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2018 Emerging Leaders: Team Leadership

The May session of ELP, a program started to educate the next generation of leaders in architecture, kicked off with a discussion on conflict resolution, led by our instructor, Pete DeLisle, Hon. TxA. Pete is an educator, assisting in the design and presentation of leadership practices related to architecture in Texas, Louisiana, and at the AIA National level. He has also worked as a senior human resources officer for two major technology companies and has worked with more than 300 companies over the last 25 years. His knowledge and expertise covers a wide array of important leadership and business topics, making him the ideal leader for our group.

To explore conflict resolution, our class was split into groups of three to do an exercise. After the exercise, Pete broke down the significance of each role and analyzed whether the individuals were willing to make a deal given their contentious position. The main takeaway from this exercise was that an agreement could be reached once trust was established and there was clear communication.

Pete also discussed at length the link between tasks and relationship in the workplace. Ideally, in an office, you would have a high task / high relationship focus, as that would yield productivity and trust with a superior, coworker or team. However, that can be very hard to do consistently, so it’s important to bounce back and forth quickly between the two. If the task is under control, work on relationships, and vice versa. A leader should be aware that at times, high task, low relationship is necessary to get the job done, but it is crucial to bounce back and take care of your team once the task is complete. Relationship behaviors directly correlate to trust, meaning that it’s essential to focus on relationships as well as tasks.

This month’s special guest speaker was Michael Hellinghausen, Principal and COO of Omniplan. Touching upon his experience as an architect and providing some background on his path to his current position, Michael delved into the specifics of running an architecture firm as a business. Fundamental elements such as disciplined accounting, financial statements, project fee breakdowns, and building a sound financial model are essential to running an architecture business. Michael also discussed at length characteristics and advice on leadership based on his experience. He had many tips for the class, including determining who and what is important to you, mastering your craft, becoming indispensable, and embracing feedback. He left us with three things he finds completely necessary, and ironically enough, don’t have anything to do with the workplace: maximize brain and body health, pursue a hobby outside of work, and read all the time. This reiterates what we learned earlier in the session, that architecture and leadership are all about balance.



Written by:
Diana Lin, AIA | 5G Studio Collaborative
Rachel Mattes, AIA | The Beck Group