Contributed by:
Ryan Christensen

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AIA Dallas 2020 Emerging Leaders Program: March Session

For our March session, we took it online! We started the session with our check-ins via live video, getting the opportunity to see how everyone was adjusting to their new work-from-home set-ups.

Pete DeLisle, PhD, Hon. TxA started off our discussion drawing parallels between our earlier conversations and the current environment we are faced with. Using the model of Leadership Effectiveness provides a strong framework for understanding and looking at how countries, states, and communities are responding to COVID-19. If we remember, there are three parts to this model: Ability, Awareness, and Commitment. What we are seeing today is that we have leaders who are Aware of the problem at hand and Committed to taking action to address it. The issue comes with the complexity of the current situation we are faced with. This is such a complex problem that there may be times we do not have the Ability or know the best move to make, and that is okay.

Pete DeLisle's home office set-up!

Pete furthered this discussion by bringing up the ideas of Controlling vs. Not Controlling. When faced with a complex problem, we need to understand and be aware of the items we can influence and those that we cannot. We can work to affect the things we can change in order to best prepare for the items that we cannot control or influence. We are seeing this play out in real time today.

After drawing these parallels, we shifted our focus to a new topic and Model of Communication – the Johari Window. This is a foundational model that frames how we communicate, give feedback and receive it to work together in complex scenarios. The Johari Window is split into four boxes: the Open Self, the Hidden Self, the Blind Self, and the Unknown Self. The Open Self are those items that are known to you and known to everyone else. The Hidden Self are those items known to you but not to others. This is the box we communicate from. We do most of our work and thinking inside our own head and it only becomes known if we choose to share it. The Blind Self are the items known to others but not ourselves. Everyone has a Blind Self, and we are all reliant on others to get feedback so we can recognize our Blind Self. It is critical to find people who are reliable and trustworthy to provide you with constructive feedback. We discussed feedback in depth including the importance of it, how to encourage it and even why people do not give more feedback. The final element of the Johari window is the Unknown Self. This is the part that is not known to either you or others and typically surfaces in our responses to critical and stressful situations.

After discussing the Johari Window, we moved on to the selection of our ELP project which we will discuss in a follow-up post. With our changing environment, it was great that our ELP Chairs, Pete, and Cathy were able to be nimble and respond in making sure that our sessions could continue virtually! We covered a lot of content including engaging discussions on what we learned, and we are looking forward to our next session in April!