Leadership

The Evolution of Leadership

by Nathan Dorer
RPI, ‘18

Brother Angel Roman (California State University - Dominguez Hills) speaking

Brother Angel Roman (California State University - Dominguez Hills) speaking

Brother Angel Roman (California State University - Dominguez Hills, ‘20) found his passion for leadership in the form of community advocacy.

Through his roles in the campus Peace Club and the professional society Pro World Life, Roman found himself in communities focused on bringing about social change.

However, Roman found himself questioning why so much of the leadership community was targeted towards Higher Education and working professionals.

In an effort to make the empowerment of leadership platforms available to a more general public, Roman created the conference Evolution of Leadership, with the mission of awakening motivation and inspiration within demographics that have typically not been represented in leadership conferences.

Evolution of Leadership provides attendees with skills to become managers and business owners, as well as opportunities to connect with industry leaders. Through this, Roman hopes that he can empower people to achieve their personal goals.

Roman credits Phi Kappa Theta with much of his inspiration for Evolution of Leadership; he currently serves as Vice President of his chapter, and stated that his experience in the Fraternity has challenged his leadership in a way that it had never been challenged before.

Phi Kappa Theta has been key in his development of a mindset of continuous self improvement, and he has worked to extend that mindset toward the community at the Dominguez Hills colony.

His role within the house demands that he target his leadership to allow people to achieve their highest potential, and has contributed to his personal development as a student and a professional. “I’m more organized as a person,” Roman said, “I wake up every morning and reflect on what needs to happen in the next day.”

For Roman, the Fraternity comes as an entity that allows members to achieve their best.

In the future, Roman hopes that Phi Kappa Theta will allow him the resources and opportunities to develop Evolution of Leadership into a larger entity with an even broader scope of impact.

Coaching vs. Advising

by Johnny Hohenstein
Director of Chapter Operations

As of late, a few of our Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity chapter executive boards have been asking about best practices when finding an advisor. In any situation, being without a mentor can make an individual or group seem a little lost. The imagery of a ship without a captain comes to mind: what would a bunch of pirates do out to sea with no chief swashbuckler to set the course?

While our organization technically does utilize and endorse an advising model (sans swashbuckling...), we prefer to use the term "coaches" when referring to the individuals in these roles. We do this in order to encourage a more dynamic relationship that emphasizes the idea of creating a two-way street communication style. The more that both parties understand that success can come as a result of collaborating and listening, the more likely both parties will find success - and enjoy the journey along the way.

Last month Phi Kappa Theta hosted its second annual Servant Leadership Summit, during which ten new Performance Coaches began their training. These individuals – a combination of alumni and community volunteers – will act as an extension of the Executive Offices. Each has the ability to offer tailored support, guidance, and challenges to three collegiate chapters.

By adding this personal level of support to chapter leadership and operations, Phi Kappa Theta hopes to be able to challenge our members to be better leaders while supporting them through difficult conversations and decisions. Performance Coaches are gearing up to hit the ground running with their chapters in January of 2019.

These two things, difficult conversation and decision making, were large parts of the Servant Leadership Summit. We wanted to treat this Summit as the foundational beginnings to a new initiative; we hoped to get all of our coaches in the same room, have intentional conversations about the Fraternity and Chapter Operations, and have each individual leave with the same action item: guide but not decide.

This notion comes from Sanford’s Challenge and Support Theory. The long and short of it is the idea that challenging an individual too much may see them buckle under pressure, whereas overwhelming support results in minimal learning opportunities. Performance Coaches had several opportunities during the Servant Leadership Summit to discuss what that means and how to navigate tough coaching conversations.

Pirate analogies aside, here are some of the principles that we discussed with coaches. Our hope is that it can translate into your own situation, whatever shape or form that may take. Phi Kappa Theta wants to extend a challenge to you: can you identify a mentor or coach within your office, profession or community at large using these criteria?

  1. Coaches in your community should first and foremost be accessible. They should want to speak with and listen to members within your chapter. They should be good listeners. In fact, some of the best mentors speak less and listen more. Find someone that will listen to a chapter's questions, goals, insecurities, ideas, etc. so that they can get a good idea of the executive board's strengths, weaknesses and desires.

  2. Coaches used as sounding boards can be a great way for student leaders to “make mistakes” without making mistakes that have long-term consequences on the chapter.

  3. Coaches should be the type of people who like to encourage others, especially coaches that identify with the mission/vision of Phi Kappa Theta. They also should be the type of individual who can gently but firmly tell someone an idea is bad without destroying creativity.

  4. Coaches should have experience and wisdom (the two don’t necessarily always go together). That is, they should have learned from their own mistakes. Think of some alumni in your area who may have had leadership experience in your own chapter.

  5. Coaches also should be willing to be “coached" by their chapter. Any manager, mentor or advisor should be willing to learn from others no matter how young, seasoned, educated — or not — someone is. Coaching is a two-way street: they coach members, and members coach them on how they want to be coached.

Interested in becoming a Performance Coach? Contact us.

How Our Chapter Grew

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Dr. Brown formed a personalized program for our house. This program hit home with all the brothers, talking about individuals and their struggles and putting those things into perspective as a brotherhood.

Neil Patel
RPI, ‘20
Chapter President

On October 8th, 2018 the New York Sigma Chapter at RPI was extremely honored to hold its first brotherhood retreat with Dr. Michael Brown of DMB Coaching.

Over the course of the last year many brothers have gotten to meet Dr. Michael Brown at the Boysie Bollinger Leadership Academy and IMPACT18.

After each of those events, many non-attending brothers were excited by the ideas and impact Dr. Brown had on their fellow brothers. With all this excitement, it was only right to have Dr. Brown come visit the chapter.

Over the past year the chapter struggled with passivity and ideals, Dr. Brown formed a personalized program for our house. This program hit home with all the brothers, talking about individuals and their struggles and putting those things into perspective as a brotherhood.

The key moment for us was when Dr. Brown had us write down something we are currently struggling with personally. After reading each of those anonymous struggles, many were taken back about how the Fraternity serves as that support system that each of us as individuals need.

Using the strategies taught by Dr. Brown, the Chapter formulated their personal values which allowed us to establish our first recruitment guidelines. These guidelines specifically show who were are as a chapter and why we do the things we do.

The executive board had a meeting with Dr. Brown the following morning. Despite leading a discussion from 10AM to 6PM and hanging out with the brothers from 6PM to 10PM, Dr. Brown was still lively.

He allowed us to ask questions about what we struggle with and how to implement what we talked about as a chapter.

Overall, our Chapter went into the retreat knowing about what it means to be good leaders and an even better brotherhood but being able to still be critical about these things allowed us to be even more efficient in these areas.

Also, being able to talk about tasks we struggle with made everyone more cognizant of where we look to improve!

Neil Patel
RPI, ‘20
Chapter President