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Leadership Insights: Finding Your Strengths

Kallee Mendonca

Leadership InsightsI have the privilege of representing 116 & West as part of the 2017-18 class of Leadership Eugene-Springfield. Leadership Eugene-Springfield is a joint initiative of the Eugene and Springfield Chambers with the mission of fostering civic leaders and advocates to better serve and champion their own local communities since 1986.

My interest in LES emerged as soon as I became aware of the program. In the two years that I’ve lived in Eugene, my extracurriculars have been few and far between. I’ve been looking for the right fit for my skill set and passion. With my busy schedule, I have yet to find one.

LES is a great way to get involved and learn about the two cities’ current and future needs and opportunities. Additionally, I am a true believer that we are only as good as we were yesterday, and each day presents an opportunity to grow and learn. LES is a great forum to sharpen my saw on my leadership skills, as well as foster a network of contacts in Eugene to connect and learn from. So I did it. I applied, interviewed, and was selected as part of the 2017-18 class for LES!

Day 1:

LES is an 8-month program that meets for one full day per month. The sessions cover topics that are specific to leadership awareness and community orientation. In addition, there is a class project that we collaborate on and present at the end of the journey. The first class focused on team building and getting to know our cohort, as well as awareness of our individual leadership styles. For the first part of the day, we heard from a speaker, Robert Brack, who is in charge of Eugene’s Challenge Course. He facilitated several team-building exercises that forced us to interact with nearly everyone in the group and solve challenges together. It was fun, interactive, and a great way to start this journey.

The afternoon was focused on our individual leadership styles and the results from a behavioral test we all took. This was my favorite exercise of the day. After we all read over our results to reflect on our individual styles, we then took that information and applied it to the leadership style of the class. We did a human bar graph exercise where we each stood under certain scores for respective topics and were able to see the spread of behavioral types that exist within our group. Doing this allowed us to see where we had strengths and weaknesses as a collective unit and apply that awareness to our efforts working as a group to complete the class project for the year.

The LIFO Behavioral Test

The behavioral test we took is called LIFO, short for Life Orientations. It focuses on discovering an individual’s strengths and personal styles in order to improve performance. It begins by identifying the individual’s basic orientation to life out of four basic behavioral styles. Based on this foundation of self-knowledge, it offers strategies that enable individuals or groups to be more successful in their work and more influential when dealing with key people.

My result was not surprising for anyone who knows me. I received the Controlling Taking behavioral style, focused on action. This makes sense for my personality and my role at 116 & West, where I thrive on challenges and am dedicated to doing the best work possible. They consider this person a go-getter who strives to consider the balance of both quality and quantity in my work.

Comparing my results to others in the group was really interesting. While there were others who scored similarly, it was interesting to see individual results that have a direct correlation to the field in which they work. There are many who work in nonprofit, people-focused organizations. Many of these scored much higher for Adaptive Dealing or Support Giving.

Being able to see how each of us fell on this human bar graph exercise gave us insight on how to better utilize each member of the team in the project. Some are going to be great at the details and analytics, while others want to make decisions and get tasks done. Finally, others will thrive at the people element as we go into the community and approach business owners. Knowing each other’s behavioral styles is key to managing the group project as best as possible and tapping into the resources that exist within our individual members.

Day 2 Recap Coming in November

Moving forward, I’m excited to see the class collaborate on a project and find a way to merge our varying interests to benefit Springfield and Eugene. Additionally, I’m eager to experience sessions focused on city growth and planning, as well as public transportation! Look for my recap of LES Day 2 coming in November!

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