What is Leadership?
(Year 4, Week 29)
A huge topic in the Discovery studio as of late has been focused around leadership.
What is leadership?
Who is a good leader?
What is the definition of ‘good’ in terms of leadership?
In the Discovery studio, there are a million moments of give and take. Some heroes step up when the going gets tough while some take a backset, observing quietly. Some heroes don’t like to be led at all, which creates a domino affect until deep discussions take place about what they want their studio to look like.
On Monday morning the heroes watched a Ted Talk centered around being an empathetic and curious leader. They listened to how the research shows that a strong and good leader, defined by employees, is someone who is, “curious, empathetic and doesn’t rule with an iron fist.” This led to a disccsuion about what that looks like in their studio.
The question was asked;
“What do you believe makes a good leader?”
While leadership in the movies often looks like a superhero coming to save the day, the heroes didn’t agree that that was the only type. Most of them raised their hands and said that they believed a leader, first and foremost should lead with empathy. They chatted and even did a human knot experiment to dive deeper into understanding how communication in leadership works. They talked about why sometimes in the studio, they don’t want to lean into one another because they view the person holding them accountable as being harsh.
“Why would I want to be hold accountable to someone who is demanding I do what they do? People can do things in different ways.”
Later on in the week. The heroes presented to the guide that they wanted to do role play scenarios that represent good leadership. They asked if they could do some research on leadership scenarios and practice with one another. In hopes that they can continue to grow on their journey and learn to lead with empathy before anger.
Emergency Town Hall
One of the heroes walked into the studio one morning bright eyed and ready to learn, only to be shocked into action five minutes after arriving. He ran over to the guide and said;
“We need to do something! The collaboration room is trashed!”
The guide responded;
“What tools do you have at your disposal to take control of the situation?”
“I can have an emergency town hall launch!”
When the clock struck 8:30am all of the heroes were a little shocked to not see the guide, but a fellow hero. He proceeded to bring up the collaboration room. Some of the heroes were not happy about it. They felt that it was a studio maintenance job, while others were dead set of it being a personal maintenance job. A back and forth ensued, with the discussion leader holding a firm line when people tried to shout over one another. After a lot of back and forth the heroes settled on an agreement. They would all clean the collaboration room and issue a guardrail violation anytime they saw someone leave out items.
Not all heroes were happy about having to clean. But, in the Discovery studio, majority vote wins. Two heroes were very unhappy and approached the guide. They brought of their points of view and why they felt it was unfair. The guide listened and asked if they wanted to bring it up to their fellow heroes. After a few minutes of talking and thinking, one of the heroes said,
“I think I just need to calm down. Sometimes I get worked up about stuff and I don’t really think before I speak.”
Both heroes turned around, grabbed some trash bags and got to work. Even laughing while throwing some of their own items away. Sometimes it is so difficult to feel you’re being asked to do something you didn’t participate in damaging or leaving a mess. Yet, in the end, the studio is a community, a tribe, a place where helping hands are always needed.
The heroes were challenged with preparing a customer pitch. This pitch was to be created to represent how they were going to talk to their customers come the Children’s Business Fair. Some of the heroes were a little weary of what that was going to look like;
“Do I need to speak in front of people?”
“Do I have to have something memorized?”
“What if a fumble my words?”
Speaking in front of others isn’t easy. Speaking in front of strangers is hard. Speaking in front of strangers who you are trying to sell to, might be the most difficult of all difficulties. The heroes worked on setting up their booths in the studio, quickly realizing they didn’t have all the marketing items that they needed. It was a rush to the printer.
After things settled, the heroes were then instructed to pretend they were talking to an interested customer, the kicker was, they were being filmed. The reason for being filmed was for them to watch themselves and give themselves feedback.
The heroes ended up being excited about giving themselves feedback, with one hero saying,
“We always give each other feedback but it’s gonna be so cool to actually watch myself on a video and be my own critic!”
They discussed during the week what it was they needed to look for. Do they need to speak with more confidence? Do they need to talk about their pricing? Should they stand up straighter? In the end, the heroes did not finalize their critiques but they did get close. On Monday they will have more time to finalize before they watch their videos and give themselves warm-cool-warm feedback.
On Thursday, the girls in the Discovery studio had a movie party. They won this special party because of a contest that they competed in against the boys. Everything was running smoothly until the boys came inside after free time. The girls came out of the movie room to see the studio was a mess.
Part of their promises to one another is to pick up the studio before they go outside. It hadn’t been done. The girls were upset that the boys broke their promise. They ran into the room the boys were in and demanded that they get up and clean. Saying they were being disrespectful. This did not go over well with the boys. They felt attacked and became very upset.
This led to a studio-wide conflict resolution. The guide asked, “how is everyone feeling?”
They vented, they talked and they gave their sides. It went from anger, to sadness and then resolved into total empathy for one another. This doesn’t mean people didn’t have hurt feelings. There were still hurt feelings but it turns out the heroes were able to see both sides:
- Girls were mad the boys broke their promise.
- Boys were mad the girls confronted them in an angry manner.
The girls decided that they needed to apologize for how they acted and gave the boys a “present,” which was: freedom to use the soaring room all day on Friday. The heroes all agreed that it’s okay to have conflict because without it they would never see both sides to a situation. While tough, there sure were a lot of smiles come Friday.
In town hall, the heroes had quite a few pitches. One topic in the forefront was about rollerblades but in reality, it was much deeper than that. A hero brought up the fact that many heroes felt left out because they didn’t have rollerblades. They brought up how it is important that nobody should feel left out and really wanted to make a statement in terms of how people are treated that might not have access to the same items.
The conversation ended quickly with people saying,
“yeah yeah we get it.”
Then free time rolled around. When the guide walked outside she saw something pretty magical. Some of the heroes who brought rollerblades could be seen sharing them with other heroes. Letting them take turns and holding their hands for the ones who were just beginning. The conversation at town hall didn’t really seem very deep and it didn’t seem like many heroes were interested, but that just goes to show what heroes and people in general pick up from conversations. While it might not seem like it matters in the moment, it comes back to matter deeply.
A huge topic in the Discovery studio as of late has been focused around leadership. What is leadership? Who is a good leader? What is the definition of ‘good’ in terms of leadership? The heroes had a deep discussion about what leadership is and even better, what the actions of a leader looks like. During the week, the heroes took control over their cleanliness in the collaboration room. They set brand new guardrails and deep cleaned the area, throwing away huge trash bags and taking a look in the mirror at themselves and decided how they can move forward in a cleaner environment. The heroes were challenged this week with preparing a customer pitch. This pitch was to be created to represent how they were going to talk to their customers come the Children’s Business Fair. They spent a few days practicing, writing and being filmed! The heroes had a big studio-wide conflict resolution to resolve an issue of miscommunication. While difficult at first, most of the heroes walked away feeling heard and understood. Friday ended with the heroes reaching out and being kind. Letting one another use their rollerblades and teaching them how to go down the slipper slope outside!