Communication is key

Leadership Education

I’m sure for many people, this quote has come up at least once when discussing relationships. For me, this quote will always remind me of my experience in a class I had to take for my LAS protocol called Communication in Leadership.

This class was taught by quite possibly one of the sweetest women I have ever met–Elizabeth Carlson. She was passionate about this subject and wanted each of us really take something away from this class that we could apply to our lives as leaders and how it would result in us being a more effective leader.

Personally, the things I took away from this class were more of topics that dealt with my own leadership styles and how I influence my followers through how I lead. I specifically learned that I tend to be more of a democratic leader as well as a servant leader. When leading groups, I find it very important that although I may be designated as the “leader”, all my followers feel like their voices and opinions are valued and heard. I want everyone to give input and work together to reach the common goal, whatever it may be. This style is called a democratic style because it is very similar to a democracy, where all people get a say in politics are a free to express their thoughts and opinions. The other style, a servant leader, is something I have always strived to be more like because I admire it in all the people in my life who I see as leaders. Specifically, I think of my Mom. That woman puts everyone before herself and deeply cares for others, something I consciously have to remind myself to do.

Through this class, I learned what I want to change about my leadership style, as well as the strengths I see in how I lead. This class not only helped me learn more about my cohort and the leaders they are, but also about myself and how there is no right or wrong way to leadership; everyone is just different!

communicationiskey-1024x684

Advertisements

We The People

Leadership Education

From what I had heard from students who previously took the class, PSC105: Intro to American Government & Politics was going to be the worst class of my semester. Although it wasn’t my favorite class, I did learn some very valuable facts about how democracy was born and how truly lucky we are to live in the country that we do.

From day 1, my professor started just about every class with a daily rant about our current president and the mess that our country is in. Although I was kind of annoyed since none of the information pertained to what was going to be on our exam, I quickly realized that he really was connecting it to class. One topic that we touched on in class was our civil liberties: the rights stated in the first amendment. My professor was prating his freedom of speech rights, and encouraging us to do the same by getting us involved in the conversations. I am not one to really voice my opinion on political topics since I never feel like I have enough knowledge to talk about it. However, this class really pushed me to stay up to date on what is going in our country since it also affects me.

One of the biggest grades in this class came from a project that took place throughout all 16 weeks. The class was separated into a few groups with about 8-10 students in each. Each group was assigned to a graduate assistant who helped facilitate each meeting. The goal of this project was to discuss a solution or an action towards a solution, to a major problem in our world. If you are up to date with politics, or if you are a human, you probably have a good shot at correctly guessing what we had to try to solve… immigration. We met with our groups about once a month and each meeting had different goals to help us implement our project. My group worked really hard together and came to the conclusion that we wanted to raise more awareness to what life is like as an immigrant and how immigrants positively contribute to american society. Through raising awareness through reaction videos of CMU students, our group was chosen to present this project to fellow faculty and students. This experience in itself was really inspiring for me because there were multiple groups selected and it was cool to see all the other groups and their ideas on how to solve this controversial issue. Seeing so many CMU students come together inspired me to be more involved in politics because there are people who are risking their lives so that we may keep our democracy, as well as people risking their lives just to live in this country. Therefore, the least I can do is be an active citizen and stick up for what I believe in.

As a leader on campus and in the world, it is important that I voice what I am passionate about and stick up for what I believe in. This class helped boost my confidence so that I can be a better leader and practice my rights to voice my passions.

Click here for the video we showed in our reaction video

A class every American should have to take

Leadership Education

Today’s world is filled with so much hate. Everywhere you look: the news, social media, out in public, and sometimes even at home, is filled with so much hate. The part that is even sadder to me is that most of this hate is aimed towards one another. People like to think that they are better than others and they use that mindset to create a sense of power over someone else. I never really understood how people could be so awful towards someone else, and then I took “HDF110 Oppression: Roots & Impact” and so many of my questions were answered or at least discussed.

This class was created to look deeply at different forms of oppression and how people deal with being apart of those groups. We discussed ways that people experience oppression based on race, ethnicity, gender, social class, sexual orientation, disabilities, and religion. Unfortunately, these groups are not ones that were oppressed many years ago and are not anymore. These are groups that are still facing discrimination and prejudice against still to this day. Therefore, this is why I believe that every American should have to take this class.

This class really made me think about my own privilege. I am white, heterosexual, able bodied, and financially stable. My whole life I grew up with so many great opportunities that helped me get to where I am today. Although I had obstacles along the way, I never faced issues such as discrimination that hindered me from following my dreams. Taking this class truly opened my eyes to how although many oppressed groups have achieved great successes such as slavery being abolished, women gaining rights, gay marriage rights. etc., they still face prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination in just their day to day life.

Oppression is a problem that started so long ago and will probably go on for many years to come. People learn from a young age that the culture they grow up in is the best, or the “right” way to live, therefore any other way is wrong or just not normal. We choose to stick with those we are similar to and tear down those that are different from us. My biggest takeaway from this class was the fact that everyone in society must be educated and try to put themselves in other people’s shoes in order to try and move forward into a more inclusive society. Everyone is different, but we are all people who share this Earth.

1035363

This class just proved to me more that I want to be an inclusive leader. Whether it is in my future classroom and or in the community that I live in, I want everyone that I lead to know that they are welcome and that I accept their ideas. As a leader, it is important to   create an environment where all followers feel included and comfortable to grow and share their ideas, and I strive to be that kind of leader.

to-inclusion-and-beyond

Was taking philosophy morally ok?

Leadership Education

After a whole semester of learning about moral principles and debating whether some very controversial topics are morally ok, I can proudly say I still really don’t know what is and what is not morally right or wrong.

To me, the thought of waking up at 7am sounded like going back to high school, but thanks to Gary Fuller, this class was nothing but boring(most days). Gary was exciting, a little crazy, and a whole lot of passionate when it came to moral philosophy. He wanted us to learn, challenge ourselves, and have fun.

Within this class, I didn’t just learn how to think philosophically, but also how to navigate my way through philosophical issues in this world. Although I was uncomfortable discussing issues such as abortion, gay rights, euthanasia, capital punishment. etc., it forced me out of my comfort zone which is exactly what leaders need to experience, and why not start that at a younger age?

As a leader its good to come across others with different view points as yours. Within this class it allowed me to see others view points that weren’t based off of just opinion. With philosophy, it brings into matters what is morally right and wrong or just and unjust. This allows other to defend sides that may be just to some and unjust to others. It’s a teeter-totter of ideas that get balanced out on determining whether it is right or not. Across the board, there were so many reasonings as to why these topics were morally wrong and right. Being able to have real conversation and see how others perceive things is vital for being a good leader in being able to understand others perspectives and challenge new ones as well.

As I take this knowledge with me in the future, ethics takes an effect in it as well. This ties in with leadership because in order to be an ethical leader you should be virtuous of individuals and their motives. As I continue on through college I strive to be an ethical leader and do whats right in any situation. With this class, it has given me the skills to do just that.

IMG_1867.JPG

Gary Fuller’s Christmas Party

LDR200L

Leadership Education

Well folks, after LDR100 we just loved everything we learned that my cohort obviously just HAD to take LDR200. I was very excited going into this class with my cohort because I ended up having to miss a lot of LDR100 due to marching band practices. This class was the perfect chance for me to really learn some basic necessities for leadership as well as get to know more people in my cohort.

This class was tailored for us to learn how to facilitate and to determine what our most ideal form of leading was. Through this discovery, we all were assigned a workshop to present to the class. These consisted of leadership theories that we had to dissect and facilitate, that characterize the many takes and forms on leadership. The theory my group was assigned was called the “Leader-Member Exchange Theory” otherwise known as LMX theory. This theory really focused on how to be a successful leader through building good relationships with their followers so that they will want to be successful and you form a strong team feel. Our theory was a little different because most theories focused on either just the leaders or just the followers whereas ours focused on how they need to be able to work together to be successful. Through this workshop and through listening to everyone else’s workshops, my mind has been opened to so many different leader and follower behaviors and I have learned how to adjust my leadership style when I am working with all different groups.

Another requirement of this class was to facilitate an initiative, which is an activity that engages a group in a fun and interactive way, while also teaching them about the many traits that build a leader. My initiative team had teamwork which is a key component to leadership. To present our initiative we had a few different groups with about 5 students in each group. Each team was given a about 10 sheets of plain copy paper and were given very vague instructions to build a contraption that could hold a very heavy school book. The groups had to work as a team to decide on one idea and then help each other build whatever it was that they came up with. Each group was able to be successful and they said it was because they listened to everyones ideas and then worked together to build the best structure based on everyones input. Being leaders, it is especially important that not one person dominates a group, but rather that everyone’s voices are heard and taken into consideration.

ab18791a389b44483bd64ef32da1eb3b

In the end, this class has showed me all sides to leadership and what forms I may need to use in certain situation, where I can better impact and motivate my followers. It has brought me closer to my cohort and has showed me what I am capable as a leader. I was able to work on my public speaking skills and really task my brain on other ways in which i can better my self and others. If you’d like to see my interpretation of leadership, check out my page on my leadership philosophy.

Party Planners

Leadership Education, Leadership Training

What: As part of protocol, each LAS student was put into a group that they were interested in and were on the committee for planning any events or activities for that group. I was put on the LEAD team called “Special Events” and were in charge of planning any fun activities for LAS students to do outside of school that brought all the freshman-seniors together for some fun. Some of the events that my group put on were Minute to Win It Game Night, LEAD on Ice, and a final picnic.

So What: Being a part of this group was essential to being a part of LAS because not only did you get a chance to form relationships with the upper classmen, but, you were also put in a leadership position right off the bat. I am very thankful for my group because we were always energetic and we worked together very well when trying to plan events. It was very nice to work with fellow leaders and see all our hard work pay off.

Now What: Because I really enjoyed this lead team, I am thinking that I want to apply to be a part of this group again next year and maybe work my way up to be the leader of this group. I think this group really helped me learn more leadership skills such as teamwork and communication and I look forward to being a part of whatever lead team I get put on!

HST110 Reflection

Leadership Education

As part of my LAS protocol and to fulfill a class for my leadership minor, I was required to take the class HST110 or “An American Experience”. My teacher taught this course focusing on immigration and talking about what immigration was really like starting from the beginning of immigration up until present day. I found this class to be very interesting and at the same time very dry.

Throughout this class, we watch many informative videos about immigration from all different countries and in those movies, we got to hear real stories from immigrants all about their life in America after immigration. Before taking this class I thought I knew a lot about immigration, but with 3 weeks left, I can tell you that I have learned more in these past 13 weeks on the topic than I ever had throughout my public school experience. It was really cool to dive in deep into why immigration was not always great and how even though people say America is amazing, there are still many flaws.

I don’t want to get too political, but this class really got me thinking about everything going on in our world with our current President. It was really interesting to hear about how racist Americans were towards immigrants and how that is kind of repeating itself in todays day and age.

One of the projects we had to do in the class was come up with a leader in America who was an immigrant and make a presentation on where they were from and why they are/were a leader. My group chose to write about John Muir, the creator of our National Parks. If you would like to check out our presentation click here.

john_muir_by_carleton_watkins_c1875

John Muir; founder of National Parks

I think it was very important for my cohort to take this class because of everything that is going on in our world. It really turned my point of view away from myself and more on other people of different races and backgrounds. As leaders it is SO important for us to be inclusive of everyone and knowledgable of people’s background. I believe this class gave me vital information that I can use when I am working with groups from all different backgrounds.

 

“But why?”

Leadership Education

For those of you who read my blog post about Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk called “Start With Why”, this post will be a follow-up to an even deeper discussion that my LAS cohort discussed about it in class. For those of you who have never heard of or seen the ted talk, I would recommend you read my blog post about it here!

Last week, my leadership class was assigned an assignment to watch the ted talk before coming to class. In class we discussed why we thought “why” was so important. Why is that everyone follows why you do something and not what you do? To us as leaders, we found this topic very important because we want to appeal to people through our passions and actions and not just because we may be called a leader. We began looking at different businesses “why” statements and even different leaders’ around the world.

We were then asked to buddy up with a classmate and describe to them our passions, our role models, things that make us mad, sad, happy, etc., thus helping one another form our why statements; why we do what we do.

If you had the chance to read my blog post about “Start With Why” you would’ve seen that I originally created my own why statement. However, after my class I wanted to write a better one. I later met with other classmates asking them for their opinions and seeing how they view me as a person and a leader, thus giving me my new why statement:

“Inspire others to love fearlessly and serve endlessly”

I am a firm believer in the power of love and sometimes I feel that I let the power of love keep me from really giving my all to something. I want everyone to find something that they love to do and do it without any fear. I also feel that as a Christian, one of my duties is to serve others until the day I die. I also just love serving others any way possible and it is something I want to do forever.

It’s ok to just say “no”. In fact, it’s better!

Leadership Education, Uncategorized

Recently, my cohort was asked to think about whether “leadership comes from saying the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’.” After first reading the prompt, I honestly didn’t even get what the question was asking, hence why it has taken me a whole week to even write this post.

I let this question sit in my head for days as I tried applying it to my life and to the leadership positions I have been in. How many times have I said no? Has it helped me become a better leader? What about famous people? What famous leaders said “no”? 

BOOM. That was when it hit me. Leadership comes from saying “no!”

Many of our nations greatest leaders were the ones who refused to conform to what the world was telling them. One of the greatest leaders who comes to my mind is Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks did not let anyone tell her what to do because she was a colored woman thus leading to her title as “the first lady of civil rights”. Her will to say no led her to become an amazing leader of her time.

Sometimes, especially for me, saying no sounds so mean and sometimes I shy out of saying no because I don’t want people to dislike me. And that is what we call a people pleaser. Dr Caren Aviv says “people pleasing is looking externally for affirmation, acceptance, and approval, rather than looking inwards”.I’m over living like that. How am I supposed to grow as a leader when I just conform to what everyone else says. As a leader, it is my job to stick up for what I am passionate about and say no to the things that I do not support. Saying no leads you to push yourself to become stronger and more independent in what you believe in.

20140624-094908-35348638.jpg

So from here, I invite you to look back on your life and how many times you let the word “no” stop you from sticking up for your passions and how many times you let the word “no” empower you and help you grow. Because when you start saying “no” to more things, I promise some serious growth will come out of it.

 

 

 

Ellen DeGeneres. Or, as Grace used to call her, Ellen the generous.

Leadership Education

When I first say the name “Ellen DeGeneres”, what comes to your mind? Her tv show? Her humor? All the awesome gifts she gives away? Dory from Finding Nemo?

Do her leadership qualities stick out?

For me, Ellen is one of the most inspiring and motivated leaders I can think of. Not only is she insanely spirited and fun, she also is very passionate and her passions are what motivate people to do good in the world. Some of Ellen’s strongest passions are women’s rights, animals, bullying, and gay rights. Although Ellen’s show is seen as a comedy and brings comic relief to everyone’s every day life, Ellen uses her show to bring awareness to such issues in this world. Ellen also uses her show to bring in people who need help and uses her offerings to provide for them in ways that will bring them so much joy. Although she has millions of dollars, she isn’t the type to use it all on herself but to give it away for people who really need it. Because of her kindness and humbleness, Ellen was awarded the Medal of Freedom given to her by Barack Obama.

medal-of-freedom-obama-ellen-today-tease-161122_a1e9426ce22bbc948cd8b7f94d24a664.jpg

Ellen receiving the Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama

“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor—it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better. From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”-Barack Obama

So, next time you tune into the Ellen DeGeneres show, I would encourage you to pay close attention to all the amazing deeds that Ellen does to change this world for the better. Maybe even her humor encourages you to become a better person(cause I know it does for me!). Aside from her humor though, pay attention to the ways that she supports humans and even animals and the ways she brings joy to people and motivates them to make an impact on the world.

Here are some of my favorite quotes by Ellen! Enjoy 🙂

“Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.”

“Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come. ”

“Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others. ”

All quotes are from BrainyQuote.com