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.

 

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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PSY 100L: Humans and the Mind

One of the Leadership Advancement Scholarship required courses was Introduction to Psychology. This class was taken as a cohort, which are my personal favorites. On top of the fact that lectures are basically a none stop party, it’s great to have 40 other people to turn to for help. The ability to understand humans and what drives them is a huge part of leadership, as well as constantly seeking to further our knowledge of one another.

Though I enjoy the topic of Psychology, I didn’t particularly like this course. The first thing I learned is that it is extremely difficult to follow a lecture solely recited from a PowerPoint. The subject is so interesting I think my professor should have found a way to make it more engaging. As the semester came to a close, less and less people showed up for lecture because the course we majority self taught. The homework, however, was extremely effective as a study tool. I really liked the online program the course was run under. It had an online textbook, a dictionary for the course, and highlighting tools for the e-book. The homework also gives feedback on both the incorrect and correct responses. Of all the courses I’ve taken this semester I think I’ve retained the most in psychology.

Psychology plays into leadership more than most people might realize. Positive and negative reinforcers are used by leaders to encourage actions from their group members or to inhibit actions. We also have to take each persons sense of identity and personal characteristics like, race, religion, and demographic when leading because all these factors can affect how a person perceives your leadership and how receptive they will be to you. I think it is important for leaders to be knowledgeable in the study of human behavior because leadership in a way goes against that nature. We are all made to be independent beings, with free will and our own thoughts, so being a follower is often times difficult. Understanding the proper way to relate to others and communicate based on psychological theory and behavior is important to the success of any leader.

“Man can alter this life by altering his thinking.” -William James (American Psychologist)