Leadership From Within: Part II

The second session of D-LAB was also the second part of Leadership From Within, where participants focused on their individual values and how they influenced everyday actions, leadership roles, and future goals.

Beginning with an icebreaker that asked participants to name their role model and what values they associated the role model with, students discussed various figures in their lives, including family members, celebrities, government officials, and historical figures. Values mentioned included the more abstract, such as integrity and courage, rather than the more tangible, such as health, appearance, or aesthetic.

Prior to the session, participants had been asked to choose ten most prioritized values and their ten least prioritized values from a sheet of forty characteristics and following the icebreaker, the conversation moved to a discussion of these choices and why students picked certain values. It was noted that knowing the specific “color” of one’s personality was an influence on choosing values, as well as that choosing negative values was more difficult than choosing positive ones.

Participants were then asked to think about a time when they had been forced to act in opposition to their values. Discussion turned to instances such as procrastination, which came into conflict with such values as competition, ambition, and self-control. Participants also discussed how some group members had opposite rankings of values, and discussed whether this polarity was surprising or predicted based on personality.

Participants were asked to write out schedules of their weekend activities, and then asked which values they saw playing a role in their schedule. They were also asked which values became priorities in their schedule. Friendship was noted as an important value for the social activities of the weekend. Group members also pointed out that there had been instances of failing to act out their values, especially in the case of procrastination.

Participants were also asked if they felt that they had been working towards their personal goals, and discussion turned to how values could be applied not only in pursuing such goals, but also setting them to be aligned with what each individual thought to be most important.

Facilitators read aloud a quote by Barbara De Angelis on integrity: “Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.”

Group discussion of the meaning of this quote included whether or not participants believed the quote to be correct in its interpretation of integrity, whether they themselves had different meanings to the word, and if the quote had changed their perspective of the value. Many members said that they disagreed with the quote, or believed that it could be altered to be a broader, more encompassing interpretation. The session concluded with an assignment to have a peer evaluate the values that they felt were most characteristic of the participant.

Submitted by Joyce Yegene Lee '19, D-LAB participant