Monday, August 17, 2015

Braxton SL3

Alright, home stretch. Here we go...

Chapter 8: What is emotional intelligence (EI)?  In what ways are you strongest in EI?  How do you get EI "smarter"?

EI is essentially the lump sum of all of your social and interpersonal skills, and it is practically necessary for successful leadership. I'm sure exactly what my strongest areas of EI are, so it's probably not self-awareness. Instead, it might be habit-breaking, as I've recently had to break several old habits to improve my leadership abilities, and I at least like to think it wasn't too difficult, but I don't know. In order to get EI smarter, go through the three F's, and especially the feedback part. You need to know how you're doing. Then, you need to make an active change in your personality to improve your EI.

Chapter 8: What is the coach's role in developing leadership capacity in the team?  A mentor's role?  A student's role?

On our team, our coach's role in developing leadership capacity is producing courses such as the one we are enrolled in now in order to develop our leadership abilities. He also, in addition with the mentors, mentor students and teach them not only technical skills, but also teach leadership skills by example. Students should act as proverbial sponges, and absorb this knowledge, and then apply themselves. They should educate themselves and then put those skills into practice.

Chapter 8: Hunter lists three key steps for ongoing change: foundation, feedback, and friction.  In our FRC team, who sets the foundation?  Who provides the feedback and how?  Who provides the friction and how?

On our FRC team, the foundation is set by several people. FIRST founders, such as Woody Flowers and the glorious Dean Kamen, other teams and their journeys, as well as our coach, mentors, and founding students. All of these people and organizations contributed the foundation our team was founded upon. The feedback is provided by students and mentors. They do this verbally, by email, or even passive-aggressive grumbling. Often, we voice our concerns to each other, and then bring it to Pethan if there is sufficient cause to. This also can contribute to the friction, as some team members and mentors aren't afraid to be up front about problems, and possible solutions to these problems.

Chapter 9: What are the satisfiers that get people to show up to robotics and exert at least minimum effort?  What are the specific motivators that push some students to work very hard for the team beyond simply being present?

One of the satisfiers that encourage lazy students is a lack of discipline. If a student isn't doing anything, or is playing video games, or is goofing off, what happens to them? Nothing more than a quick talk and maybe a task. There's no detriment to simply continue what they were doing, day in and day out. Now, I'm not saying that we should start flogging people, quite the opposite. We should treat the cause rather than the symptom, and give them a purpose and a motivator. Ideally, we shouldn't have to take away iPads or yell at people. They would be trustworthy enough to instead work, and then play games on their own time, or during a (not overly frequent) break. Some motivators would be the obvious, like scholarships, or the more abstract, like a sense of belonging and pride in their work, which tends to be on the high end of quality.

Chapter 9: How much "hunger for excellence" do you think we have as a team?  In your view, are we shooting to be the best or trying to just be mediocre?

On our team, I feel like we're starting to really find out how good we really are, and our hunger before that definitely contributed. We we're pretty shocked to see how well we did this past year, as compared to 2014, and we now believe we can do even better. So I'd say we definitely strive for the best, even if that is sometimes forgotten in times of distraction.


In this final section of reading, I learned about the more abstract of leadership, such as emotional intelligence, the three F's, satisfiers and motivators, and the hunger for excellence. It summed up a summer's worth of reading and this book, and this entire course has taught me a great deal about leadership styles and traits. Now, that I'm done, I think I'll celebrate Now that I'm done, I think I'll celebrate...


  1. A very well deserved celebration indeed. I've enjoyed reading all of your posts this summer and watching you grow over the past 10 months. You exemplify the idea that leadership is a choice, not a trait, and it will be great to talk about that as we reflect on the summer and plan for how we will lead together this season.

  2. I agree with how we need to punish people for not working. I think that it is a good idea to give them a motivator.

    1. Would you be motivated if I punished you for not working? Or would you just stop coming?