How Interning at Aileron Made Me a More Conscious Leader

Feb 13, 2019 9:02 AM by Aileron

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It can be really hard to see from another’s perspective.

As a current senior at the University of Dayton as well as an intern at Aileron, my days are split between two different worlds. At times, it can feel impossible to understand my colleagues, my classmates, or both. But I’ve come to learn it’s possible to not only understand my peers but flourish in courageous conversations with conscious leadership. 

“The ability of a leader to empathize impacts employee
engagement, retention and performance. It is critical to good teamwork.”

(Richard Wellins, Forbes)

One of the most valuable things I’ve learned during my time at Aileron is how to connect my thoughts, emotions, and actions. Often, without our awareness, thoughts are automatically generated. These may be based on our individual values or beliefs. Our thoughts generate emotions which then drive our actions.

For example, consider a situation where someone cuts you off on the highway. Your initial reaction is probably to honk—you feel angry, and that leads you to honk the horn. But my time at Aileron encouraged me to consider in that moment a thought change. Perhaps there was a good reason that car cut you off. Because you don’t have the ability to see from their perspective, you can’t fully understand their thinking.

By taking the time to respond instead of simply reacting in the moment, we can have more honest, helpful, and encouraging conversations.I have had the opportunity to serve as the Pride of Dayton Marching Band’s Chief Executive Officer for the past two years. In that role, I oversaw a committee of thirty students. Each year before band camp, we held a leadership camp for the leadership team. This year I chose to focus the camp around personal development and team skills.

One of the topics we discussed was the Thought, Emotion, and Action model—or “TEA.” 

Thought Emotion Action Image-1

As a result of this training, I have also seen a dramatic change in the attitude of the band which has affected our ability to reach our goals.

Empathy is vital to healthy relationships—without it we simply cannot understand one another. Learning how to challenge my natural thought process has impacted me both personally and professionally. I can already see an impact on my team and I believe that most teams would grow by putting this behavior into practice.

As my Aileron internship comes to a close, I’m grateful to have a clear and helpful process when approaching a conversation or project. And I’m a firm believer that every leader, business owner, or aspiring entrepreneur benefits from being more conscious of their thoughts, emotions, and actions.

Want to learn more about connecting your thoughts, emotions, and actions? Join our Explore Conscious Leadership program today!

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