Allie Jones implements the resources she learned at the Leadership workshop during her own team meeting on Wednesday night back at the hotel. Photo by Annie Strella.
by Allie Jones, HSU Journalism Club President
Students who attended the Leadership Improvisation Workshop during the Austin journalism conference learned how to work with different personalities in the newsroom or office to create the most productive environment possible.
Adrianne Harris, Assistant Director of Student Programs and Leadership at Roger Williams University, and Kelley Lash, Director of Student Media at Rice University, taught the three-hour workshop on Wednesday.
In the session, students completed a self analysis to identify their own personality strengths and weaknesses. Then based on personality types, students split up into groups in different sections of the room and went through different scenarios, such as planning a trip together. As expected, all the like-minded individuals worked well together.
Afterward, however, each group presented their ideas and faced the criticism of the rest of the students. As expected, most liked their own group’s plan but had trouble connecting with other group ideas.
After completing the improvisation exercises, the students came back together to talk about the different personalities and misunderstandings of each other. Phrases that would normally be used negatively, such as “You’re too flaky” or “Why can’t you just loosen up?” were passed around constructively in a genuine attempt to understand the different mindsets. The goal wasn’t to change thinking but to understand thinking.
“You need to know how everyone is thinking because you’ll have a lot of trouble leading a team you know nothing about,” Harris said.
Though the different personalities initially created divisions, by the end of the workshop students created bonds based on their dissimilarities just as much as their commonalities. Students even traded numbers with those of different personality types.
Students learned how to identify strengths and weaknesses of themselves and of others. Harris and Lash emphasized that good leadership requires this kind of understanding.
“Think about how to build your teams with a balance of personalities,” Lash said. “Find who you are missing and your team will be stronger for it.”
Harris and Lash provided the student leaders with resources to duplicate this workshop with their teams.
Note: I am excited to bring this information back to the Journalism Department and to Humboldt State as a whole. I look forward to building on this workshop and presenting it to interested students, staff and community members to create more cohesiveness in the workplace.