Leadership – Challenge Questions

Here are my answers to the questions on the leadership challenges discussed today in class:

Challenge 1; Tension:

How do you deal best with tension in a stressful situation?

For me, dealing with tension and stress involves assuring myself that ‘this will not kill me’. I have to realize that I am not the only one working on this project, and other people will get their jobs done too, and I don’t need to worry about the entire project, that’s the top leader’s job. Even so, if everyone does their role, then no one should have any extra stress, and I must be sure to trust my fellow committee members and that they will complete their assigned duties/tasks. I am not in charge of/responsible for the entire project, and “breath”, you will get through this.

Challenge 2; Frustration:

What should you do when you find yourself following a leader who is ineffective? How do you continue to add value?

Attack the problem head on, and don’t shy away from finding a solution. When you find yourself following an ineffective leader, it is important to work up to talking to that person face-to-face. This may mean developing a relationship, or beginning, more casually, at making suggestions or giving ideas on how the leader could improve the team’s success. You must also be sure to find the strengths and benefits of your leader and not only look to the shady side of the tree. Bring a positive attitude in the process of improving and affirming your leader, to help them trim those leaves in the way of the sun, you don’t want more leaves and bushes to grow, blocking even more sun; covering what might have even already been there.

Challenge 3; Multi-hat:

How can you determine what “hat” you need to wear in a given situation?

To determine what hat you must wear,  you can refer to your given position and any other roles given by your top leader. Be aware of what is going on around you in any situation so you can change or adapt to do your ‘role’ properly. You may also want to consider the positions of those around you and what role or hat they have in order to see where you may fit into the picture.

Challenge 4; Ego:

Do you tend to focus more energy on production or promotion?

I like to think that I have never been one to want to be the star of the show. That’s not saying that I’m not trying my hardest and putting forth my best effort, which may or may not lead me to be the best; “You’re always striving for excellence, striving for perfection” – Teresa Gabriele. But I was never one to hog the ball. I always tried to be selfless as a basketball player, and as an individual. I still do. I’m concious of my impact and effect on others and aware of how they may feel about my actions. I believe in giving your best effort in everything you do, results will come with effort, and effort comes from the inside; you shouldn’t be focused on the physical reward at the end of the road, but rather the sights along the way.

Challenge 5; Fulfillment:

List some of the advantages and disadvantages of being out front.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of being ‘out front’ or being the top leader. Some of the advantages include greater credit from the public or outsiders who are looking at your organization, and possibly, in situations, more control of a project or action. However, though the top may seem like a sugary position, there are certainly negatives to it as well. When one is the leader, they are also, as mentioned in the myths questions, most responsible for their entire organization. Their actions can have a greater impact on the organization as a whole, and they are also more prominently seen by the public. This means more exposure and more weight on their shoulders. It is important that a top leader be ready for their position and be confident and prided in their work.

Challenge 6; Vision:

How do you relate to and align yourself with your committee’s vision?

For me to understand and connect with the collective team’s goal, I need to gain sufficient information about what we are trying to achieve and understand the reasoning behind the team’s choices. As I understand the logic and values behind the goal, I will feel more inclined and ready to connect to the vision and support it. If I do not have enough information, then I may jump to conclusions about what we are trying to achieve or think of other possible routes that I agree with more. However through learning about the vision, and seeking first to understand, the knowledge will allow me to ‘relate to and align’ myself to the team’s vision and believe in it myself.

Challenge 7; Influence:

How do you consistently let the people on your team know that you care about them?

From a more ‘professional’ standpoint, it is important to show that you care about your colleagues by taking time to gain their insight and perspective on things. As a leader, I am sure to ask for other opinions and ideas for projects, initiatives, etc. before getting too far along. This very important to me, not only because I am showing care by taking some time to hear other voices, but also because this can be a very valuable resource for problem solving and finding what is best for all. It is also important to develop more personal relationships with those under you so they see that you are not solely someone who is a ‘technical’ figure and stands above you in the office, but rather that you are also a friend who you can talk to, and genuinely care about what is best for each individual.

Leadership – Myth Questions

Here are my answers to seven questions on the seven myths of leadership discussed today in class.

Myth 1;Position Myth: 

Discuss if people need to possess the top title to achieve results and help others become productive?

People most certainly do not need to possess the top title to achieve more and help others, in fact, some of the lower positions have an even greater impact on others in the organization/committee. When an individual is at the highest position, they often become separated and less connected personally with those around them, they also likely spend less time with the others in their organization who work below them. Whereas, an average employee or committee member steps up and puts forth an outstanding effort, they can have a much more direct impact on those around them. For example, when a basketball player decides to possess a more positive attitude around their team-mates, ie. give high fives, encourage their fellow players, or call out suggestions/directions to help their team-mate on the court, it may have a stronger effect than that of the coach giving feedback, as the player is often more connected personally to their team-mates. Similarly, in an organizational basis, an individual who chooses to be focused, brings a positive energy to the work environment, and is willing to help fellow employees, may rub off on another like-employee more so than the top leader simply giving orders.

Myth 2: Destination Myth;

How do you become the person you desire to be?

I believe that in order to become the person you desire to be, which you may see as your best self, it is key to surround yourself with others whom you want to be more like and can look up to and feed off of. You will naturally become more like the people around you and you can also consciously learn and take note of what makes those people who they are. It is also key, in general, to surround yourself with people who you may believe are just stronger individuals or stronger as a person in whatever way you believe is important. Naturally you will strive to be more like them and grow to their level.

Myth 3; Influence Myth:

What prompts you to follow someone else?

For me, what prompts me to follow someone else, is simply when I believe in the same things as them or agree with their position. Even if it means going against the ‘status quo’ or questioning a higher leader, it is important to me to stand up for what I believe and fight for what is important to me. This is how I believe everyone should choose to follow others, we might be in very different situations on many issues if everyone did. Most importantly, when choosing to follow, you can’t choose to follow the ‘status quo’ or given order out of fear, when you disagree with it. You must be fearless and stand up for what you believe.

Myth 4; Inexperience Myth:

What makes a leader valuable to an organization/committee?

A strong leader not only speaks up for what they believe, but also seeks to understand those around them and see what the people want. It is important that a leader sees what is best for all and the organization/committee, even if it means going against the general consensus in certain situations. When they can be strong as an individual, be understanding of others(those under them) and pursue the best option for all, they are an incredibly valuable leader.

Myth 5; Freedom Myth:

Do you agree that when you move up in an organization, the weight of you responsibility increases? Explain.

I most certainly agree with that your responsibility increases as you position does. It says it right there. Your position is increasing so why wouldn’t your responsibility? As you move up in an organization you represent more and more people and positions/groups, so it becomes your responsibility to not only do yourself justice with your work but also everyone below you. You are also holding technical ‘control’ over the growing number of people working below you, to suitably do your job in ‘controlling’ them, you must be a more responsible person and if anything, lead by example.

Myth 6; Potential Myth: 

Eleanor Roosevelt said. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” How does that idea relate to allowing a title or position to limit your position?

First of all, I’d just like to say that I chose this question significantly because of the fact that it references a quote, and I love quotes, as I think you can learn great amounts of wisdom from them and their author’s past experiences. As for the question:

I believe this idea relates to a title limiting your position in that you must have a positive inner voice that believes in your best effort. That voice must also pride you in doing the best at your position and work, whatever role or title that may be. You must believe in yourself from the inside and not let things like titles get in the way of you being the best person you can be. Do not get down on yourself for simply having a lesser position, for you can be an even stronger leader in your position if you believe, and as one once said, the best leaders are never seen.

Myth 7; All-or-Nothing Myth:

The reality for most people is that they will never be the CEO. Does that mean they should just give up leading altogether? Discuss.

Absolutely not! It is important not to define your life as being the ‘best’. There are other ways for one to find success in life, or in cases not even success, but rather happiness. The joy of life and leadership must come from inside, just as anything else, and if you truly love what you do, then it won’t matter what position you hold but rather that you are passionate about what you do and take pride in your every piece of work(physical, mental, actions). When one loves what they do and takes pride in the little things, they can lead from any position, and enjoy doing it. It is important, as previously stated, to not define your success as a number or title, but rather what you believe. If one chooses, they can become a leader in any role, and you can gain the respect of those around you. That is the mark off a true leader, understanding others and doing what they believe. If you can strive for your best every time/project/practice, and use the various leadership skills, you can truly lead from any position, and it shouldn’t matter your position.

The Beginning: In-Depth Endeavour #1 – Start Your Ovens; On Your Pots, Get Set, Action!

Feast, or should I say, treat your eyes to some of the desserts I might be making. Treat your mind to the life skills being learned. And treat your heart to the purpose and heart which baking presents.

Photo Credits: Wikipedia
Photo Credits: Cook 13

Over the break I watched a movie with my family released this past summer, titled The Hundred Foot Journey.

Picture Credits: Wikipedia

At first, I was left with great satisfaction and joy from the film, as I thoroughly enjoyed it for many reasons, but after some time, I realized the passion and heart that goes into cooking, that I had gained further knowledge of through this film.

The film takes place in a small French village in the south of France, where an Indian family attempts to open an Indian cuisine restaurant one hundred feet across the road from a Michelin-starred classical French restaurant. The two restaurants initially begin as rivals, and as one could expect, the owner of the French restaurant is not happy to have competition. The story continues, building further similarities with the classic Shakespearean tale, Romeo and Juilet, as the young chef of the Indian restaurant and the sous-chef of Le Saule Pleurer, the French restaurant, fall in love. However, unlike the Shakespearean tragedy, all ends well, and the two communities come together, accept, and welcome each other.

The story obviously revolves around food, but the passion and love for cooking and cuisine is what drives the characters towards their goals throughout the plot. Along with other key messages, this movie showed me how much heart and passion cooking and baking can really involve, and what meaning they can have.

When I have taken HomeEc at school before, and done some basic cooking and baking at home before, I have always taken pride in my work and enjoyed the  experiences. I have often wanted to further explore the area and really learn about the art of cooking and, in this case, baking. So as I have been interested in baking and cooking before, I decided to explore the desserts area specifically for various reasons. First of all, I am a highly picky eater. In cooking, and baking, it is very important to be able to taste the foods that you make , so I figured I would be absolutely fine tasting my cuisine if I studied desserts. Desserts, and baking, are also a very useful skill to have, as they can be used in many situations and could come in handy in many future situations.

Skills in the kitchen and using equipment properly and safely, are skills that can help me all throughout life, and will have a great impact in the future. Desserts can also be useful when preparing a dessert or treat for guests or a party, or when made in quality, can be an upgrade to an average bake-sale. However, for this project, I will be looking into more advanced styles of desserts, and attempting to explore and make some European style desserts and treats.

I am hoping to gain mentorship from my amazing baker neighbour, who has outstanding talent and ability in baking various European style treats, and desserts. Though I know my neighbour fairly well, and the idea is to expand on existing circles in the community, I am still planning on having her as my mentor, however I will be reaching out to one or possibly more businesses or other groups/experts in the field for experience and possibly further mentorship.

I have yet to talk to my neighbour about this proposal, as I have been extremely busy with the crazy start back at school and flash of a start to 2015! Hopefully this works out and I can get set up very soon!

For this project, I am planning on taking out practice sessions with my mentor on a semi-regular basis, as well as practicing skills and recipes learned on my own. As previously stated, I will also be attempting to gain further experience and knowledge from additional mentors or experiences in the community. Through this project, I also hope to gain some more knowledge about desserts in general and possibly some of the history that revolves around this infamous course.

I am still waiting to confirm many of the details for this project, as I am somewhat unfamiliar with the challenges or difficulty of what I plan to undertake, and the area in general. Once I have more information, hopefully in the next week, I will be able to more closely revise some of the more specific guidelines and plans for the project, such as how many different recipes I plan to learn, and the amount of assistance I will need.

As for now, maybe not eggs just yet, but I shall get cracking!