Masters Class Session One Class Reflection by Hatton Littman, Class of 2017, Masters 2019 – Missoula
The Leadership Montana Master’s Class is finally here and twenty dynamic leaders from across the state assumed the role of learner in order to deepen their understanding of self and specific behaviors of successful leaders. As it always goes with Leadership Montana events, I was humbled to be in the company of so much greatness and authenticity. I would say that our cohort also exuded deep gratitude to our peers for being an essential ingredient in our learning process.
We met for three days in Pray, MT at the newly built Sage Lodge. Like many Leadership Montana experiences, the setting did not disappoint. Out of every window, the landscape of our state framed like a work of art, shined in a way that only Montana can. It inspired peace, calm and confidence knowing that we are working to help our state thrive and that our natural setting is supporting and holding us in return for our efforts.
I took away two key experiences from Session one – work with our Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and deep and meaningful gracious space conversations about issues that are important to Montana.
The three days included fast-paced and deep learning from our 360-degree evaluations completed by our supervisors, peers and direct reports. The resulting Leadership Practices Inventory measured the evidence of specific leadership behaviors in five key domains. It gave us reflections on how frequently each of us exhibited these key leadership behaviors in our daily work. The LPI also included anecdotal feedback in addition to the quantitative ratings. Holding up the mirror to my effectiveness as a leader left me feeling invigorated with tools to improve. What I found most helpful was the focus on specific behaviors that I could increase and emphasize in my work with others rather than feel overwhelmed about a need to change a foundational element of my character.
On our second night together, we held Gracious Space table conversations at dinner. There was some communication/emotional heavy lifting after a long day of learning. What I valued the most about it was the ability to work out our Gracious Space muscles at a time when we were tired, possibly a few cocktails into the evening, and looking for rest from a long day. In my life, that is exactly when I am challenged by the need to bring Gracious Space to a conversation, without advance notice! I appreciated getting to build my skills in such a supportive setting. I cannot say that we solved our health care, gun reform, sexual assault and harassment, taxation or other important issues in one dinner conversation. However, I can say that we learned a lot and got closer to solutions through intentional practice of building knowledge, collaboration and civility.