Volunteer at a Non-Profit

For my non-profit volunteering, I chose to work under Operation Paws for Homes, or OPH. It is an agency that is responsible for fostering and getting homeless dogs adopted. The initial reason I decided to volunteer with OPH is because I found out they had virtual opportunities to volunteer as reference checkers. However, I ended finding just the amount of events I needed to fill my hours. I also did the reference checker training, which was about an hour. I attended 3 adoption events: a 3 hour, a 4 hour, and a 6.5 hour (for this one I was responsible for transporting a dog from his foster home an hour away, in addition to the adoption event).

Jobs (ch.16-35)

After finishing off Jobs, I decided to link our reading this week to Steve Jobs and his personality. Steve Jobs was a known perfectionist. He rejected the an IPod prototype because in his opinion it was too heavy and he wanted it smaller. When the engineers told him there was no more room to make it smaller, he dropped the IPod in water and told them that the air bubbles meant there was still some empty spots. Initially I would have thought that perfectionism was not a good trait to have as a leader. However, as I have learned it can actually be a good thing. Someone who craves perfection, is willing to do whatever it takes to get something right. At the same time, however, it is important to know there are boundaries and you don’t want to be overbearing. It is okay if something is not 100% because life is never 100%. Things happen and it is important to understand and admit it when it does (without it becoming an excuse).
Steve Jobs also always maintained goals that were SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely- which is one of many reasons as to why he was so successful.

Humphrey (ch. 9-14)

Chapter 9
The key theme I noticed in this chapter is being able to use tools to help self-manage in order to be a great leader. The three behaviors that serve as a roadblock are inability to delay gratification, procrastination, and emotional self-absorption. I most relate to procrastination and emotional self-absorption. With procrastination, I tend to stress out over a lot of assignments, and as a result I will push assignments back to the very last minute. This way I only stress about it for the time while I am doing the assignment, and can forget about it the rest of the week (or however long I will have known about said assignment. Reflecting on this, if I were able to calm myself down and assign one hour a day to work on a certain assignment, I would not have to stress over it at all. Going back to emotional self-absorption, I am the type of person to obsess over a certain event for hours, days, weeks, or even sometimes years for such small events. I remember this one time I went to a talk and that was one of the ideas that the speaker mentioned. Sure it might be embarrassing in the moment, but will it affect you 4 minutes from now? Sure. Will it affect you 4 days from now? Maybe. Will it affect you 4 weeks from now? Probably not. How about 4 years from now? I think you get the point now. I found this very interesting because I never saw it that way, taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture; self-management at its core. Being able to change the way you act, the way you think, and the way you perform by looking at the bigger picture is an essential characteristic of a great leader. This was my main takeaway from this chapter.

Chapter 10
In this chapter, the biggest takeaway is great leaders have high self-awareness. Being able to know and understand your own character, feelings, desires, etc. is something that can make you a great leader. Authentic leaders are those who have high self-awareness. They know who they are, what their beliefs are, and they have the ability to act according to those beliefs while interacting with others.
One area I found particularly interesting was when it talked about MADE/Born. It made me think about when I learned nature and nurture in psychology because I feel like they are related. How much of you can be born a leader, and how much of you can learn to be a leader? Is leadership an inherited trait? I am not sure where I stand on this because I think it is more than black and white. I believe balance is important. Some traits a person (typically) can learn, such as psychological capital. I particularly enjoyed reading about the characteristics that are most common with leaders- confidence (self-efficacy), hope, optimism, and resiliency. If I had to pick one that I relate to most, it would be optimism. I like to always think on the bright side and that everything will be successful in the end. Although maybe that errs more on the side of hope, rather than optimism? I am still having a hard time distinguishing hope from optimism.
Just the other day I put in my application for my dream job, and part of it involved a series of ‘what would you do’ questions. In one of them, it asked how I set goals for myself and I also had to determine if I celebrate after reaching my goals. I debated on how to answer this because, although I do like to celebrate when I reach goals, I don’t do it to the point where it becomes a bad thing. For example, if I get assigned an important task that could only be given to one person, I won’t gloat about it in the workplace. I might, however, go out with my (non-work) friends for a drink to celebrate.

Chapter 11
Building on chapter 10, chapter 11 talks about identity and goes in depth about how it is important. Unlike self-awareness, identity is not just our beliefs. Identity is also how we feel about ourselves, our values, etc. It makes me think about self-confidence. There are different components of identity- individual and independent; interpersonal and relational; collective and social; organizational, and cultural/national. A leader’s collective identity contributes to their altruistic behaviors, and in turn their performance as a leader. I believe it is important that each self acts independently from another.

Steve Jobs (ch. 1-16)

Reading this book has reminded me of one of the videos we watched in week one- Why by Simon Sinek. I found Walter Isaacson’s portrayal of Steve Jobs inspiring. To be honest, I am inspired by many of our top and famous CEO’s. They prove that it is not always how well you do in school that determines your success in life. There are so many other factors- most importantly, leadership skills. Leadership skills is such a broad topic. There are many features that combine together to form a great leader. These can include determination, emotional intelligence, and many more. Steve Jobs was one of those people that showed you don’t even need to excel in every single category, either.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones, who do.

Steve Jobs

Humphrey (ch. 8)

This chapter reminded me of how underestimated the roles leaders have. I had not even thought about how leaders regulate emotions of their subordinates. Thinking about it now, however, I can acknowledge how important it is. All of this reminds me of l when we learned about emotional intelligence and empathy. In order to regulate emotions, I believe it is essential to be empathetic and to have high emotional intelligence. I really appreciated how the authors gave definitions and clear examples of the methods for regulating the experience and expression of emotions in the work place! I was able to fully understand each method and think of how it applies to HR (my major). Prescribing emotion is the method I can relate to the most. As a server, you know that your tips are a reflection of your impression on the customer. If you express your real emotions, the customers will not be as happy. When I worked at Bonefish, there was one shift that I was not having a good day. I guess it was so bad, my manager could tell by my facial attitude and my body language. He reminded me that how I express myself if contagious. If I am happy and all smiles, so will my customers. If I am dull, the customers will react accordingly. We are told to be happy and cheerful because our tips (aka our nightly income) depends on it. I believe this is what makes serving one of the most mentally strenuous jobs. You bottle up and hide your emotions and if you are having a particularly bad day, it hurts your mental well being.
I think your emotions may affect your decision making. If you are upset or having a bad day, you may be more at risk of making rash decisions. It also can affect productivity and satisfaction. As I have mentioned before, a happy employee tends to be a more productive and satisfied employee. Therefore, it is key to be able to regulate emotions in the workplace efficiently.

Commitment: Good Times, Bad Times

The fun activities I do with my friends and coworkers are activities I rate as a level 7 activity. These kinds of activities are crucial when you are just forming relationships. However, once you have established a relationship, it is the second category of more serious activities that generate more commitment from me to them. These serious activities are those in which I rate as a level 10 activity. There is a saying that I really believe in that goes “If you don’t love me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best”. This saying is so popular it has even been made into memes. Although it is meant for personal relationships, I think it can and should be applied to any type of relationship. It is through the bad times you see those who are more committed to you, and in turn, gets my commitment.