Amalgamation of Life, Graduate Student

Check in: Graduate School

You might recall on a recent post that the first half of my fall semester had been an absolute nightmare. I was entirely displeased with the teacher, course material, and overall shenanigans of the classroom. Despite all this, my next and final class of Fall 2017 has been an absolute different experience, a complete 180. If I forget all of the great things about it, it’s frankly because it has been that amazing and the moments are hard to enumerate.

My teacher is fantastic.
My team has been dependable.
I am learning a ton – both from real life examples and the course work.
The reading has been intensive but educational.

It is everything I would ask from a class and more. I haven’t enjoyed something so much in so long. I can’t begin to recommend it enough: Full Range Leadership Development: Pathways for People, Profit and Planet. As I’ve said before this is no way a paid recommendation and the link is merely to the educational material I was course required to read. It was enlightening not only for my work-profession but also for my theatrical-profession – even though this is volunteering, it’s still mandatory to be a decent human being and effective leader. I tend to forget how to do both.

As a director, you have to convince not only your audience of your point of view but also your actors. Most importantly the actors. Why? If they don’t buy in, they won’t sell it and the show will be a dud on performance nights. I’ll be using leader and director as synonyms from now on, I apologize if it’s confusing. It’s pivotal to not only be an encouraging and effective leader, but it’s also knowing how to be a firm, compassionate, understanding, and flexible leader.

I had to submit to my peers, (in)direct reports, and my leadership team an evaluation form to identify what strengths and weaknesses they saw in my leadership style. To say there are many is an understatement. I have a natural following, to an extent – we all do. But to have a formal one, and to even be considered to have on as a career, you need to be aware of your pitfalls. One of the largest opportunities I have as a leader is to operate within a collaborative effort – I very easily take on an entire project myself and complete it. Well or not, it doesn’t matter – I don’t share the work nor the glory.

How does that actually lead to success? Minutely, on a very small scale and sometimes to none at all. It only helps me. I don’t grow any additional skillsets in my peers, or build up my network – it’s very closeting. I grew up independent, my mom raised me to be a woman of her own with no need of any person. I can’t blame her but I can’t remain (entirely?) that way. Letting people in isn’t going to hurt my career and, in fact, those people who I have let in.. they’ve only lead to my success. That’s a goal for 2018 and it’s not even New Years Eve, but I’m going to get a head start.

How does this relate back to theatre? I am using the skills reciprocally – the things I learn in the theatre are viable in my class, and the skills I learn in class are more advantageous on stage. I wish I could share the video we did in class but alas, the server is being weird and half of my posts aren’t transitioning to Facebook. Maybe someday soon, check back often my dears – ’til next time.

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