Leadership Development, Leadership Education, Leadership Training

Igniting the Spark

As a requirement for our LAS Scholarship, our 2016 cohort needed to attend the Spark Leadership conference. Not knowing what exactly this conference would entail, I was pretty excited for it.

I walked into the ballroom in the LI, picked up my name tag, and sat at a table with a few people from my LAS cohort and a few others that I hadn’t met before. Also sitting at the table was a staff member of Spark, otherwise known as a team leader. After being called up and introduced to all of the people participating in Spark, the team leaders switched tables, and my table got the pleasure of working with Connor Haskins.

The first activity on the agenda was finding out our own personal leadership styles- something I was very interested in. The four different types of leaders were Systematic, Spirited, Considerate, and Direct. After ranking a series of activities from 1 to 5, I found out that I was a Spirited leader.

After learning about what type of leader we all were, we broke into different groups pertaining to our own leadership styles. I went into the Spirited group, and we all discussed why we were categorized into Spirited leaders and what characteristics we all exemplified. Some of these characteristics were that we were all super positive, very outgoing, we encouraged others, and we like to be outside of our comfort zones. After going back to our tables, we chose what leadership style we wanted to improve on. I chose Systematic, because I’d like to be more organized and want to step back and think about things more before going ahead and doing them.

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Photo by the Leadership Institute

Later, we were separated into different classrooms and were put into two groups: Alphas and Betas. I was an Alpha, and we were required to participate in a game. The rules of the Alpha culture were that we had to embrace in a hug or pat someone on the back before speaking to someone, we had to ask about the men in that person’s life, and we were then able to participate in a card game. The Betas would come over to our Alpha classroom to observe our behavior, and we would always kick them out.

After debriefing our activity, we learned that everyone gets treated differently and sometimes you have to take a step back and realize that we aren’t all the same. You could be saying or doing something offensive without even noticing, and we need to realize that everyone is different.

Now What? I got a lot out of Spark, and-despite having strep throat and wanting to be curled up in bed- I really enjoyed the conference. I learned that I am a Spirited leader, and I now know how to help out when it comes to leadership activities and now know what to contribute. I am excited to take the steps towards becoming a more Systematic leader by organizing all of my things into folders, color coding my notes that I take in class, thinking about and analyzing my actions before taking them, and participating in many more leadership conferences.

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Leadership Development, Leadership Education

Start With Why

“Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it.” – Simon Sinek

In LDR 100, we were required to complete a book project for the end of the year. The project was to create a 20 minute presentation about a novel we were assigned in class. Each book had to do with leadership, and we were put into groups to work with.

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I was assigned the novel Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Start With Why is a book about a way of communicating that gives leaders the ability to inspire those around them. This novel was made into a well-known Ted Talk and has gotten over twenty nine million views since it was released. I attached a shortened version of the video below!

First, we started our presentation off with the “Why?” aspect of the book. We asked the class who their role models were, and told them to think about why this person inspires them. We then moved on to the “Golden Circle”, which includes three major parts. These parts are, “Why?” (what your purpose/beliefs are), “How?” (how something is different or better), and “What?” (what you do). We then moved on to the major themes of the book. The themes we mentioned were as follows: Inspiration, Passion, and Personal Leadership. We focused the Inspiration theme on the fact that the people we see as leaders are usually the ones who have inspired us. We then spoke about how we tend to find our “Why?” from the things we are passionate about. Lastly, we infused leadership with our own experiences and spoke about how  you have to be inspired in order to inspire others.

Now What? Simon Sinek taught me to find my own “Why?” statement and take a step back to really dig deep into things and topics that I usually wouldn’t think twice about. I can now rationalize my thinking, and am now able to explain why I feel the way I feel about a certain topic. This project was a fun one to create, and was even more fun to present!

Check out the video I made for our presentation below!

Leadership Education

COM 267L Reflection

debateFor our LAS scholarship, we are required to take COM 267L (Introduction to Debate). Taking a debate class sounded absolutely terrifying to me, as I hated public speaking, but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected it to be.

Our 2016 cohort was split into two classes: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 and at 12:30. I was placed in the 9:30 class. In our class, we were put into debate “groups”and were required to argue with/against those students for the semester. In my group, I had the pleasure of working with Lucas Gustafson, Mary Miller, Jacob Sova, and Megan Bird. Professor Cory Hillman (otherwise known as Dr. Professor Cory Anthony Hillman) presented information about Aristotle and gave us information that included learning about ethos, pathos, logos, and other topics. We then had a few practice debates and two formal, graded debates. My groups first argument (the Parliamentary Debate) was, “Should Performance Enhancing Drugs/Drug Enhancers Be Used in Professional Sports?” I was placed on the side that had to argue that performance enhancing drugs should be used in professional sports, and it was really hard because it wasn’t something I was passionate about. Our second debate (the Lincoln-Douglas Debate) was, “Should All Schools Be Year Round?” I had to argue that all schools should not be year round, and it was a tad bit easier for me because that I what I truly believe.

Now What? Although I had some nights where I would sit on my laptop and stress about whether or not my debate was going to go well the next morning, I did like the class. This course taught me that public speaking isn’t so bad- especially when you’re passionate about the topic you’re speaking about. I am excited to use the public speaking skills that I learned in other classes when giving presentations over the course of my college career. I can also apply skills like note-taking and heavy listening to my future courses.