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.

Advertisements

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!!

 

Theory Application: My Freshman Year of College

My leadership style has definitely changed since being in college, because I’ve been exposed to other styles and people. I have become more conscious of myself as a leader and think for the first time I’ve begun to identify how I can get better. In my leadership philosophy paper I tried to emphasize  the things I can already do and the also thing things I want to be able to do. It is really hard to look at yourself and be judgmental, but I think it is the only way I will get better as a leader, as well as a person.

The one experience I’ve had thus far in college with a leadership theory was my first group project in Business 100. We didn’t get to pick our groups, so it was my first experience truly working with people I didn’t know. I became the team leader, not even because I volunteered, but no one else wanted to. I have a very direct leadership style, similarly to the ideas discussed in Path-Goal theory. I know this often comes off as bossy and brass to people, so I consciously made an effort to ease into the group project and assess my group members before choosing which leadership path I was going to make. I also lack patience in many situations and expect perfection; perfection is different for everyone so I had to accept that someone else’s hard work may not be to my standard and I would have to roll with what I had.

Specifically how I applied this theory was in regards to my group members business ability. I felt like I was answering a lot of dumb questions regarding research, work ethic, and comprehension so I had to make sure my reaction to these questions was appropriate for the situation. When I was growing more and more frustrated I had to look internally and decide what type of leader I wanted to be. At that point, the needs of the group and the project required something different than what I wanted to give, therefore I had to choose to be a responsible, respectful leader instead of reacting in a way I personally wanted to. Leadership is definitely learning to put your emotions aside for the greater good of your followers. I think learning about leadership theories has made me see ways in which I can improve and grow and I look forward to seeing my growth over the next few years.

Fred Factor Reflection

Our LDR100 is currently working on an innovation project on “How to be a Fred”. Fred is a real life mailman the author and public speaker, Mark Sanborn, says changed his life. He later wrote a book about Fred that outlined the principles that mailman Fred taught him by simply delivering his mail; this book is called The Fred Factor. In groups of 7-8 LASers, we were challenged to create a unique way to be a “Fred” for ourselves and for others.

The Fred Principles:

  1. Everyone Makes A Difference
    1. “Nobody can prevent you from choosing to be exceptional.”
  2. Success Is Built On Relationships:
    1. “…the quality of the relationship determines the the quality of the product or service.”
  3. You Must Constantly Create Value For Others, And It Doesn’t Have To Cost A Penny:
    1. “The truth is that we compete against our own potential every day.”
  4. You Can Reinvent Yourself Regularly:
    1. “You can make your business, as well as your life, anything you choose it to be.”

For our project, we based our idea off of a Youtube video about gratitude. This video states that it can be scientifically proven that people who show more gratitude are overall happier people. They also performed an experiment:

 The Science of Happiness: An Experiment in Gratitude

We wanted to focus more on how the people we reach out to can change their important people’s lives, instead of us being the Fred and changing theirs. We are just offering them a new perspective. We stopped kids walking to class around campus. We asked them to pick the one person that is the most influential in their life or someone they really appreciate. We then asked them to write down 5 things they are thankful for or admire about there person. After that, we asked them to call their significant person. Though we couldn’t scientifically prove that they felt more happiness after expressing gratitude, you could visually tell they felt good about it.

Our Fred Factor Effects:

Principle 1- Everyone Can Make A Difference: Though it was something small, they made that person’s day a little better by showing gratitude and appreciation.

Principle 2- Success Is Based On Relationships: Their relationship was positively improved by simply calling and thanking their important person. Whether they called a parent, a friend, teacher, or sibling, that relationship will be better because they now know how important they are to each other and are happier because of it.

Principle 3: You Must Constantly Create Value For Others:The value that they placed on the person they felt gratitude for created value for that person in regards to themselves. Sometimes everyone needs a confidence boost and receiving appreciation from someone you care about it a great feeling. They both now also have an increase in value towards showing gratitude as well as happiness.

Principle 4: You Can Reinvent Yourself Regularly: These people reinvented themselves the second they made the call. They are sharing appreciation and happiness that they may not have though to give had we not inspired them. They can also continue to reinvent themselves by continuing to make those calls, and the people they called have the opportunity too.

This is our video of people showing gratitude @ CMU and the happiness they feel because of it:

Fred Factor: Gratitude Project

Connections Conference 2015

Connections Conference is a 2 day leadership seminar hosted at Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City by the Leadership Institute at Central Michigan University. Though it is an LAS protocol requirement, it is also open to all members of the university. This year we bussed 200 Central Michigan students and staff to participate in leadership development.Because this conference was meant as professional development, we were required to dress up. This was particularly fun for me because I love dressing up and you don’t have many excuses to in college! I would also like to thank the catering staff for the amazing food. My friends told me it was going to warm ham sandwiches all weekend and I was delightfully pleased with the 3 course meals.

Right off the bat, we were all randomly assigned into Institutes that would act as home base for the conference. This group and leaders focused on the asset/goals plan for us as leaders in our organizations on campus. They showed us how to set goals for our RSO at CMU, how to determine the assets we have to take advantage of, and the factors that have hindered our progress. This process is meant to create goals that we could take back to campus and implement and teach others.

The first educational session I attended was “It’s Not Me, It’s You” in which the topic was how to deal with difficult individuals in leadership, jobs, and life. I personally found this beneficial because there is never a time where you get to choose who you work with. Often times you have to bite your tongue and just survive. One of the things I took from this session was the process of addressing a conflict. My presenter stated, If something bothers you for more that 24 hours, you have 24 hours to then address it. If this time elapses, you must let it go. I never thought of frustration or annoyance as having an expiration date, but it completely makes sense. As leaders, we have to be able to continue to have meaningful and beneficial relationships with the people we work with so I believe this is a great philosophy for everyone to adopt.

One of the other sessions I enjoyed was presented by the one and only, Erin Gaken. First of all, her baby bump was absolutely adorable! Her presentation was “Men can Cry, Women Don’t Have To”, which was focused on gender stereotypes in the workplace. Typically, women are stereotyped as being emotionally driven, where as men are expected to be manly and less emotional. While Erin spoke, I realized how often I’ve accepted these stereotypes. But even so, I am an emotional woman and I enjoy men who can express emotion. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like it would relate to leadership, but on a deeper level, leaders must be accepting, understanding, and thoughtful. If we as leaders refuse to accept each individual for their character and personality, whether it be emotional or unemotional, weak or strong, feminine or manly, we cannot be effective. I found this to be most benefitial to me because I realized a stereotype I’ve been accepting and hope to adjust my mindset to accommodate all individuals as I am a leader of today.

To be honest, I didn’t anticipate making many strong bonds with anyone other than my cohort at Connections. But to my surprise, I met a man named Jack. To this day we talk on a daily basis and get lunch together or go to SAC together often. I really value Jack as a person, and I think he makes me a better person. Out of the whole weekend he is definitely my favorite part (yes, even over the water park), because I believe we will be long time friends. I think we were meant to meet each other to challenge each other, which is what the LI and the Connections Conference intended for us to experience.

Connections Conference 2015

Connections Conference 2015

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)

COM 267L: Leadership Protocol Course in Debate

Communications 267L was a cohort class in debate. As leaders of today it is important that we know how to lead effectively and respectfully and part of that is being able to properly communicate our feelings and opinions. To be frank, I really disliked this course. It is not the essence of the course that I had an issue with, because I actually find debating and research to be interesting, it was the execution of the teaching.

I will leave the name of this professor out by calling him K. K was the professor for my specific class and we immediately got off to a rough start. He often times hindered learning by speaking to me and other as if we were unintelligent and was very argumentative in the opposite way you would expect a debate professor to communicate. We didn’t have our first debate until mid November, 12 weeks into the semester, with little background knowledge of debate and how to debate. We were thrown into research we had absolutely no knowledge of and when we asked questions in regards to the debate I often times found myself dosing off because K’s relies were completely irrelevant to the topics and questions and his tone towards his students made me cringe. All tests were open book, open note so I really didn’t learn anything, and even though I’m not planning on majoring in debate, it is extremely frustrating to sit in a class twice a week that you are getting absolutely nothing out of besides constant mocking and disrespect.

If there is anything I learned from the class it was internal. I realized, as my frustration for K increased, I had to learn how to bite my tongue, and understand that though I wish I could tell him exactly how I feel, it would do me no good. I learned how to not let my face reflect my emotions and consider myself slightly more in control of my frustrations. I also was very impressed with my fellow classmates in our ability to not let the debates and varying opinions affect our relationships outside of the class. I believe this shows what true leaders we all are because of our ability to leave class as good of friends as we had entered.