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"The Trust Laboratory": Experimenting with Communication and Informal Authority

  • Author(s): Martin, Ashley
  • Advisor(s): Porter, Lisa
  • et al.
Abstract

I utilized What of the Night as a leadership laboratory to experiment with tactics for building trust and establishing informal authority with my collaborators. I learned that I am most engaged as a leader when I closely consider the group’s dynamic and adapt my methods accordingly. My first trial was with the stage management team. I directly invited their feedback on my methodology, requested their perspective on production challenges, and practiced translating my direct language into indirect communication. This openness to feedback communicated trust, enhancing my connection to the team. However, it also provided an opportunity for the team to push hierarchical boundaries, causing me to increase my efforts in reasserting the structure. Next, I worked closely with the design team by articulating my expectations of self-advocacy. I spoke with pathos, promised to advocate for the designs, and provided concrete suggestions for how to improve group communication. Utilizing this authority during the transition into technical rehearsals prepared both the stage management and design teams for the shift into the theater and the challenges ahead. Finally, I built trust and authority with the director by offering myself as a guide to the UC San Diego collaborative structures and as a resource for a personal challenge outside of the production process. Ultimately, my risk-taking on the What of the Night collaboration enhanced my leadership confidence and intuition. I will incorporate these lessons courageously and continue to experiment with enhancing group trust and connection through this transparent, efficient, and adaptive approach.

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