Speaker provides tips for overcoming adversity to strengthen leadership skills

Theresa Balick

A local emotional intelligence trainer told students Friday in the Gentile Gallery that the key to becoming an effective leader is to develop emotional intelligence in the face of adversity. 

Steve Gavatortain a talk co-sponsored by the Master of Catholic Leadership programthe School of Professional Programs and the Center for Leadership, addressed students on the importance of learning how to deal with adversity in order to best lead others. 

Leaders really sprout up and come about when adversity strikes,” Gavatorta said.  

In order to handle the challenges that arise in the face of difficultyGavatorta said that developing emotional intelligence is the key to good leadership.  

You want to respond rationally, not emotionally,” said Gavatorta 

Gavatorta explained the different parts of the brain that handle the emotions and rational thinking. He said that developing the cortex, the rational part of the brain, is important so that it can take control of the limbic system, the freezefight or flight part of the brain, during a difficult or stressful situation. 

“You want to prevent the transfer of authority from the cortex to the limbic,” Gavatorta said. “You have to stay in that normal state of mind because … once you’re in the limbic, you’re going to need what? (A) time out.”  

In addition to talking about how to overcome adversity, Gavatorta gave advice to students on how to effectively lead different types of people. He explained Carl Jung’s DISC personality styles and how people react to similar situations in different ways. 

The four DISC personalitiesdominance, influence, steadiness and compliance, apply to different types of people.  

People with dominant personalities tend to act more ambitiously and react quickly. People with influential personalities like to be around people and prefer lively work environments. People with steady personalities are systematic and loyal, whereas those with compliant personalities are more analytical and are the slowest to respond to change.  

Gavatorta said that leaders must learn to communicate with each DISC type in order to reach everyone comfortably.  

An effective leader knows this about themselves and those they lead,” Gavatorta said.  

Francesco Pinque, a freshman in the Center for Leadership, said that he benefited from Gavatorta’s talk.  

“His message of staying calm and collected in the midst of adversity as the quality of a great leader will certainly help me in the future to whatever path God is calling me to,” Pinque said.  

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