In my first response in regard to the model of leadership that VOICES embodies, I emphasized the relevance of four qualities of transformational leadership, according to Bass & Avolio. These four qualities are as follows: charisma/idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. Given how the organization has had to shift its response to COVID-19, I believe that these qualities are still vital to the organization in terms of how they have been reaching both a broader audience and new interns/staff virtually.
VOICES has been hosting various webinars educating people about mental health issues during COVID-19. Throughout the past few weeks, not only have I attended all of the VOICES’ webinars, but I have also participated in other organizations’ webinars, such as FEMA and Open to Hope. What I have noticed about VOICES compared to the other organizations is its ability to connect on a personal level with the audience. I think that the format of these webinars – roundtable discussions – is much more effective than a lecture-based series. Engaging in a casual conversation enables viewers to feel comfortable and heard. The ability to invoke this capacity suggests both charisma and individualized consideration, given the fact that all of these interactions are remote, yet invoke specific emotions in followers that create high retention rates of viewers each week. While I do not know the statistics about viewers of other organizations’ webinars, I know that VOICES has been successful in maintaining and increasing numbers, which can largely be attributed to this personal, individualized experience via transformational leadership.
In addition to these webinars, the organization has been able to maintain inspirational motivation and individualized consideration over us, interns, by giving us responsibility for projects. Currently, the interns and I are working on a video that the organization is planning on premiering at their annual gala. In this video, we plan on interviewing ten people who have direct experiences with events, such as 9/11 and other acts of mass terror, in order to understand how VOICES is in a beneficial position to provide additional support for these victims in the midst of COVID-19. This project has forced us as interns to be creative in how we will reach out to these people and how we will conduct remote interviews. The fact that this video will be shown at the gala inspires us to make it as good as possible but also challenges us to think outside of the box given these unprecedented conditions. I am excited to see how the video turns out given these obstacles.
Thus, throughout the webinars and the video project, the leadership at voices is affecting both its clients and the interns through the four elements of transformational leadership that I highlighted: charisma/idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration.