Adversity can sometimes be the ultimate test to judge one’s leadership ability. It was only one year ago that my friend/mentor Edward Wrynn, won the position as Chapter President of our fraternity. Before he could even hold his first meeting, motion his first vote, or even delegate a task, his responsibility to the fraternity would immediately be tested.
Upon taking over the Presidential position, he also inherited two semesters of poor (or to be brutally honest), absent leadership from the former President. You can consider the state of our fraternity at the time as a microcosm of the current economy, and basically Ed assumed the role of Obama, the man chosen to lead us through this difficult period.
However, he also had to do this without any officer transition or guidance from the previous President. But instead of dwelling upon the uphill battle he was faced with, Ed took it upon himself to learn his position on the fly. His combination of being able to see what areas within our fraternity needed to be addressed and contacting the appropriate people to help him address it, were important factors in him being able to turn a negative situation into a positive outcome and navigate the possible traps that come with it.
The lesson that I gained from his experience as President, is that no matter how difficult a situation may seem, more times than not, you can find a solution. Part of being a leader is having the motivation and persistence to attack a situation efficiently and effectively. Also, you can never be too stubborn that it hinders you from asking for help. It is always a benefit when there is someone you can go to for advice.
For me, Ed is the perfect person to go to for help because he’s had my position, and there’s still many things I can learn from him. Ed didn’t have the ability to get help from his former president, but he did recognize that he had more resources at his disposal than just one person.
Knowing that fact, as well as realizing the situation Ed inherited coming into his term, allows me to gain perspective whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, and should also be lesson that others can take away from his experience.