5th Station – Tenacity in the face of adversity


You need to be online (with audio) to watch some TED Talks and have a pen and paper to hand to capture your thoughts. Have the Discovering a Spirit of Leadership resource sheet to hand and a marker pen to play TED Talks Bingo.

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Perhaps the greatest test of a leader is how they cope in the face of adversity; how they lead through the bad times as well as the good. In a crisis we look to our leaders to provide stability and strength, to reassure us, to rise to the challenge and make the best decisions that will lead us safely through. Leadership during difficult times require a greater degree of emotional and mental strength, compassion and humaneness. The most effective leaders build a common sense of purpose and community at these times, remaining positive and disciplined in focusing on the outcome that has to be achieved. They are tenacious and resilient, courageously pursuing solutions, learning from mistakes and overcoming setbacks and obstacles along the way.

Watch and Learn:

Explore some of the different TED Talks listed below. As you browse the talks consider the following questions (and make notes).

As you watch the videos listen out for mention of the 12 Round Square Discoveries and mark them off as you hear them. If you get a “full house” jump out of your chair and scream to surprise your family:

How to stay motivated? The Lion’s Way

A motivational rundown of the qualities and attitudes for leadership in the face of challenge.

Stanley McChrystal: ‘Listen, learn … then lead’

Four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military, and the challenges and rewards of building and maintaining, within a diverse team, a sense of shared purpose, trust and a common bond in the face of adversity.

Halla Tómasdóttir and Bryn Freedman: The crisis of leadership and a new way forward

What should modern leadership look like? Entrepreneur and former Icelandic presidential candidate Halla Tómasdóttir thinks global leaders need to change their ways — or risk becoming irrelevant. “There’s a leader inside every single one of us,” she says, “and our most important work in life is to release that leader.”

Consolidate with a task:

Think about the key messages you have taken from the videos and reflect on what these tell us about tenacious and resilient leadership. Which key messages stood out the most to you? Which messages were not so significant?

See if you can think of a list of ten key messages that tenacious leaders might use to keep us motivated in times of adversity. Cut your list into strips with one message on each. Share your messages with your family (or your classmates if you are working in a group). Ask them to sort the statements into order of which key messages they would find to be the most important or effective motivators.

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