Last Friday and Saturday I participated in a Leadership training workshop. Although it was meant to be relevant to us and our leadership desires, we were really just participating in a pilot program. This workshop and the assessment prior are in the planning stages of being a mandatory requirement for next year's class.
This experience started in late November. An email went out to the entire student body asking for volunteers to participate in this leadership assessment test. I signed up. I spent four and a half hours in front of a computer terminal going through a roleplay experience where I had to write emails, send memos, re-arrange priorities and watch videos - it wasn't your typical questionnaire. Right before the January mini started, our results were provided to us and the opportunity to sit in a four hour meeting to review and discuss what the results meant. Unfortunately, I had interviews both days so I wasn't able to make it - but from what I heard, it wasn't all that useful.
But by participating in this assessment, we were given the opportunity to also participate in a Leadership workshop held by the Carnegie Bosch Institute. I didn't know anything about CBI until I came to the session. It is an institute housed at Tepper that is sponsored by Bosch, the German manufacturer (as a side note; Bosch, I've been told, is instrumental in setting up the German study abroad program for certain second years in their last mini). It's primarily aimed at cross-cultural leadership and executive training.
All in all, it wasn't a bad exercise. I had a few A-Ha moments, but I don't think it was as a result of the workshop information but more how I interacted with my team (we were put in teams for exercises that happened throughout the day). A number of the concepts we had already been exposed to in Managing Organizations, our first OB course. The emphasis on nationality seemed like it was also missing out on gender and age differences too.
My two walkaways were pretty significant and I'm finding I'm having to apply it now. The first one was related to time management. We may think we have all the time in the world, but too much time is spent on debate, assessment, gaining input and buy-in, with not enough dedicated to actually completing the task (my pro-bono consulting team is like this right now). The second has a direct consequence on the first: I like to step up and lead a team. Facilitate. Direct. Back in my undergraduate program, I took some sort of personality assessment and discovered that I was a task-based leader (the other leader type was relationship-based leader; all the other types were followers). I found that I would step up and start directing people, encouraging input, but then about halfway through the session I would suddenly step back and let others come to the front.
I received feedback from my teammembers that said that I shouldn't disengage. I wondered why I did and realised that it was a fear of being perceived by my teammates as being bossy and dictatorial. I've never been told that, but due to events that happened in my formative years after graduation, I've become very conscientious of how others may perceive me as and am afraid of being perceived as overbearing. A lack of confidence in some manner of speaking.
Teams without leaders flounder. I learned that I need to not worry about what other people may think of me, because chances are they are welcome that there is someone shouldering the responsibility of keeping the group ontrack.