At MCC, we cultivate our crew leaders during the spring months when trails and weeds are buried under snow. These emerging leaders receive training in their first months in leadership and interpersonal skills, facilitation, first aid, Leave No Trace, team building, civic engagement, and project skills like using a chainsaw and trail building. MCC’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) has earned a reputation for being transformational – grounding emerging leaders with self-awareness and preparing them with versatile skills to lead a team – not just a crew.
We asked Greater Yellowstone Region crew leader Ally to reflect on her LDP experience and the field season ahead.
MCC: Tell us about your overall impression of the LDP so far:
Ally: As a new employee at any company, it’s pretty typical to have to attend some sort of training about how to be a good leader in the workplace. But LDP is different because it doesn’t feel like a requirement. For me, it felt like an opportunity to learn about myself and grow.
MCC: What have you found most impactful about the LDP?
Ally: Part of what made it so impactful was the instructor, Shannon Stober. [A former MCC Program Director, Shannon continues as a lead trainer for MCC’s LDP]. She showed up every day with such passion, despite the challenging circumstances due to COVID-19. She inspired me to take full advantage of this program, learning both the good and hard things about myself. One of the lessons that stood out to me was about psychological needs and how they can impact emotional reactions to adversity. This training also included emotional intelligence lessons. Shannon honed in on the intrapersonal relationships we will be having within the intense social environment of a crew where we are living and working with each other for nine days at a time in the unpredictable conditions of the natural world.
MCC: How do you think these insights will impact your role as a crew leader?
Ally: MCC’s leadership development trains you to invoke compassion within instances of conflict and adversity, which is essential for a well-functioning crew. This knowledge will not only help with my professional relationships throughout the season, but I can also use what I learned in close relationships in my personal life. Many people advise to keep your work and home life separate, but in this instance, I truly believe that these skills should be used in and outside of the workplace. They have the potential to bring society together in such a divided country.
Without the leadership development program, creating a culture of care within my group, inspiring buy-in within the crew members, and facilitating a healthy learning environment would be a lot more difficult. This program is essential in training leaders to carry out the mission of MCC: inspiring personal growth, creating engaged citizens and lifelong stewards of the land. My goal this season is to be a leader who encourages personal growth learned through adversity and conflict.
Thanks, and have a great season Ally! Your crew members will benefit from the self-awareness you’ve gained through the LDP, and the skills you’ve honed to help bring out the best within your crew members.