Leadership in Communication

In a full circle back to last years LDR 200, my LAS class took a communications class focused solely on how it interacts with leadership. I have to say, I have lost the meaning of “leadership”. It’s like if you eat the same food for a week long, you end up hating the food; thats how I feel about leadership. I came into college thinking leader was the best thing to aspire to. Realistically, it is an undefinable word that no one can really give you or anyone else. I will say, this class has many important lessons regardless on a leadership position; communication is key of course.

I believe communication in the work place is one of the most important lessons from this class. We really broke down the dynamics of work place involvement and mutual respect. We discussed dealing with conflict, be an appropriate follower, and addressing when to take advantage of your personal leadership in a hierarchy. I have never been in a super professional work place, but I know I have some traits that could get me in trouble in a follower position. I do like evaluating my personality in classes like this.

The problem with “leadership in communication” is we can never stop communicating; but through all my leadership courses, it seems as if you can never stop being a leader either, which is exhausting to think about. In addition to that, those who aren’t leaders still communicate, so yes you have communication in leadership, but you don’t have to have leadership to communicate. These connections are what make it so difficult to define both terms across a broad board and for different groups of people.

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Facing Moral Problems

While Millennials are the most progressive and socially active, Americans specifically still face age old moral problems. My Philosophy class in the fall was about these moral problems and how we rationalize these problems and their facts to come to a conclusion and an opinion. We covered a broad spectrum of topics including, abortion, capital punishment, gay marriage, and torture among others. At face value, all of these topics are ones most individuals try to avoid at all costs; opinions are emotional and strong, which often leads to conflicts. I was especially nervous, because my class was comprised completely of passionate leaders, with strong will, and a personal friendship with me.

First, my professor was the quirkiest person I think I have ever met. I think it stemmed from extreme intelligence, but he was all over the place. I enjoyed this comic relief, even though he didn’t mean to, because it allowed for a relaxed and civil environment. Second, I personally am very reactive and very opinionated, which many don’t find surprising; that being said, I spoke a lot. I wish more people spoke up during the semester; the class was about being able to communicate and validate why we hold our opinions, and their were very few people who actively participated.

I learned a lot from this class that I think is relevant not only to leadership, but also life in general. I found myself very offended by some comments and I reacted well to some, and not well to others. I learned how to build arguments and validate my own opinions in a less reactive way and into a more educational way. Considering we are facing the same moral problems in the 21st Century as we did in the 19th, I think this class is an important one for leader and personal growth. PHL 118

This is my argument paper I wrote for philosophy in regards to prostitution: Prostitution Paper!!

 

LDR 200L Reflection

When you hear that you are required to take a 3 hour lecture course, most people wouldn’t be thrilled, even if it is your favorite topic in the world. So naturally, I assumed Leadership 200L would be long and tiresome. But what could be better than taking the longest class of your life with all your best friends who happen to also be smart, caring, and motivated….nothing really.

Leadership 200 was very different than leadership 100; first, it went from being a “for credit” to 3 credit hours, aka, a lot more work. And, we were already very much acquainted  by second semester, unlike LDR 100. We got into more depth on the philosophical, and theoretical aspects of leadership. I had never really taken much thought to the idea that leadership was study-able, because it was just a natural reaction for me.

I personally presented on the theory of Servant Leadership.  I personally enjoyed this theory as it related to our service project LAS in the D, which I have previously blogged about.  It was one of the theories that I felt to be the most personal. I can honestly say that after researching the theory, I wouldn’t consider myself a servant leader. Yes, I volunteer way more than the average person and I don my part to take care of others, however, I can’t say I possess all the characteristics that make a servant leader. One thing I know about myself is I am very considerate and very empathetic. Many people don’t see that in me. I realized that even though I know how I’m feeling on the inside, I need others to see it on the outside as well. Until I figure out how to expose myself to my followers, I can’t succeed as a servant leader.

I appreciate this class mainly for the internal struggle it forced me to address. I think I am leaving the class with more tools to be a better person and better leader.

 

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.

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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.