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!
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.
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.