Leadership Theory Application

As a Leader Advancement Scholar at Central Michigan University, I have to follow a specific protocol to ensure my scholarship is renewed each year. Part of the protocol is to volunteer in at least one community service activity. I believe service is essential in leadership because it displays the importance of community, and inspires others to step up as leaders and give back to the community. Some of the service work I have done throughout the course of my freshman year have been: contributing in the making of tie blankets for a children’s hospital, volunteering for Program Board to ensure events on campus run effectively and smoothly, making cards for veterans, visiting my adopted grandparent at her assisted living home, and taking a service trip to Detroit with my LAS cohort.

Through the service I have done to satisfy the LAS protocol, I have witnessed servant leadership in not only myself, but others as well. According to the 7th edition of Leadership: Theory and Practice, by Peter G. Northouse, servant leadership “emphasizes that leaders be attentive to the concerns of their followers, empathize with them, and nurture them. Servant leaders put followers first, empower them, and help them develop their full personal capacities.” There are ten characteristics of a servant leader and I am going to touch on a few that I have seen a few of them in myself, and a few of my friends.

  1. Listening
    • Me 12715305_1005936939473660_5932257340335704333_n When I visit my adopted grandmother, we always communicate with each other. Communication is a two way road: speaking and listening. Even after visiting her multiple times, I always leave with new knowledge acquired from my visit.
    • Josh Geary – Although it was not community service for our protocol, I have seen Josh display the listening characteristic of a servant leader when I was having a hard time one night. He sat there and listened to me ramble on about whatever I was sad about at three in the morning when he could have easily told me he was tired and wanted to go to bed. True leaders are there to listen to others no matter what.
  2. Empathy
    • Me – There was a girl I 12308243_970565349677486_4411004663380731200_n.jpgsaw eating alone in the cafeteria almost every day my first semester at college. I pictured her as myself and wondered how I would feel if I never had anyone to sit with and converse with about my day. One day I rounded up all of my food and took it over to her table and asked if I could eat with her. She said yes and I had a wonderful meal sitting there and talking to a new friend. It’s important to place ourselves in other people’s shoes to see what we would want. After that, we must work to make it happen.
    • Rachel Kremm – Rachel always goes out of her way to make sure people feel welcomed and appreciated. Also, her passion for veganism is so inspiring. She is so concerned with the treatment of animals and expresses the need for change. It is very obvious that she feels empathy for animals and would never want to be treated the way that they are before they are produce.
  3. Building Community
    • Me – I have worked in group projects where not everyone got along great. Collaboration is not only essential for receiving a good grade, but also for overall happiness. It was important for me to get everyone on the same level and see that we all had a common goal and that everyone was needed in the group for a reason. When those two things were realized, the group members actually started to get along and have fun working together, they just needed a mediator to help them realize it.
    • Gunther DeDamos – Gunther never fails to break any awkwardness that ever arises in a group of people. His energy and optimism are infectious and he has the potential to get any group of people to collaborate and work together. Gunther always makes sure people feel recognized and included, and invites anyone into his group to get to know those that he is around.

But Mom, I’m Not Ready To Come Home Yet

Transitioning from a high school with roughly 375 students to a university that has nearly 27,000 students enrolled on-campus and online was a bit of a culture shock to me. However I love being able to venture beyond my small town I call home and interact with new faces everyday. One of my favorite things in the whole entire world is meeting new people, and at college I am constantly doing that.

 

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I fell in love with Central Michigan University before I even moved into Barnes Hall at the beginning of the year. Every bit of my heart loves it here. The people are so friendly, as they always smile at me on my walk to class. There is never a moment when I feel unsafe walking around on the campus. One of my goals before next winter is to actually go out and explore campus at night! Along with so many new experiences, in a new atmosphere I have definitely grown as a person. When I first got to Central, I wanted to major in Recreation and Event Management. After taking the introductory course I realized that was not who I was and I had a little bit of a freak out moment. People are always saying that you don’t need to know your major until the end of your sophomore year, but I wanted to know so I could get going on my classes and not have to worry about picking a major later. I was so stressed out and did not know what to do. I was constantly calling my mom and sister asking them for advice and all I kept hearing was everything was going to be okay. And they were right, it was going to be okay, I was not going to die just because I couldn’t pick a major my first semester in college.

At the end of my first semester, I was really starting to learn to relax and let things work themselves out. My dad was a big contributor in teaching me that. He never wants to see me stress, and always reassures me that he will be there to catch me if I fall, but he knows I’m going to. Even though I did quite a bit of talking with my dad, I still wanted to consider majors. I knew I wanted a major that I would be interacting with other people a lot, so I talked to my GGG Mentor, who is a Leader Advancement Scholar and a Communications major, I figured out I wanted to take some Integrative Public Relations courses. At first when I started taking them, I was still unsure if that was what I wanted to do, but mid-semester I was assigned a paper about my dream job in pubic relations and was sold. One thing that I have ALWAYS been sure about was that I wanted to work in sports, specifically professional baseball. The job I chose to research was Coordinator of Community Relations for the Kansas City Royals and I fell in love. I ended up signing my major in the middle of second semester. My dad was right, everything eventually works itself out.

So how does this contribute to how I have grown as a leader? Not everything in life always turns out perfect. When life threw me a curve ball I got scared, but I’m in the process of learning how to ride out curb balls and trust that I will eventually make it into the glove. I’m beginning to place more trust in the environment that surrounds me and know that everything is going to be okay. I may wind up in situations where I have no clue what to do, and extra pressure will be added if others are looking up to me. As long as I stay cool, collected, and optimistic, the ride will be greatly reduced in stress. Along with that, I have also learned that I cannot sit around and do nothing because consequences will take a toll. I have learned the hard way that prioritization and time management are key elements in college. I was given an essay guideline a few weeks back and it was a research paper with a length requirement of 10 pages. Guess who stayed up until 3:30 AM last night and wrote more than half of the paper then? Yep, me. I should have scheduled time earlier in the week or toke a day off of working out so I would have more time to complete it, and earlier in the day. I would definitely advise my future self to work a little harder on making sure I have time to get stuff done before the night it is due. But the good news is at least I finished it!

I have definitely grown as a leader my first year of college by the way that in high school, I did things because I was getting some type of benefit out of it. Whether that be getting service hours, a good grade on a group project, or activities being put on a list of involvements. Now I do things because I want to do them for other people. I visit the assisted living home once a week and I am only required to stay there for an hour but I usually stay a little bit longer than that. I like talking to my adopted grandma and I know that she enjoys it when I visit her. Also, when I have time, I love volunteering at certain events Program Board puts on. I love knowing that I’m bringing entertainment and happiness into other student’s lives. None of this is required of me, I just simply enjoy it and look forward to it. I have learned to put my efforts towards passions because the value that comes out of it will be so much more valuable. I’ve also learned that when working with others, it is important to give my undivided attention to those I are serving, helping out, or working with. To get respect I have to give respect and at school I have seen so many people act in disrespectful ways that it makes me want to be that much better of a person when interacting with others. Plus, those who give respect usually end up working more efficiently with their team and have a more enjoyable time doing it because the atmosphere is way more welcoming.

Overall one of the biggest takeaways this year for me was the relationships I have built with other people. Without the support of all of my family, friends, and faculty I have gotten to know here, college would have been extremely stressful and scary to me. I have learned it is okay to admit I need guidance from others. I’ve also learned to be the light for others when they are lost and I can help.

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LDR 200L: Introduction to Leadership

Introduction to Leadership was taken my second semester at CMU with Jesi Ekonen as the professor. This class was my first 3 hour class and my first night class in college, but it was still enjoyable to attend every week because the energy of my professor, the teacher’s assistants, and the rest of my cohort was infectious. In this class, I learned about the different leadership theories and styles and how different ones evolve over time. My class was split up into groups and we taught each other the different leadership theories and styles through workshops. My workshop group covered Servant Leadership and made sure we taught it to our classmates with the best of our abilities. The class was split into groups again so everyone could facilitate a leadership activity. Towards the end of the semester, my class also took a service trip to Detroit to volunteer with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and CASS Community Social Services.

From LDR 200L, my facilitating skills increased immensely. Before, I never knew what facilitating was, let alone that effective facilitators debrief at the end of their sessions. That term was completely foreign to me. I would just jump right into an activity and jump right out, but now I know how to properly introduce an activity and bring meaning to it at the end by tying it all together. I also learned about different leadership theories and styles, for example the Trait Approach says leaders are born and not made while the Skill Approach says the opposite. While each theory might be true, it is important to understand both and why they were each developed.

It is important to know the different theories and styles to understand different leaders and see why they act the way they do. Knowing about each of them also shows everyone the different skills and weaknesses they have. Different approaches work in different scenarios. Followers are essential to leaders so it is vital to understanding when to act in certain ways. From doing my workshop on Servant Leadership, I can now be conscious if I am genuinely acting like a leader. When I am doing community service, I can ask myself am I just doing service for attention, or am I actually displaying the 10 characteristics of a servant leader (listening, empathy, healing, etc.). I will also carry my facilitation skills with me and can apply them everywhere: in group projects, work, and activities I have been instructed to lead. Effective facilitation is important because it brings a group together and helps get creative thoughts to flow between members.

Service Trip to Detroit

Normally when I visit Detroit I go to see a concert or to cheer on the Tigers. I have never ventured to Detroit to volunteer, but on April 1st, 2016 I traveled there with my Leader Advancement Scholar cohort to volunteer at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy
and CASS Community Social Services. With the Jalen Rose students, we all split up into groups 12931016_1044866448914042_120440694729713680_nand rotated to different service projects. My group started off making cards for veterans, then moved to another room to de-fuzz material for a nonprofit in Detroit called Arts & Scraps. After that, my group made door signs for the Special Olympics Summer Games, which are going to be held at Central Michigan University this summer. The signs were made for individual people to greet them as they come to stay in the dorms. The last rotation was very heart touching as we saw a presentation on OK2SAY, which is a program where students and other people can submit anonymous tips when they feel unsafe. After eating at PizzaPapalis, we went to see beautiful art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. At the end of the night, we stayed and did a debrief of the day at the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center. In the morning when we all woke up, we set off to work at CASS Community Social Services. Some people went to shred paper, some went to work in the soup kitchen, and others went to make mud mats. I started off at the soup kitchen sweeping all of the floors, but when I was done I was sent over to mud mat making with a few other people. Mud mat making was a little bit different from what most people would expect. The mats are made from illegally dumped tires in Detroit. Homeless men are employed to make them, and the money goes back to CASS to help with other programs. After working with CASS, my cohort had completed our service trip and returned to Mount Pleasant.

I loved going to Detroit and 12924341_1044866438914043_7240802505704716853_n.jpgvolunteering because the service we did was different from what I was used to. The most impactful part of the trip for me was when I went to the soup kitchen and talked with some of the people who were homeless. They were so grateful for us being there to help, but they did not look at us any differently than they did their friends. When one of my friends was mopping, she told a man to be careful because it was slippery and he smiled really big and acted like he was sliding on the floor. He was joking around with us and I thought that was really cool because even though we were there to do service work, the people we were helping treated us like friends. Before we left, one man came up to our group and told us that if we ever have any trouble to let him know and he will always be there for us. After he said that, it really showed me that we were there for him and made a difference in his life. Volunteering should not be done for the sake of a picture to post on Instagram, but it should be done to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Sometimes service done does not even get credited, but it still betters the lives of others. When we all went to the Detroit Institute of Arts, there were so many statues that were made by unknown sculptors. Even though these amazing sculptors did not get credit for their work, they still created something beautiful. Service does not always have to be recognized. It is perfectly fine to let your stamp on the world be unknown, as long as it helped someone else have a better life.

Another part of the trip that I really enjoyed was partnering with the students at Jalen Rose to show them that service is fun. We showed them different types of service projects that they can do on their own time without us and they really enjoyed that. Because they partook in service projects they could do without us, I feel like they will be more likely to do them again. You could really tell that they enjoyed their day, and I really enjoyed my day too. The kids were so excited at the end of the day when they heard how many lives we had all touched through our 4 hours of service. Service really is an amazing thing and I truly believe everyone should try to reach out and donate an hour of their time to any cause at least once a week. It does not have to take much time to volunteer and it is such a rewarding feeling to know you have made a positive impact on someone else’s life.

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Special Events LEAD Team Reflection

11225396_754961977943909_8191408286484939876_n (2)This year I participated in the Special Events LEAD Team. My team was in charge of creating, planning, promoting, and executing special events for the Leader Advancement Scholars in the Leadership Institute at Central Michigan University. I met with the team a few times over the year, but we also communicated quite a bit through email. We held an event called LAS On Ice, which is an event that has been done for many years where all of the cohorts go ice skating together. My team came up with a date, time, location, and even a theme, superhero, to make the experience more fun for everyone. The team was split up into committees, and I was on the committee to take pictures at the event. There was one other person on the picture taking committee with me, but she was not able to make it to the event. It was my duty to step up and take pictures of the event and send them to the person in charge. Because I could not capture every moment myself, I asked my friends to send me pictures they had taken as well. One lesson I learned from being on the LEAD Team was to keep up with with all of the information that gets sent to me via email.Trying to get the agenda electronically was a little more difficult as opposed to receiving it in person because in person it is always easy to write down information when it is heard. With having dates and tasks sent, I always wanted to write them down later when I had something to write with, but I knew that I would forget to re-open the email so I had to stay on top of everything at all times. It took a little more effort than normal but I kn
ow this method of communicating information through email helped with my communication, planning, and organization skills. Learning how to effectively organize and write down information from emails with others will help in the future because so many people use email to communicate information. I have already started writing down all important information and dates provided in emails because I want to be reliable and never miss a thing, especially when I have a team relying on me.
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HST 110L WI: The American Experience

During my second semester at Central Michigan University, I enrolled in a writing intensive American History course with the rest of the Leader Advancement Scholars in my cohort. The course was titled The American Experience and was taught by Dr. Tobin. It was a very difficult class for me because I have never been great with remembering the exact dates of events or wrapping my brain around understanding the causes of them. However, I did do very well in the class. I have always been one to ask questions and make sure I fully understand a topic. Knowledge leads to growth and growth is essential to expand the horizons of thought and perspective. I attended my professor’s office hours when I needed extra help; she was always willing to help me out and I was very grateful for that. This class reinforced the importance of going to office hours and not being afraid to ask for help when it is needed. From the content I learned, it showed me that great leaders do not always make the best personal decisions. What presidents, officials, and other leaders do on their free time does not always effect how they can lead a powerful movement. Everyone has at least one flaw; nobody is born perfect. John F. Kennedy was not faithful to his wife their entire relationship, but he was still a very successful President of the United States. In addition to imperfections, I also learned about leaders who faced opposition, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and Elizabeth Stanton. These people faced opposition but continued to push for what they believed in and eventually achieved their goals. That is one of the major takeaways I had in this class that I will apply to my everyday life. Fight for what you want, even if others say it is impossible or they do not support you. Good this come to those who are willing to work for them.

Pre-Service Trip to Detroit

I have been going to Detroit for Tigers games since I have been in 4th grade. The experience has always been amazing for me by seeing the big buildings, walking in crowds of people who are just as excited as I am, watching baseball, and spending time with my family. I had always been aware of the homelessness in Detroit from seeing people on the streets before and after the games, but it never felt real to me until I was leaving the Quick Lane Bowl Game this winter. As I was trying to exit the city in my dad’s car, I saw people huddling on the sidewalk for warmth under tarps when it was pouring down rain. I realized that not everyone is fortunate enough to lie down in their own bed at night in a warm home. We should all be thankful for what we have.

The service trip that I am going on to Detroit relates to the purpose and vision of the Leadership Institute because I am going to learn hands-on how to make a difference in student’s lives at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy by taking on a leadership role and facilitating volunteer work for them. I will also provide service through Cass Community Social Services and actively help the community of Detroit by improving the quality of life and the state of economy there by doing whatever is asked of me with eagerness and willingness.

I think the service trip will help me grow as an individual by taking me to places in Detroit where I have never been before. There, I will see things I typically do not see on a day-to-day basis. I grew up in a small town with a small community and I am not used to seeing what life is like living in urban areas. I will be able to extend a helping hand to those who need a little boost, and I will get to see the impact I make on the lives of the students at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. I will not be serving alone, but I will be helping with 50 other servant leaders; I already know that seeing others helping and caring will make the trip that much more meaningful to me.