Spark Leadership Reflection

As I’m sure many of my fellow leadership kids would agree, leadership camps have gotten a little boring. Many of us anticipated hating Spark because we didn’t think there was much more we could learn or experience. I was pleasantly surprised by my time at Spark Leadership Series.

I really enjoyed getting to know the members of Team Involvement! I think that’s what made Spark a better experience for me personally, because I actually felt a connection with the people I participated with. During Leadership Safari, we all just went through the motions and never established relationships, and to this day me and my group members don’t talk when we see each other. Since Spark I’ve seen and talked to multiple team members and feel like I even made a new friend.

I also feel like I learned something related to leadership that I can apply to my future experiences. Doing the leadership styles assessment was very enlightening to me because I received a result I wasn’t expecting. My primary leadership style was Systematic; that result wasn’t so much surprising as was the style I didn’t get. I really believed I was going to get direct leadership. I’m a very straight forward person, some may use the word direct, when it comes to projects, event planning, etc. But in reflection, I think that mentality comes from my need for organization. I was also surprised that before i received direct, I got spirited leadership! I am the most mellow, unenthusiastic person I know, so to be so wrong on my idea of leadership was definitely surprising. It gave me a new perspective on leadership though; I clearly have the power to be spirited when I need to be.

I would definitely suggest this program to others, because I really enjoyed my time. Though it did overlap with a class and interrupted my dinner time, I looked forward to going each week and think it’s a great concept. And I even played a few games I never had before!!

Structure built by random household objects to support a 16oz can of Pepsi: Mission accomplished

Structure built by random household objects to support a 16oz can of Pepsi: Mission accomplished


Leadership: Yes or No?

Does leadership come from a yes or no? I was so confused as to what this question was asking me, that I waited so long before I decided to identify the answer. I think most people would tell you there is no answer; it is all up to interpretation. I don’t think leadership is a yes or a no, because your ability to answer with both is the most valuable piece of leadership you could have.

As leaders, we are inclined to say yes to everything. We like having a hand in on everything and most of us enjoy staying busy. It’s that kind of attitude that makes leadership a yes. There are also those YES! leaders who are spirited and open-minded to all possibilities of an idea, project, or movement; some people are better at yes leadership than others in this respect. I think leadership can be just as important from a no. Sometimes, the hardest thing you will ever do will simply be saying no. No to the alcoholic drink your friends are pressuring you to down, no to condoning bullying, no to procrastinating your deadline for a project. Our drive and integrity as leaders is just as strong and important when saying yes as it is when saying no.

Honestly, it takes a strong individual, leader or not, to say no, especially to the scenarios I stated earlier. But, I think that’s why “No” leadership is important; anyone can say yes or no, but a leader knows when it’s appropriate to say yes or to say no, and recognizes that the choice defines you, as well as it defines the people who choose to follow you.

“A leader is one that knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

John C. Maxwell once said this and I think it summarizes my point. A leader knows the way; they know right from wrong, yes or no. They follow the path they know, by living by the ideals and values their yes or no presents. Finally, they show the way. By saying yes to the good and no to the bad, a leader is inspiring others to make the responsible choice. Being a leader often means making tough decisions and your ability to say no is definitely a defining characteristic.


Ted Talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

I know I am stating an unpopular opinion in regards to this Ted Talk. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the talk and found Simon Sinek to be very inspirational; I just don’t agree with the premise of his talk.

In the Ted Talk, Simon introduced the Golden Circle. This circle consists of the What, How, And Why of a business. The What being what product they make; the how is how they make their product, and the why is why that company makes what it does. Simon says “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” He talks about why Apple Inc. is so successful. It is because they advertise, first, why they make their product, second, how they make it, and thirdly, what they make. This is in reverse from how most promote their products, which is why they are the leading company in the field. He believe that to be successful as a business or a successful leader, you must inspire people first by your “why” instead of your “what”.

In an ideal world, I believe this is true, but I also think this idea is conditional. Take the online company Ivory Ella. This company is based on the premise that the sales they make go to rescuing and saving elephants. In reality, only 10% of the proceeds go to the charity they base their advertising on. This is personally why I won’t support this brand. When I’ve told my friends this fact, most of them responded, “Who cares, they make cute clothes.” This proves my point, that people buy your what just as much as they buy your why. I believe the idea of someone’s why makes it easier for people to make decisions; they can feel better about what it is they are doing. Even Nike is this way. People say they buy Nike for the quality and the effects of the branding and clothing, but it is just as much because it’s a name brand. You can’t have the why without the how and what, and I really would question anyone that says they only buy for the why.

Regardless of my opinion, I will give Simon Sinek props for the Ted Talk, because it was very inspirational. He has a great way of making you want to believe what he believes solely on his ability to affect an audience and inspire others. In regards to leadership, I can definitely see the connection to why we do the things we do and it being an incentive for others. I also think it is important to know your why as leader, so when others look to you for guidance, you know the what, the how, and the why.