Wednesday, July 27, 2011

AFLV LeaderShape: Day 2 by Kelsey Cunningham

After a busy and slightly overwhelming first day in Kansas, I was excited to continue the AFLV LeaderShape curriculum and get to know the other students a little better. The morning was dedicated to team building exercises in which we were split into teams and given various tasks to complete. Though frustrating at the first introduction, it was interesting to see the different personalities and their corresponding approaches to the problems. Similar to my experience with my Greek organization at school, I learned that my approach may not be the best one and it may take some deliberation to reach the best solution. I was able to connect with my teammates better after we completed a task, and the last couple seemed easier than the first because we were more comfortable with each other and had learned from previous experiences.

The theme for today was ‘the value of one the power of all.’ This concept was reinforced first through the team building because it was a practical, real-life example of how each individual has a contribution and their input is crucial to the potential success or failure of the whole group. After working with our teams we took the DiSC personality test which highlighted strengths and flaws of each type and how that individual can best contribute to a group. We were grouped into sections with our personality and brainstormed how we approach a situation and what others can do to help us compensate for any inconsistencies. In any group, it is important to recognize the different personalities that are necessary to its everyday functionality. For example, Greek organizations would not exist without the Conscientiousness personality because they would most likely maintain the chapter’s finances, paperwork and logistics. The Influence personality type is equally as important because they are most likely to be the most effective recruiters and maintain high morale throughout the year. Taking this test and listening to various methods in which different personality types approached a situation made me think about my own chapter and how crucial respecting the personality differences is in the cohesiveness of a group.

The final portion of the day concluded the concept of the importance of valuing an individual to strengthen the integrity and effectiveness of the whole, specifically concerning stereotypes and discrimination perpetuated by preconceived notions held about groups of people. I am the first to admit yesterday I immediately categorized every person I was introduced to before I even got to know them. This tendency can cause animosity in a group or between groups, and can seriously devalue a person simply based on general characteristic that is no way true about every member of that group. We were able to really get to know different students when we shared how they have felt discriminated against or perpetuated discrimination in our family cluster discussions at the end of the night. This was the most memorable experience because I was able to hear personal experiences from people in my group and how they have been affected by discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, race, and religion. Coming from a small town without much personal input to the conversation, it was really powerful to hear the situations others in my group had been exposed to and how they dealt with the issues. This conversation made me re-evaluate what goes on in my chapter and Greek community at UCONN. In addition, I am confident I will come back to school in August with a new appreciation of different backgrounds and personalities and their potential contributions to the group. 

Kelsey Cunningham
University of Connecticut
Kappa Alpha Theta

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