Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Broken Leader

I'm not sure why I was reminded of the leadership camp I was in about one and a half year ago. It was actually a regeneration process for a student organization thing. The situation is about like this. There are about 31 student groups, name it A, B, C, D, etc. Each one has a head of the group, who holds the position for one year. The purpose of the camp is to find one replacement for the old head of the group. One head of the group can bring one or two candidate(s) to the camp. Well, the 31 student groups were under 4 departments, and each department has a head of department, one of whom was me. And then above all of the departments, there is one guy in the highest position in the camp.

I remember two of the most uplifting experiences I found in the camp. You could say that was my first experience in being a trainer and a motivator in something which is not physical. I mean, I did give a first-aid training to my juniors, and train their stamina, etc, but I was never one to stand up in front of a group of people and give a speech. For me it's always been teaching-by-doing thing. Heh heh.

Well, in the camp the head of the groups at that moment and the candidates were put randomly into four groups, and the head of the departments were put randomly to lead each of the groups. We were suppossed to be a moderator in a sharing moment, about being the risk, the previlege, and the responsibility of a head of the group, so that the candidates can understand more about what they were getting into, and give them time to considerate about whether or not they want to be the next head of the group. In some cases, there were candidates who until that moment didn't want to take the position, and the head of the group took them to the camp to futher motivate them.

So, there was this one sweet guy who was the head of group A, and one of his candidates was happened to be in my group. He asked me to give more attention to that girl because he was desperate to have her become the next head of group A. She always said no until that moment, saying she's too busy with her study, but she would be happy to be the vice.

Long story short, I succeed in convincing her to be the next head of group A. It was a 'fun' play for me, giving clues and twisting one sharing after another, and giving a personal one of mine, being careful to switch the focus to meet the girl's problem. But that wasn't the most memorable part. The most memorable part was when the head of group A came to me and thanked me for making his candidate to say 'yes' wholeheartedly. It made me feel really really good. It made me realize that yes, even though I'm most usually being a too-nice girl who cannot even defend herself from others' bullying and manipulation, I can make other people change their minds, I can affect people.

The second memory, which is actually the best, because that was the first time I've ever experinced, came after that. Still in the four groups, we played a game, competing between those four groups. We were to stand in circle then face one way, so that each person will stand behind another person, but still in circle. Then everyone should sit, and whichever group holds the position longest, win. But as the leader, the head of the department cannot be in the game. They could not help either. They could only cheer or give commands. Problem was that the position hurt, and it happened that one member of my group had a problem with her leg. I always think that desperation and pain in a teamwork will make the team works better together. I cheered them on while kept reminding them to care for the one with the leg problem, and everyone seemed to sacrifice a little more weight to themselves so that the girl could get a little weight off of her. It was a beautiful teamwork, and it hurt me not to be able to be in it. It's when I felt useless, like a broken leader. Like a commander who can't go to the battle with her army. Maybe also like a husband who watches his wife in a delivering room. But we won! And I celebrated with them, congratulating them. We got a present, which turned out to be a package of chocolate sticks. The sweetest moment was when one of them gave it to me, and when I told them it was suppossed to be shared among them cause they were the one who fought for it, they told me that it was because of my cheering and how I kept on motivating them, that they were able to hold on till the end. Damn. It was so damned flattering. Here I thought I was so useless and couldn't be the part of the teamwork, while actually everyone thought I was in the team all the way. We shared the chocolate sticks anyway in the end.

I remembered today about the conclusion I took at that time. I'm not a leader who serves as a public figure. I'm the type who should stand behind the leader, giving my thoughts for consideration, and back them up whenever needed. The behind-the-scene person, if you will. Or downright a front-liner leader. That I can do. Leading while doing the job together. But it's no coincidence that I held the record for being a vice more than anyone, a position that is looked as useless by some people. And it's no coincidence that I got a heartfelt thank you's from most of the leaders for being their vice. It's what I do best, though of course it matters that I partner with a leader who is willing to listen to me, trusting me, and not afraid of being vulnerable in front of me.

I'm a broken leader who has no skill and no way to make people following me. But by some sort of miracle, I attract leaders and I have the qualities needed to fill the position as vice without being useless. It's funny, huh? And when I think about it... I think that's how I wanna function in a relationship too. :D

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