|What Role Will You Play?|
|Maria Lavooy, PhD, Psi Chi President, Florida Institute of Technology|
If your actions inspire others to dream more,
learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams
You are officially a Psi Chi member. However, although membership in and of
itself speaks to your ability, motivation, and commitment to your education,
there is so much more that Psi Chi has to offer that can benefit you, your
degree, and your career. So, what now? What will be the next step in your
play a key role within the organization. Some members are viewed as leaders
because they appear to have an innate quality that allows them to effortlessly
inspire those around them. Others are seen as leaders because of the roles in
which they are cast or decide to undertake. Either way, leaders are necessary
in order to help integrate the needs of the group members with the goals of the
assuming a leadership position within your chapter may seem daunting, even
overwhelming, the rewards one reaps, both professionally and personally, cannot
be overemphasized. From member recruitment to program planning, from
fund-raising to volunteer project involvement, your management and leadership
skills will improve during your tenure as a chapter officer.
you decide to take on a leadership role within your chapter, indeed, you may
find that there are challenges to assuming an officer position. These are
realities that most organizations face when they are in a leadership transition
phase and they pose a particularly unique challenge for Psi Chi chapters in
that they are often under new leadership every year, and with different
leadership comes different leadership styles. These transitions can be
difficult to manage as there is often a lack of continuity between leaders.
This may stymie chapter progress or require the remaining leaders to work
harder, which can also lead to a resistance by members to take on leadership
roles within a chapter. However, there are things one can do to assist one in a
leadership position and to ensure a relatively smooth transition from one
leader to the next.
Marks, an organizational psychologist, provides leaders with a framework for
facilitating members’ adaptation to this chapter transition. This framework
includes four elements (Marks, 2013).
- Empathy: This
conveys to chapter members that you understand that things may be difficult for
a while but that, if you work to raise their awareness of and facilitate the
adaptation process, the transition can be smooth.
- Engagement: This
helps members to embrace new roles. You can create engagement by an understanding
and support of the need to end the old and accept new chapter realities. Conduct
work expectation meetings, try focusing on short-term objectives, and provide
opportunities to involve members. Ask important questions: Where do we want the
chapter to go and what needs to happen to help us move forward with the chapter?
Many ideas can come from conducting a survey or questionnaire. An important key
is the engagement of members!
- Energy: Get
members and potential new members excited about where your chapter is headed.
This will help members identify the vision. You can create energy by
articulating a clear vision and by setting up opportunities for short-term
wins. Set a tone of communicating and connecting. Involve members; that is,
employ a team approach. You can’t do it alone.
- Enforcement: Link
roles and responsibilities with regard to where the chapter is headed, not
where it came from. Look forward!
are a few more basic things you should keep in mind while undertaking an
exciting new leadership role. At times, you are going to witness progress, but
there will be other times when you will get stuck or even feel that the chapter
has taken a step backwards. This is not a sign of failure. This is the natural
evolution of progress! What is important to remember is this: Where do you and
the members want to take your chapter. As leaders, you can help shape your
chapter into one that will make a difference in the lives of your members, your
college, and your community.
has many faces. What leadership style will you employ to create a positive and
lasting impression for your chapter?
M. L. (2013, April 8). Leading organizational transitions for Psi Chi [Video file].
Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com watch?v=7stcm-59WRc
Maria J. Lavooy
earned an undergraduate degree in biopsychology and went on to earn an
MA and PhD in psychology from Miami University, Ohio. Now in her 27th
year of teaching, she serves as the chair of the Applied Psychology
Program at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida.
She became a member of Psi Chi as an undergraduate in 1978 and has
served as a chapter advisor since beginning her teaching career. She was
a 3-year member of Psi Chi’s Southeastern Regional steering committee
and served Psi Chi in the position of Southeastern Regional
Vice-President, planning Psi Chi events and awards for SEPA’s annual
meetings. She also attends and contributes to numerous conferences and
workshops on behalf of Psi Chi.
Copyright 2014 (Volume 18, Issue 2) by Psi Chi, the
International Honor Society in Psychology
Eye on Psi Chi is a magazine designed to keep members
and alumni up-to-date with all the latest information about Psi Chi’s programs,
awards, and chapter activities. It features informative articles about careers,
graduate school admission, chapter ideas, personal development, the various
fields of psychology, and important issues related to our discipline.
Eye on Psi Chi is published quarterly: