The Center for Leadership Research & Development, located within the School of Psychology Family and Community, is closely affiliated with the Department of Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Seattle Pacific University, and affixed with the community of people and organizations committed to developing the leadership potential in a generation.www.spu.edu/orgpsych
Before I started graduate school, many warned me that what I learned would change me. How true this has been and how little I knew. As a first year PhD student in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, the experiences and lessons before me are countless. In less than a year, I have learned a completely new way of thinking, I have been taught how to lead a client, understand large data, and what working on a team can really mean. As a member of Dr. McKenna’s research team, I have been challenged, stretched, and encouraged, and that was just in week one. As a member of this team I am surrounded by inspiring individuals who are not only passionate about their own purpose and development, but that of the clients and people they serve. While we conduct research on what it means to develop as a leader, we genuinely care about the deeper level of an individual’s development.
During a recent research meeting, we were discussing our mission and the big “why” behind what we do at the Center for Leadership Research & Development and our team specifically. I listened as my teammates spoke their opinions from their varying perspectives about the work and research we do. After the meeting, I was left with these thoughts…
As I see it, we exist to tell the story that people were created with intention and purpose, end of story. Understanding that if they do not ask questions in honest, vulnerable, nitty gritty reflection, they will default to what they know, to the people who surround them, or to what has been acted upon them. So often it seems like our jobs focus our attention on one set of skills, one set of abilities, and one set of strengths and weakness. We believe there is more to a person than this.
Skills can be developed. Purpose is a real thing that most people feel. Calling is something that most have a sense of. People affect our lives; whether it is our past that affects how we impulsively act under pressure, if it is the people we invest in (by choice or default), or if it who has our back when times get rough and we need guidance. Long story short, people are unique, they are created, but they do not act alone, nor do they exist in their environment without being affected. And beyond what happens on an individual level, we will inevitably be in situations where all of these aspects will be pulled and there will be no clear answer. We then find ourselves in a place of wondering who am I, what is my calling, who does have my back and so on… We recognize that many of us ask questions, we just rarely ask them at work. We exist to create this space.”
– McKendree Hickory