks. They have long fuses, and are slow to get emotional and frustrated about situations, but also often have long memories when they do reach a breaking point. They often appear easy going, calm, and amiable (Handley “Training” 57-64).
The Organizing Trait ranges from Unstructured to Precise, and how you structure time, organize tasks, and handle details. It has a lot to do with task achievement and how details for completing those tasks are managed. It is not a measure of performance, results, or quality, which are better predicted by intelligence, experience, and motivation (Handley “Training” 65).
g) Unstructured – An unstructured style of organizing describes an individual who prefers flexibility, diving straight into projects and tasks, and is focused on the outcome rather than the process. They are good at coping with rapidly changing environments and are creative at finding new and different solutions to projects. They often will let little tasks pile up, but are good at taking care of emergency things right away. They are also good sources for creative thinking, and can function well in disorganized environments. They prefer to be given a task and then turned loose to solve it. As leaders, they trust their team to get the job done, and will just expect the results at the end. Unstructured individuals need to be aware when a task and process has been well researched and if it would be better to follow the set guidelines to save themselves trouble, or if something is new and different, and their approach will be a good opportunity to discover new ways to do things (Handley “Training” 65-72).
h) Precise -A precise style of organizing describes an individual who prefers to have a schedule and structure to how they manage time, tasks, and details. They are timely in their work and feedback, and seek to carefully schedule and plan. They have a method for each thing that needs to be done, and systems in place to make them more efficient in their work. Precise individuals see organization as a priority because it will allow everything else to flow smoothly. The seek order in their tasks and situations, and prefer predictability to change. They seek to improve systems and policies to benefit organizations as a whole (Handley “Training” 73-79).
Self-Description – I lean heavily toward being and steady and structured individual no matter what the situation is. Interestingly, in the professional world I tend towards being direct and reserved, but in my personal life I am the reverse of that, tending to be indirect and outgoing. These results are from taking the insight inventory for myself, and I certainly have a spectrum of traits. Within ADF I seem to be steady, structured, indirect, and then I flex pretty easily between reserved and outgoing as needed by the situation, though I am more frequently reserved in my leadership capacity within the organization (Handley “Interpretive”).
All of this together means that my strengths as a leader are my ability: to facilitate discussions without letting my personal thoughts and emotions get involved; to carefully phrase comments to present ideas in a non-conflicting manner; to do a lot of listening and let others talk more than me; to hold information confidential; to make others feel important and valued; to understand and empathize with the variety of factors that may be influencing peoples lives; to keep an open mind to alternative methods and solutions; to bring order and structure to disorganized or chaotic situations; and to see and establish ways to improve systems and policies that help make work flow more smoothly (Handley “Training” 2-5).
3) Define the seven primary skills of leadership.
These seven primary skills of leadership are based on the McKinsey 7S Model. They are divided into Hard and Soft skills. The hard skills are Strategy, Structure, and Systems, and are typically easier to define and management can directly influence them. The soft skills are Shared Values, Strengths/Skills, Style, and Staff, and are less tangible and more influenced by culture within the organization. The idea is that for an organization to perform well, these elements need to be aligned and will reinforce each other (Mind Tools).
Strategy – This is the plan to move the organization forward. In ADF it includes the plan to keep us a viable public neo-pagan religion, as far as how we provide training, run our business, and gain and retain our members.
Structure – This is the way the organization is structured on all levels; the hierarchy or who reports to whom.
Systems – These are the standard operating procedures for the organization. The things in place to keep tasks running smoothly.
Shared Values – These are the core values of the organization as seen in the work ethic and culture of the organization. Within ADF, this can be seen in our Vision and Mission Statement, as well as how various members interact with the subgroups and organization as a whole.
Strengths/Skills – These are the skills and competencies of each individual person within the organization. Within ADF, we have a huge variety of skilled individuals who all bring something to contribute to the table.
Style – This refers to the style of leadership within the organization. This varies within ADF depending on who the leader is in each specific role.
Staff – This refers to the people within the organization and the general skill sets they all have. For ADF, this can refer to each individual member and how their presence strengthens us as an organization.
a) Identify the three skills that you are strongest in.
I think I am strongest in Strategy, Shared Values, and Strengths/Skills. I have ideas how to keep moving us forward as a religion, and work to implement them, especially on a local level, with my peers. I identify strongly with ADFs Shared Values as stated in our Mission and Vision statements, and work to align my personal work with those shared values. I think the greatest strength of our church is our individual members. Everyone has something to bring to the table, and we can grow stronger as an organization by using these skills and making sure all feel like valued and contributing members.
b) Identify the three you are the weakest in and explain how you plan to improve these skills (min. 400 words describing improvement outlined in section “b” of this question)
I think I could use the most improvement in Staff, Systems, and Style.
Because Staff refers to the people within an organization, and the general skill sets that they all have, I think that, although I am a people-person, this is someone that every one of us can continually improve on. I’ve been trying to make a point of making myself available to people who don’t have a local community. I spend time following and engaging in conversations with folks who I’m unfamiliar with, especially when they are seeking help, advice, or just other like-minded people practicing Druidry. I also do my best to make it to rituals at others groves, and to festivals, though I recognize that they are only a very small percentage of our membership, and so it must be coupled with distance communication with solitary and faraway members.
Because I believe our greatest strength as an organization is the people who are in it, I think it’s absolutely vital to continually get to know those people, and make sure that they have the opportunity to become familiar with me, and know that I’m someone they can reach out to at any point without fear of awkwardness or judgment. I love discussing Our Druidry with people, so I want continue to learn about the individuals of our membership: what their path is looking like, where they want to go, how to help them get there, what they’re carrying with them (skills, knowledge, burdens) on the journey. I’m an extrovert most of the time, but prefer in depth one on one conversations, so in order to improve this particular Leadership Skill I need to be cognizant of my inclination to want to continue long in depth conversations with people I know, and be able and willing to step outside that comfort zone and make myself available to others.
As far as improving Systems, I think there is a lot to be done as far as the organization itself is concerned to improve these, and I have ideas on how to help. I can improve this by continuing to follow my vocation and drive, and work on not sitting quietly, but instead taking a more active role in the changes that can and are happening. I see our study programs continuing to grow and evolve as we get more members, and more specialized knowledge. I see those study courses each having a rubric, both to help the student as they’re writing, and to help the reviewer as they are evaluating. Most of all, I see more active work happening as far as creation of useful materials for members, especially solitaries. The more practical and supplemental help we can provide for those walking the path of Our Druidry, like prayers, ritual scripts, meditations, tools, and other ideas, the better. The focus here is on contributing more towards improving the Systems that allow each individual member to more fully and accessibly experience Our Druidry.
Because I tend to be rather quiet (indirect and reserved) in many situations within ADF, in order to improve my leadership Style, what I need to work on most here is navigating when to flex that style. I need to work on flexing from indirect to direct so that my voice gets heard and taken seriously amongst all the other loud, forceful, and passionate voices. I also need to work on allowing my outgoing side to take precedence more often in non-in-person scenarios. It isn’t often a problem when I am with other people and conversing in-person. However, since due to the small and spread out nature of our organization, online and other distance communications are more regularly used, and in those situations I tend towards reserved. So working on being more outgoing when communicating over distance is another area of focused improvement for this.
4) Define the stages of burnout. Identify how you can utilize the strengths and skills of team members to avoid burnout in yourself and others. (minimum 200 words)
People who are involved in helping professions, like teaching, social work, medicine, and clergy work, face significantly higher risks for burnout. Often this is because they got into those fields of work because they are very passionate. However, the very fact that they care deeply, were ‘on fire’, puts them at greater risk for burnout (Hatfield).
Burnout is defined as “a debilitating psychological condition brought about by unrelieved work stress, resulting in:
- Depleted energy and emotional exhaustion
- Lowered resistance to illness
- Increased depersonalization in interpersonal relationships
- Increased dissatisfaction and pessimism
- Increased absenteeism and work inefficiency” (Hatfield)
There are many different ways to divide up the stages of Burnout, however Hatfield and Gray, using the work of Veninga and Spradley, break burnout into the following five stages:
Stage 1: Honeymoon – The honeymoon stage is the baseline stage. This is where you have high job satisfaction, and even though there are stresses in the job, you develop coping strategies to manage them.
Stage 2: Balancing Act – In this stage you begin to notice that some days are better than others at your job, and how you’re dealing with the stresses varies day to day. There is a noticeable increase in job dissatisfaction, work inefficiency, fatigue and trouble sleeping, and engaging in various escapist activities.
Stage 3: Chronic Symptoms – In this stage, some of the same things that became noticeable in the Balancing Act Stage intensify, including chronic exhaustion, physical illness, and anger and/or depression.
Stage 4: Crisis – At this point, the symptoms from the previous two stages as they relate to your work life become critical and spread even further into all aspects of your life. The physical symptoms of burnout intensify or increase in number, you’re constantly obsessing over the frustrations with your job, you’re pessimistic and full of self-doubt, and you seek ways to just get out.
Stage 5: Enmeshment – In the enmeshment stage, the symptoms of severe burnout are so entangled in your life that you’re more likely to be diagnosed as having some other physical or mental ailment, than you are to be labeled as a burnout case (Hatfield).
Burnout is a serious problem in organizations, and especially in those organizations that are involved in the business of helping people. According to Maslach and Leiter, burnout occurs when there are mismatches between the nature of the job and the nature of the person doing the job (Maslach 9). Often the value of the worker, the human, comes far behind the value of the job itself, especially when money is involved. These mismatches happen when we feel overloaded, when we lack control over what we do, when we are not rewarded for our work, when we’re experiencing a breakdown in community, when we aren’t treated fairly, and when we’re dealing with conflicting values. Burnout is an erosion of the soul, as we lose value, dignity, spirit, and will, and the further it goes, the more difficult it is to recover from. People who are burned out become exhausted, cynical, and ineffective (Maslach 9-17).
Dealing with and preventing burnout is a team effort. Because burnout is a problem with the social environment of the job, there needs to be a shift in culture to help prevent and treat burnout. Burnout says a lot about the conditions that workers are in, and it is not the individual that needs to change, but rather the organization as a whole (Maslach 18-21). The steps to navigate the process often start with one person sharing their dissatisfaction and gathering a group together to work on coming up with ways to solve burnout factors. They then connect those proposed solutions to the organization as a whole and work to affect the related mismatches that are causing burnout. And, because things in the work keep changing, the outcome of this process remains a process, continuing to work towards reducing the burnout factors for those in the organization (Maslach 79-83).
If you are experiencing burnout, you can lean on your team members for support in dealing with the job stressors when you’re in the early stages of burnout, but in order to mitigate the underlying problem, and not just the symptoms, a team effort is needed. It can start with you as an individual, but will need to progress with the support of a team, and the organization as a whole, to continue to help manage the reasons burnout is occurring.
5) Using the information you have learned in this course, what do you feel makes a person an effective leader in ADF? (min. 200 words)
When I think of leadership, the image that is in the forefront of my mind is the one where the leader is reaching down to pull others up the mountain. I think, above anything else, our job as leaders is ensure that we have a healthy community. There are many other things that go into it, of course, but you can’t be a leader of none. Leadership is service, especially in the context of an ADF Priest.
Some of the qualities and skills that go into being a good leader are a strong focus on introspection and self-reflection, being aware of and knowledgeable about your community and members, and assuming positive intent.
When talking about introspection and self-reflection begin integral to leadership, there are many reasons why. When we work understand ourselves, we are able to not only engage in self-care, but are also better able to understand others. Self-reflection is important when dealing with potential burnout in yourself. You need to know when you’ve been pushing yourself too hard, and allow yourself a time out to kindle your own flame. You must keep your own flame bright, or you cannot show others it’s light.
You need self-reflection as well because you need to be aware that your words and your actions have weight, and you must be careful how you use that weight and influence. If others view you as a leader, then they are more likely to ascribe more weight to your words.
Introspection and self-reflection also allow you to continue to expand your worldview, and reach an understanding with multiple viewpoints. Be engaging in introspection, you can allow your views to continually change as needed to be adaptable to the situations at hand. You are better equipped to remain nonjudgmental in the face of adversity. You are more able to be as Teutates, the Gentle Gardener and Tender of the Tribe, and help new, innovative, and strong ideas to blossom and grow.
As a leader, you must be aware or your staff and their skill sets. This is a two-fold need for leaders. Not only does it allow you to know whom you can lean on for support, especially if you are pushing up against burnout, but it also means that you know the potential of the future. You will know who, and how, to build up and encourage those skilled individuals towards leadership.
Last, but certainly not least, it is important for leaders to assume positive intent, not nefarious motivations, in others. Oftentimes leaders are so passionate about their work that they get caught up in the details of the process, and can sometimes lose sight of the vision, of the bigger picture. It is vitally important for the health of the team and the larger community that the leader assumes we are all working towards the same bright vision, and though we may have different ideas on how to achieve it, each person is honestly doing their best.
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