We’ve all been there. Something happens and one of our members makes a poor decision – what I like to call an “oops moment.” As an organization leader we’re faced with the choices of holding someone accountable for their actions, maybe even a close friend. This is the situation you’ve been trained on. Or have you?
In the realm of student orgs, nothing sounds sexier than a position on Standards Board. A member having to hold everyone accountable for their actions? Sweet. Awesome. Sounds like nails on a chalkboard. Being president sounded a lot easier than being a member who had to have hard accountability conversations with members all the time. So that’s what I did, I became president.
I remember going to regional and national conferences as a student and coming back with so much energy and ideas for my organization I had no clue where to begin. But I had all this newfound passion I needed to tell everyone at the next meeting, but before I could do that, a friend had an “oops moment.” Rather than holding them accountable for what they did, I let it slide – after all, we’re friends right? And then, “oops” they did it again, only worse. Now it wasn’t just me that needed to hold them accountable, but the whole group.
I also realized that it’s not up to just those people doing standards to hold members accountable, I play a role as well. But I let myself think that I wasn’t capable of having those hard conversations with my closest friends. That somehow they would think differently of me. I realize now that I lacked the skill and ability to have the hard conversations with my friends.
“In the middle of a difficulty lies opportunity.” Einstein said that, and he’s a pretty smart guy. As it turns out, when we’re faced with something difficult, like a hard conversation, we can run or we can face it. If we do the former we ignore the problem and let it fester. If we do the latter we might open up the door to something amazing. We might learn from each other and realize that every crucial conversation we have is an opportunity. An opportunity to develop as leaders. An opportunity to take our own leadership journey one step further. An opportunity to take the plunge.
CAMPUSPEAK’s Interactive Workshop, Leadership Plunge, gives students the opportunity to dive deeper into their own leadership practice. It challenges them to take their leadership to the next level and gives them the skills they need to do so. They’ll spend time examining those difficult conversations we have all had to have and learn techniques to start to use these difficult conversations as leadership opportunities and help others grow along with themselves. Learn more about how you can take the Leadership Plunge at campuspeak.com/leadershipplunge.
Credit // Author: Dan Faill
Dan Faill facilitates our Elephants and Onions, Recruitment Boot Camp, Leadership Plunge, Council Surge and SALAD workshops. He received his bachelor’s degree in communication and leadership studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and his master’s degree in educational administration and leadership affairs specializing in student affairs from the University of the Pacific. Dan currently serves as the Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Development at Loyola Marymount University and is a member of Theta Chi fraternity.