- 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)
- majority of opinion: The consensus of the group was that they should meet twice a month.
- general agreement or concord; harmony (consensus).
Consensus is the process of coming to a mutually agreeable agreement between everyone in a group. In theory, this is a great idea as it will mean that everyone agrees to the same proposal. The downside though is that the process of coming to a consensus can often dilute the original proposal. This is especially true if the goal is a unanimous consensus.
In practice, consensus is only a viable option when you are dealing with a small group of people. It is easier to get a half dozen or less people to agree to one thing than it is to get 100 people to. The larger the group, the more likely it is for there to be one or multiple persons who don’t agree to the proposal, and as a result the proposal is either changed or diluted to appease them, or their opinion is not taken into account and they feel left out or rejected.
In a grove setting, this works best when it’s a small grove. You want to make everyone happy, and make everyone feel like they are part of the whole and a valuable asset to the group. Consensus will do that. The other place this works well is when there is a committee or a small board that is in charge. Consensus building within that small group will make it easier for the group to support and explain whatever their decisions are.
1.To work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort.
2.To cooperate treasonably, as with an enemy occupation force in one's country (collaboration).
Collaboration is more of a team effort situation. There is a defined goal from the outset, and people are working together on various parts of the goal that when all put together will reach the goal. This is a very common method in the scientific community where group A does part of the work, and group B follows up on that work.
Collaboration works best when there is some kind of leadership directing it. This is by far the best way to do things in a large group. A centralized leadership lays out what needs to be done, often by using consensus to determine what needs to be done, and assigns people or groups of people to work on different parts to get that done. In a grove setting, running a ritual or a festival can both be exercises in collaboration. Using rituals as an example, it can be seen as person A will bring X, person B will bring Y, person C will reserve the space, person D will write the liturgy, etc.
- Describe the following traits of leadership a) Direct, b) Indirect, c) Reserved, d) Outgoing, e) Urgent, f) Steady, g) Unstructured, h) Precise. Describe the types which best fit you. (minimum 100 words for each trait, and 100 words for the self-description)
These traits are part of the “Insight 360° Inventory” personality profile test system (Insight Institute) (PKAL).
Direct leaders appear to be the most self confident ones. They will speak openly and honestly. They will also appear strong by asserting their will on whomever they are leading. They tend to tell you to do something, and not ask. It is made absolutely clear that they are in charge, and you are going to do things their way.
The advantage of this kind of leadership is that everyone knows what is expected of them. The disadvantage is that it can be very off putting for some people to be told to do something. They also tend to not appear to listen to suggestions as they seem to know what is the best to do.
Indirect leaders are the ones that tend to use their charisma to get the job done. They will work to make people feel like they are valuable and included in the process. This can be done by asking instead of telling. They often present a general idea and guide someone to the same conclusion that they had, making them feel like it was their idea. Overall, they come across as the most diplomatic leaders.
The advantage of this kind of leadership is that they make people feel like they are wanted and needed. They make them feel valued. A downfall of this kind of leadership though is that the leader can be seen as actually not doing the leading, or working to make everyone happy instead of getting the task done.
Reserved leaders are the quiet loners of the leadership world. They tend to keep to themselves. They work best one on one or alone. They often are the ones listening, not talking. It’s tough for people to read them and know what they truly are thinking.
The advantage of a reserved leader is that they appear to listen and take what they hear into account. They take their time to make decisions, and the decisions are often well thought out. The disadvantage of this kind of leader is that they people who work for them have a hard time knowing what is going to happen, and cannot read the person well. This can lead to some things coming as a surprise.
Outgoing leaders are the very visible and vocal leaders. These are the people who are comfortable in large groups, and talking to anyone and everyone. They are ones that will talk through any issues that arise and will through the use of their words make everyone feel like they contributed and are in agreement.
The advantage of this kind of leader is that they are visible, and they can easily make people feel wanted and involved. The biggest disadvantage is that they are often more talk than substance. They may talk a big game and get people on board, but the planning and details are lacking.
Urgent leaders are the ones that work at a very quick pace. Everything is a priority, and it has to be done ASAP. If something comes up that requires a change in plans, they react quickly to take care of it. They tend to think on their feet.
The advantage of this kind of leader is that they will develop a plan to get things done quickly, and take actions to do it. They are highly suited for short term or urgent projects. The disadvantage is that they are high energy and often burn out. They also are not suited for long term projects. Those working for an urgent leader can also have issues with keeping up the pace the leader sets and will burn out quicker.
The steady leaders are the ones that work at a slow and steady pace. They will take time to listen to everything and make cautious decisions. These leaders are best suited for long term projects. They are the ones that will take a project from concept to completion no matter how long it takes.
The advantage of this kind of leader is that they will make careful decisions and long term planning to complete a project. Everyone working for them will know what they have to do, and will be given a reasonable timeline. The disadvantage of this kind of leader though is that they can often take what may seem like excessive time to make decisions, especially when things happen unexpectedly, much to the frustration of those working for them.
Unstructured leaders appear to be very haphazard. They often work without a firm plan. They can appear hectic and disorganized. They tend to jump in and start a project before they know all the details, and they often do things in unexpected or unorthodox ways.
The advantage of this kind of leader is that they are innovative and will find ways around most impasses that may pop up. The disadvantage is they appear disorganized and hectic. Working for this kind of leader can be very frustrating as you have no idea what the next thing they are going to ask you to do is.
A Precise leader is cool and calculating. These are the OCD type people that will often be seen as micromanagers. They lay their plans out well in advance in great detail, and everyone is clear as to what is expected.
The advantage of this kind of leader is that they are very predictable. Everyone knows what they have to do, and how they need to do it. The disadvantage of this kind of leader is that they can be seen as very inflexible. They often insist that you do it their way, even if you have a valid alternative way to do things. If something unexpected comes up, this can also be disturbing the this kind of leader. They also tend to become micromanagers, looking over the shoulder of the people working for them, which usually leads to the workers being self conscious and unhappy.
My personality traits tend to be more of the indirect, reserved, urgent and unstructured natures. I tend to be the one that tries to get people to be on board with a project, and will ask them to take part and give them some kind of ownership in the project. I also tend to be the quiet one that works best alone or in very small groups. I am by nature an introvert and this shines through in my leadership style. By being reserved though, I tend to think things through quickly, and then work on trying to get everyone on board with the general details.
Part of being reserved, I tend to also work in an urgent and unstructured fashion. I will tend to work on projects and try to get them completed as quickly as I can, and as efficiently as I can. This leads to me using unorthodox techniques or practices to get the job done. During the project this will often seem like I am working in a disorganized and unstructured way. It may make sense to me, but unless I take the time to articulate exactly what I am doing, often it baffles people looking at what I am doing.
- Define the seven primary skills of leadership (structure, strategy, staff, style, systems, shared values, strengths/skills).
These seven skills come from the “McKinsey 7S Framework” (MindTools.com) and is designed for corporate planning, not for individual leadership skills.
This is about how the organization is set up, internal hierarchies, and how people are to report and interact with each other.
This is best stated as the plan. This is how the group is going to go from where they are now, to where they want to be in the future.
Staff are the people themselves. This includes everyone in the organization, their strengths, and their weaknesses.
This is referring to question 2 above, what style of leadership is being used in the group.
This is the day to day happenings of the group. The procedures used, the activities done, etc. This is what is done to ultimately achieve the long term goal under Strategy.
These are the core values of the group. This is essentially the ethics of the group, and is shared and valued by all members of the group.
These are the actual skills and abilities of the members of the groups. This is what is used to comply with the systems in place to meet the ultimate strategy.
- Identify the three skills that you are strongest in.
My personal strengths are my skills, systems, and our shared values. I am confident in what skills I have and what I can do. I also am one that is good at looking at the overall picture and goal, and then come up with, or work within systems to achieve that goal. Look at the study program and roster web systems for an example. I also am firmly dedicated to the shared vision of the org, even if it may be through unorthodox methods.
- 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)
My personal weaknesses are strategic planning, staff management, and my leadership style. Strategy is a weakness because whenever a situation calls for long term planning, I prefer to just jump in and start, and figure things out as I go, without any real strategic planning being done. This works when dealing with one person, or a small group, but for a large organization, it is valuable to come up with a long term plan, and how to get there. I am working on this by trying to take a long term view. I am asking more questions, and getting more opinions so that any strategy I am involved with is truly a long term, well thought out plan.
With regards to staff, I often find myself assuming stuff about the staff, and their abilities. I tend to be one that doesn’t like to question people about what they can and cannot do, and often assume that if I can do it, they can do it. I am working on this by again asking more questions. I am trying to not assume but instead ask people if they are able to do whatever tasks they are being assigned. I also am starting to recognize limitations that they may have based off of past performance, and keeping that in mind if I have a task that needs to be done.
With regards to leadership style, I can always improve as a leader. I naturally want to be a reserved, quiet, in the background type of leader. While this may be good in some situations, it is also a hindrance. Being quiet and not asking many questions can come across as being a thoughtful leader. It can also lead to not finding out everything that you need to know, and working more from gut instinct and personal opinion instead of the best action. I also am one that will go out of my way to ask people to do things, and to try to share credit, or give them credit if possible. There are times though where you need to take the credit yourself, and you need to tell people to do things instead of asking. Trying to listen more, talk more, accepting credit, and being assertive are all things that I am working on with regards to leadership.
Overall, I need to work on listening to people more, asking more questions, and overcoming my introvert nature and make myself more visible and assertive when needed. I am working on this, and have been for a while, but this is still an area I need to improve on.
- 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)
Burnout and stress are often associated with each other. In reality though, they are completely different things. Stress is about to much, and burnout is about to little. A very good summary illustrating this was created by a Dr. Hart:
* Burnout is a defense characterized by disengagement.
* Stress is characterized by overengagement.
* In Burnout the emotions become blunted.
* In Stress the emotions become over-reactive.
* In Burnout the emotional damage is primary.
* In Stress the physical damage is primary.
* The exhaustion of Burnout affects motivation and drive.
* The exhaustion of Stress affects physical energy.
* Burnout produces demoralization.
* Stress produces disintegration.
* Burnout can best be understood as a loss of ideals and hope.
* Stress can best be understood as a loss of fuel and energy.
* The depression of Burnout is caused by the grief engendered by the loss of ideals and hope.
* The depression of Stress is produced by the body's need to protect itself and conserve energy.
* Burnout produces a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.
* Stress produces a sense of urgency and hyperactivity.
* Burnout produces paranoia, depersonalization and detachment.
* Stress produces panic, phobic, and anxiety-type disorders.
* Burnout may never kill you but your long life may not seem worth living.
* Stress may kill you prematurely, and you won't have enough time to finish what you started (Croucher).
It is important to recognize the stages of burnout so that we, or those that work with us, do not suffer from burnout. The stages of burnout are 1) Physical, Mental and Emotional Exhaustion, 2) Shame and Doubt, 3) Cynicism and Callousness, and 4) Failure, Helplessness and Crisis (Gorkin).
Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion is best thought of as running out of energy. You want to do the bare minimum outside of what is required. When you get home, you just crash and do as little as possible. Shame and doubt is where you start doubting yourself and the future. If you are asked to take on a new project, and you know you can do it, you hear an internal voice expressing doubt you can, and you are losing confidence in yourself. Cynicism and callousness is a change to your personality. You start to get cynical about life and people, and you start becoming better and hard to approach. This can be likened to you putting on armor to protect yourself. Finally, failure, helplessness and crisis is where you are so worn down that you now feel helpless, lacking control, and in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” type of situation (Gorkin).
According to Maslach, burnout is caused by Work Overload, Lack of Control, Lack of Reward, Lack of Community, Lack of Fairness, and Value Conflicts (Masalch and Leiter Chapter 3). If we can minimize these causes for ourselves, and those that work for us, that will go a long way to helping prevent burnout.
Work overload: we need to know the limits of how much we can do, and how much others can do. If there is too much work to be done by one person, it is easy to get overloaded, and start leading people down the burnout path.
Lack of Control: This is where you are told to do something, and to do it a certain way. The control over what and how to do things is out of your hands. This is common with a micro-managing boss. When there is no freedom to be creative and do things your own way, burnout becomes more likely.
Lack of Reward: We all like to get rewarded for our work, beyond the monetary rewards they may provide. When we are not getting recognition for a job well done, not getting praise or moral support for the work we are doing, we feel unappreciated, unrewarded, and this quickly leads us down the path of burnout.
Lack of Community: Some people work well in isolation. Most people though are social people, and when you are isolated and forced to work alone, the lack of community can wear one down. There is nobody to talk to, to complain to, nobody sharing your experiences. Isolation can also occur through conflict within a group where everyone gangs up on one person. This feeling of isolation will lead to burnout.
Lack of Fairness: If one person who appears to not be deserving is always getting rewarded, promoted, or special treatment overall while the rest of the people do not get this treatment, it leads to a high level of resentment towards the boss and that person, and also leads to the thoughts that no matter what they do, they will not get ahead. This kind of situation can lead to internal conflict. It also leads to the feelings of lack of value, and in the end, leads to burnout.
Value Conflicts: This is when someone is in a position where what they are requested to do conflicts with their own values and ethics. An internal conflict like this, especially when survival depends on it (only paying job as an example) can lead to apathy, lack of self respect, and ultimately burnout.
What can we do as leaders to prevent burnout? We should strive to minimize those six causes of burnout for ourselves, those we work with, and those that work for us. We need to learn to say no and not accept new tasks when we are already doing to much. Identifying our limits and sticking to them is very important. We need to let everyone be creative and do things their own way, as long as it still leads to the completion of the task. We should be encouraging to them and make suggestions of things to do, but we should not be micromanagers. We should never play favorites with anyone, or even let there be an appearance of playing favorites. If someone gets rewarded over everyone else, there should be some kind of explanation for it. We also should be quick to praise and slow to criticize. Community building is important. We should be as accommodating as possible and try to welcome and be friendly to everyone that we are involved with. When there are conflicts that arise though, we need to be quick and fair with the resolution of them though. Finally, we should not be asking anyone to do something that is against their values.
We also need to recognize when someone is going through burnout, as listed above. If we see someone is burning out, we need to help them get back to normal. This is best done by talking and working with them to find the underlying issues causing it. One thing that cannot be discounted is the value of taking time off. Everyone needs to take time for themselves (Croucher).
- Using the information you have learned in this course, what do you feel makes a person an effective leader in ADF? (min. 200 words)
ADF is a very diverse and a very geographically spread out group. Being an effective leader within ADF is very much about communication. We keep saying that ADF is not the lists. In reality though for the people that are not involved with groves (around 50% at last count), not able to festivals, and not able to socialize on a local level with others in ADF, the lists are ADF. As a result, everything that we do is done eventually through the e-lists. To be an effective leader in ADF, you need to be able to communicate clearly throughout the entire organization.
Of course, there is more to ADF than just the lists. As leaders, we need to espouse our shared values and vision for the group. We need to remember to praise people for their work whenever we can, and be supportive to the community. Fairness is also something we must display. We cannot show any kind of favoritism to one person, or group of people. Doing that will lead to resentment and eventual conflict. We were founded on the ideas of scholarship and being able to document your skills, we need to let that take precedence over our personal feelings.
We also need to work on ourselves. Going through assessments as to our strengths, weaknesses, and styles of leadership all help us understand ourselves. They also point out our weaknesses and where we need to work on ourselves.
Probably the one thing that has become clearer to me throughout working on this course is that one theme keeps coming up. We need to listen. We need to listen to ourselves and make sure we are not being conflicting. We need to listen to those who do work for us, or follow us. We need to know their strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately how they are feeling and reacting to what we are doing. If we stop listening, we’ll start turning people off, causing conflict, and/or driving people to burn out.
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Masalch, Christina and Michael P. Leiter. The Truth About Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do About It. Kindle Edition. San Francisco: Jossy-Bass, 1997.
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