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.

 

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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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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