Adaptive Leadership at Truth Initiative

Today marked the end of my seventh week at Truth Initiative. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in the organization’s virtual, summer staff outing. Typically, Truth Initiative hosts a summer event, a team bonding activity/ an excursion, for all staff-members. I believe they also host a second event, sometime either in the fall or winter. In light of COVID, the summer activity this year took place over Zoom. This ultimately increased staff participation as some Truth Initiative employees routinely work remotely from other states around the country. Utilizing an outside teambuilding company, Truth Initiative planned a “tiny campfire” event. The meeting and events department divided all staff members into random groups of four, and the groups competed against one another in various camp themed activities. My group members, whom I had never met before, appointed me as the group leader. This meant that I presented our team name, symbol, and handshake to our greater breakout group. Initially, I was nervous about this role, but ultimately, I realized it didn’t matter if I made a fool out of myself because I did not know anyone in my breakout session; it didn’t matter what they thought of me. After I came to this realization, I really leaned into the role and had fun with it. It is worth noting that the teambuilding company sent each participant a packet in the mail which contained a “tiny s’mores making kit.”

While the above paragraph may initially seem like a random anecdote about my summer internship experience, I believe that the summer outing demonstrates that the leaders at Truth Initiative adapt in order to best meet the needs of their employees and ultimately reach their goals. Their leadership style aligns Heifetz’s Adaptive Leadership. Truth Initiative’s annual summer outing is an event that employees look forward to every year. Therefore, in light of COVID, the organization’s leadership team asked the meetings and events office to come up with a way to make the event happen virtually. In this situation, COVID proved to be the challenge that the company’s leadership team needed to mitigate. By hosting events such as the virtual summer outing, Truth Initiative’s leaders keep their employees inspired and encouraged.