What kind of a leader are you?-A A +A
Sunday, August 12, 2012
I OCCASIONALLY give team building activities to corporate institutions, NGO’s and schools. My modules vary depending on the specific needs of my clients. There is, however, an essential element embedded in all of my activities, i.e., pressure.
Pressure (either physical or psychological) is a very powerful tool for self-awareness and for building character. It can break the hardest rock or hardens soft clay in the same manner that it can crack a tough guy or toughen up a feeble person. Having that as a premise, I always simulate forms of pressure in all of my games and activities in varying degrees to test people and bring the best out of them.
A few months back, I facilitated a team building to a group of teachers in an exclusive school in Cebu. With our limited time, I squeezed in a two-day module into a one day activity. I was apprehensive at first but was later thankful I did so, the level of pressure and fun was doubled and so are the learnings.
With all the activities we had, I was quite struck with how differently the participants composed themselves under pressure. I had a game just to test them that. In this particular game, the level of difficulty was very high. I gave them a task which made them mentally and physically exhausted. Yet the groups were so determined to finish the task laid on them. I noticed there were a few teachers who at the start were taking the leadership role but when higher risks were at stake they suddenly left their posts and gave them to the others.
On the other hand, there were teachers who really surprised me because they were the quiet ones but when pressures came in, they stepped in to take the lead and risked being blamed had their group failed.
There were also others who were so engrossed to the goal of the game that in the process forgot to consider the human limitations of their co-players. One group was so careful that it took them like forever to make the next move while another group was a total opposite.
That day I saw three kinds of leaders; a carrot, an egg and a coffee bean.
1. A carrot leader -- a carrot is hard, but when placed in a boiling water, it slowly softens. A carrot leader would be that leader who at the start is so full of energy, very well directed, principled, grounded and firm. But when placed under a lot of pressure, he or she becomes soft and weak.
2. An egg leader -- an egg, on the other hand, is very fragile. It is very soft in the inside, but when placed under a boiling water, it hardens. An egg leader would be that person who looks so soft, who does not assert, who always adjusts with the rest of the people but when placed under pressure, slowly hardens and becomes hard to the point of insensitivity.
3. A coffee bean leader -- a coffee bean is neither very hard nor very soft but when placed under fire, it would surely emit its aroma. The coffee bean leader would be that person who handles pressure well. When placed on a difficult situation, this person emits his/her aroma and the best of him/her comes out. Such is the leader we need.
As for me, I would like to believe that I am an aspiring coffee bean.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 12, 2012.