Leadership Education

Wait, You Can Learn Leadership?? LDR200L

In order to receive a leadership minor at CMU, students must take a class called LDR200: Introduction to Leadership. As a Leadership Advancement Scholar, you get to take it with your cohort and the curriculum is a little bit different from that of a normal LDR200 class.

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LDR200L focuses on leadership style and theory. In this course, you learn a lot about who you are as a person and a leader, and how that fits into certain leadership theories. Going into LDR200 I did not know what we would be doing because how much is there really to learn about leadership? I thought that leadership was something that everyone has and it just gets stronger and more defined as you take on more and more experience. While I still believe this to be true, I’ve learned that it is just as important to know how you work and how that may affect others around you. Knowing what kind of leader I am and how followers work with me best is just as important as having experience working with those followers.

My favorite part of this course was the day that we watched the TedTalk: Start With Why. I loved this class session because I think it reached more than just my leadership skills, but because it has had an affect on a lot of decisions I have made since this workshop. Start With Why discusses your why statement and the reason for what you do. It talks about your drive and why you do what you do. Everyone’s why statement is a little different but ultimately says why they do what they do. What do you want as a leader and a person and how does that play into the career you have and life you live. My why stateldr22ment is to “Inspire others to find the beauty in everything and seek the things that make them happiest”. Ever since going through this workshop and digging deeper into the meaning of why I do what I do, I find myself looking for this in the decisions I make and what I preach to other people. When I make an important decision (like change my major ha ha.. ha……) I ask myself why I want to make the decision I do. Does it follow my why statement? Am I going to get the outcome that I want and will I have the positive effect on others that I desire. I also find myself teaching others about my why statement and truly putting it into action in my daily life.

 

Another LDR200L requirement was to go on a service trip to Detroit called LAS in the D. During this service trip, I could not stop thinking about my why statement. I had this moment at the beginning of the trip while at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy where I realized I was literally preaching my why statement to these high school students. Let me clarify in saying that I wasn’t being annoying and telling them all about me, I just found myself trying to make the students see the positive side of things and find joy in what they are doing. During debrief I was talking about how they were so positive and that is so important in being a leader. A leader needs to be encouraging and positive and happy and make their followers WANT to follow them. I reminded them that had they just been negative and just hated the activities that were really difficult from the beginning, there’s no way they would have done as well as they did and had fun with it.

During this moment I just found all of these things that we had been talking about and learning coming together. I really saw myself be the leader I want to be which was the most motivating, rewarding, and damn-near coolest thing I’ve ever experienced. LDR200 for me was really and truly the opening of leadership for me. I have always known I am a leader and what the general definition of leadership is, but I never actually saw the smaller more detailed picture of leadership. I never knew that all leaders are different. I never knew that there are different ways to lead and none of them are really better than the others, it’s just what works for you. I really never knew that there were different theories to leadership and how they can affect the ways that you learn, teach, and practice leadership. LDR200L was truly just an eye-opening experience and changed me as a leader.

From this, I just hope to be more aware of my own leadership. I would say I’d like to share this with other people and followers, but I don’t think I am at that point yet. The best way to sum up this class is that I now know enough about leadership to know I pretty much know nothing. I know I am a leader and I am a pretty good one at that, but there is so so much more to this that I don’t know and I want to become more educated and aware of my own leadership. I want to self-reflect after any kind of leadership role and see what kind of leadership style I practiced, if my why statement was a main drive for this, and how well my followers reacted to my leadership.

Leadership Education

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

My recommendation before reading this blog is to watch the video that I have posted above. While I plan to give you my perspective on this video I think that what everyone takes away from this is different and the same all at one time therefore it is important to watch and see what different things you take away from this TED Talk.

The first thing that I took away from this video was the discussion on why we follow the people we follow. Why are certain people leaders? While I’m sure that there is more to it than just this, Sinek discusses that we follow who we follow because we know why they are doing something. We agree with their reasoning or relate to their situation. We did not follow Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because he told us he had a dream, we followed him because he told us why he had this dream. In the same situation, we do not buy a dell mp3 player but we buy Dell computers because Dell has constantly advertised their computers and why we should buy their computers. Ultimately, it is not what you’re doing that matters, it is why you do it.

While watching this Ted Talk it reminded me of my previous post discussing whether leadership starts with a yes or a no; it doesn’t matter if you pick yes or no it matters why you pick yes or no.

In our Leadership 200 class, we partnered up and talked about our own whys. Why are we passionate about the things that we do and what drives us to get out of bed in the morning. My partner was one of my best friends, Lucas. Lucas is a goofy kid and honestly I didn’t know how well this was going to go. Turns out Lucas knows a lot about me that I didn’t even realize about myself. Lucas told me that from what I said, I ultimately do everything to make others happy. I just want to see other people smile. I found that literally every thing I do I do because it means that someone else will have fun or be happy because of it which ultimately makes me happy. I find the most joy in seeing others smile.

I then listened to Lucas talk about his passions and what he cares about and it was so crazy to me to realize that when you look at it from the “why” perspective, literally EVERYTHING we do pretty much ties back to that one reason. For me it is to make people happy, for Lucas it was to be an escape for people and make them realize everything is going to be okay no matter what. From here, we discovered our “why” statements.

My “why” statement is to inspire others to find the beauty in everything and seek the things that make them happy. This is why I do what I do. This is my goal as a leader. From now on, when I take on any new endeavor or even get frustrated with something I am already doing, I will come back to this why statement. I will remember why I am here and what my goal is. My goal is to make people happy from there I can evaluate to see if I am reaching this goal and what I need to achieve it.

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Leadership Education, Leadership Training

Start With Why

In our LDR100 class, we were split into groups of about eight people and given a book to read and relate to our leadership experiences. We were then asked to do a presentation for our class to teach them what our book was about and demonstrate the things that we learned. Our book was about starting with a purpose and not just the product. We discussed starting with WHY you are doing something rather than what you are doing. To demonstrate this, we took videos of our friends and family discussing who their role models were and why. This taught that you pick your friends and family for who they are rather than what they do. You start with why they are your model.

“If we all take some responsibility to start with WHY and inspire others to do the same, then, together, we can change the world”. -Simon Sinek

In the book, Simon Sinek discussed the importance of the golden circle. The golden circle is a demonstration of how you should make decisions in order to be an effective leader. You start from the inside and move out. So, you start with why you want to do something. You move to how you’re going to do something, and then you figure out exactly what you are going to do. This is proven to be how successful businesses like Apple run their business. By using the idea of starting with why when working in groups, you will be a more effective leader in whatever it is you’re doing.

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