After reading the chapter “Understand Your Roles” in Adaptive Leadership, I felt very connected to the section discussing that a role is “not the same as yourself. It is what you’re doing at a particular moment in time, hopefully with the purpose of making things better for your family, organization, or community.” Last year I accepted a position in my sorority on the Executive Committee, working to improve membership education and retention. I would have never known before completing this position how important it is do distinguish between your role and yourself, as mentioned in the book.
Throughout my term as an Executive Committee member, I continued to feel discouraged. My constant focus on the organization was helping with the goals that I had wanted to address, but my sorority sisters began making me feel like I wasn’t doing my job correctly. They disliked that I had obligations that they needed to follow in order for the organization to change and in order for it to grow. I was frustrated and confused as why my friends wouldn’t trust my changes and support me – instead they just attacked me with everything I was doing wrong. They made me feel like I wasn’t a hard worker and that I wasn’t a good leader.
After finishing the position and learning more about the impact of roles, I realize that my role in the sorority did so many great things for the organization. I changed things and made them better, even with the reluctance from my friends. This chapter stated, “ Though an attack may feel personal, it is not a statement about your character or your worth as a human being.” I thought this sentence really sums up what I had to realize during my term on the sorority’s executive committee. After I ended my term, my friends were no longer emailing me suggestions or telling me where the sorority should be – they started sending those things to the new executive committee. They never attacked me because they didn’t like me, they attacked me because they wanted a say and they thought that saying things to me could manipulate me into implementing changes they wanted – that may have not been good for the organization. Overall, I am so grateful for my experience with different leadership roles, as it has taught me that I need to keep the big picture in mind and do my role to the best of my ability, regardless of what my peers say.