I am just finishing up my last class with my Leader Advancement Scholar Cohort, Communication in Leadership. It was a very informative and interesting class that focused in depth on different leadership styles and how leaders communicate with their followers. My professor was one of the most passionate and bubbly professors I have
The leadership case study book
ever had, which made learning the content super engaging and fun. Half of the content came from a textbook, where we learned the topics of discussion, but the other half came from a case study book. I really enjoyed the case study book because it applied the lessons we learned in class to real life situations. Out of the nine cases my class read, a little over half of them dealt with effective leadership. The others were more about cases that could have been effective if different choices were made. We had many group discussions about the cases in class that helped me see why some case results were super effective, while others were problematic. For example, it is always important to make sure a leader’s motivation is for the right reason. It is also important to treat followers with respect and have good ethical standards. However, other topics I learned can be rated on effectiveness by the different tasks at hand, and the readiness and willingness levels of followers. One example would be being a democratic leader vs an authoritarian leader vs a laissez-faire leader.
Overall, I really enjoyed the class and I am glad I had the opportunity to take it with my whole cohort. It made group discussions and the class climate more open and collaborative. Everything I learned in class, I will be able to carry with me as a leader and apply it to my everyday life. I am glad this class is required for the Leadership minor, because even though there is content similar to LDR 200, there is more covered and it is much more in depth.
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.
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.