The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

RLF Kickoff - Facilitative Leadership: Blending Individual Styles to Achieve Common Goals

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Sadhana set the tone for the inaugural 2012-2013 RLF session with a a clever way to think about both management and leadership: “Management is about doing things right. Leadership is about doing the right thing.” After briefly discussing the distinction in groups, the Fellows insightfully concluded that the difference between management and leadership is not always clear, but that both are necessary in an organization. Fellow Zack Doherty then introduced SEAD director Jay Davis ’90, who led the night’s session on facilitative leadership, and detailing ways of blending individual styles to achieve common goals.

Davis began his session by asking fellows to share a great leadership quality that they value, which included everything from good listening skills to compassion. Afterwards, the group completed an exercise in understanding preferences in group work, similar to the Myers-Briggs test. While at first glance these categories seemed to pigeonhole people into labels, the Fellows soon realized how these labels can be expertly deployed as vocabulary to distance themselves from the group dynamic. This activity was not only fun, but was also eye-opening for the Fellows as they discussed the strengths and weaknesses of their own group work styles.

The session concluded with a series of tips from Davis that including one that left many Fellows thinking: “The most effective group is one in which tasks get accomplished without sacrificing the relationships within.”

- Connie Shang '13

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