COM461L Reflection

For the LAS protocol, we as a cohort were required to take COM461L, or Communication in Leadership. Communication in leadership is a wonderful course that is designed to explore how leaders communicate in many different situations. We explored crisis communication, communication in groups and teams, communication in organizations, and public communication. The cool part of this class is that it is essentially a continuation of the LDR200 class, which lays the foundation for leadership theory. COM461L does a great job exploring how communication and leadership are so interconnected and how important leaders’ messages are to their followers. The class was taught by Prof. Elizabeth Carlson, and I have not met a more genuine professor in my life. She always had the best interests of students in mind and was always available as a resource. She was positive throughout the entire semester. With COM being one of my weaker subjects, I was a little nervous coming into this class; however, all my worries quickly disappeared. Prof. Carlson believed that leaders have the ability to communicate with followers through storytelling, and a few of our assignments did just that. Through many extemporaneous presentations we worked on our storytelling, which really is a great method of communicating, as it establishes credibility and showcases passion.

COMpic1

Communication is so important in the world we all live in today. Whether it is face to face or virtual, it is important to know how to communicate appropriately. We as leaders have an obligation to fulfill. We are the bridge between organization and employee, or government officials and constituents. As a leader, it is important to polish up our own personal communication skills to ensure that we are able to convey messages with ethical intent and inclusiveness. In the world today, we see a lot of political business being dealt with inappropriate tweets, outbursts, or news coverage. Since when is twitter the new boxing ring for political figures? As learned in this class, emotional competency is very important when it comes to communicating as a leader. Following the domestic violence incident on CMU’s campus, it is important as a leader to be able to use emotional competence to ensure that followers feel safe. In times of crisis, a leader must ensure that their followers are taken care of first, while maintaining their composure.

ComPic2

COM461L has taught many things about leading in teams that I never knew before the course. As I approach my professional career, I will remember the material from the course. It is evident that employees will often work in teams in the workplace, and I have learned so much information regarding team management, leadership styles(and when to use which one), as well as how to host and manage a efficient meeting. Moving forward, the most important thing that has stuck with me professionally is the idea of having efficient meetings. Often times meetings are boring, long, and appear to have no clear agenda. This not only is terribly mundane, but discourages members from attending the meeting in the first place. In the real world, I imagine that I will attend countless meetings and maybe put on a few myself, and I want to ensure that the meetings serve a collaborative purpose. Moving forward, that is so much from this course I can use. The world needs leaders that communicate with inclusiveness and passion. I believe that this course has given me the foundation to lead in that manner.

Advertisements

Community Service: “Building” Relationships

During the Fall, I worked with some friends to finish some electrical in houses. A few of my friends are contractors and asked me if I wanted to help them out with some projects they were working on. I found out that they were working on some buildings in some urban centers and needed some guys to help with some labor. I am no builder, I will admit that, but I have worked numerous labor jobs in the past. I volunteered with my friends for a couple weeks and by the end of it, I was really good at somethings that I never thought I could be good at. Because there are building codes, I could not do a ton, but I learned a ton of usable skills. We built a few buildings and left an impact in the community, which was a really cool experience.

 

Work2.PNG

Volunteer work is imperative to giving back to a community. As leaders, we all have an obligation to give back to the communities from which we came from. Communities are such a cool space because they allow people to come together in effort to conquer a common goal, so contributing to my community was a very humbling experience knowing that I was making a difference in someone’s life.

 

Work3.PNG

As an emerging leader, it is important for me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, rather than holding a bias about an area. Last year, I attended the LAS in the D Trip with my LAS cohort. The city of Detroit was beautiful and upcoming, and this service work I did reminded me of the effect that my cohort had one the city last year when we went. Experiences like this allow me to reflect on how fortunate I am. When I have spare time, instead of participating in selfish actions, I will reach out to members of my community and participate in servant leadership the community so deeply needs.

 

Work1

 

LEAD Team Reflection Year 2

During my sophomore year, I was originally scheduled to be on LAS Competition day LEAD team, but had to change due to an unexpected interview. Once again I participated on the Grad Ball LEAD team. The LAS Grad Ball is an event for the graduating seniors within the  LAS program, which they are honored for all of their accomplishments within the program. For the LAS protocol, every student is required to actively participate on a LEAD team. During the 1st semester, my lead team was not very active due to the fact that the event was not until April. After Holiday break, the LEAD team took off and we started to buckle down. We worked to organize a venue, menu, and other party requirements. Our team put together all of the details really efficiently and broke into committees. I worked on the set up and music committee. The music committee ensured that there were some good tunes playing during the event. As setup we had to make sure the venue was ready to go to honor our LAS seniors, who have dedicated so much time and effort into the program. During the set up we prepped the tables, photo wall, and slideshows. I set up the computer and music that was needed for the event.

GradBall2

Grad Ball is awesome because it brings all of LAS as well as the Leadership Institute staff together. It is super cool to see everyone within the Leadership Institute be together in one room. It was almost overwhelming to see Central Michigan’s top leaders within a banquet hall room, but it was an inspiring experience to say the least.

gradball3.jpg

Working on the LEAD team allowed me to work within a team to plan an event. In the professional field, it will be important to have teamwork skills. During the planning, we all had different ideas. We had to collaborate as a group to come to compromises. Earlier in the year, we learned about all the different leadership styles, and it was evident when planning Grad Ball, all of the styles were being utilized. I am a very systematic leader and am good at organizing things, however, sometimes I lack the sympathy connecting to my followers. Helping plan this event really touched my sympathetic side. Since this event was to recognize the senior LAS class, it really hit home considering that my second year within the program, as well as my second year at Central Michigan University has quickly come to an end. What spoke volumes to me was the speech given by Dan Gaken at the event regarding Central Michigan’s ability to create the next generation of ethical leaders. I have never heard something that resonated more to me in my life. The graduating class of seniors have the potential to change the world, as the sky is really the limit for them. It is crazy that in just 2 short years I will be where they stood on the night of Grad Ball.

This experience working on the team was so fun working with others to make the event great, however, during this last paragraph I want to do some self-reflection. I can honestly say that the Leadership Institute has changed my life. Sitting in the same room as the graduating LAS seniors made it real to me, it connected all of the dots. I knew that being a part of the LAS program was very rewarding, but that fact really hit me the night of grad ball seeing all of the leaders about to walk into the professional field with confidence and compassion. It completely blows my mind that half of my college experience is already over. When I look at this event, I can say that I am blessed. LAS was the reason I had come to Central Michigan in the first place, and wow, it is such a great fit for me. This campus has genuinely been my home the last two years, and I would not want it any other way. I am so lucky that I received that phone call from Dan Gaken on January 20th, 2016, at 5:46 P.M.  I am glad that someone saw my potential to lead. Central Michigan believes in Leadership. Central Michigan creates ethical leaders. I am so blessed to be a part of the Leadership movement at Central Michigan University. I am ready to take the skills learned to the real world and into my profession. I am ready to lead.

PSC105WI Refelection

During the Spring 2018 semester, I took PSC105WI, or Introduction to American Government. The course is designed as a traditional political science course that immerses students into the history of American policy as well as American political thought. My professor, Dr. Thomas Stewart, did a wonderful job teaching the course. Dr. Stewart made the class fun while relating material in the course to present day politics. With the election of 2016 came great divide in the United States of America, and Dr. Stewart did a great job communicating thoughts without sharing his opinion or creating bias within the classroom. One could appreciate that Dr. Stewart taught the class objectively rather than allowing his own political views dictate the direction of the course. In this class, we learned about democracy, and how the United States came to be. We dove into the ground rules of the Constitution, and who and what branch got the power. We then explored the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and did an exercise that allowed us to spot constitutional issues within Hollywood films and in present day issues.  We wrapped up the course with information surrounding foreign policy and how the United States has dealt with diplomatic issues in the past. Overall, the course was a fun experience as it related a ton of material back to the current day problems that everyone sees on the news.

Political science courses are a privilege. When exploring other countries that do not have a democratic government, it is evident that the students in those countries do not get the opportunity to learn about democracy or their governmental systems at all. The U.S. allows for students to immerse themselves in free thinking and limits the amount of censoring when it comes to the sharing of information. We are very lucky. We have the ability to learn about all different types of government and explore different forms of government practiced around the world. It is crazy to see how uneducated Americans are when it comes to their own country and political system. I encourage each citizen to take a few political science courses as they will open your mind to the real issues and limit your ignorance when you argue issues that require fact based evidence. 🙂

Moving forward in the leadership minor, I see its purpose. The minor is intended to promote independent thinkers with open minds. Taking these courses, especially this political science course, has opened my eyes to some of the limitations of this country in its current state. Currently the elected leadership in America faces problems that they cannot solve due to lack of ambition, experience, and drive. The American political system is one of the best in the world. Citizens truly are the voice of the country, which is the classic definition of Democracy. What is a shame is when the elected officials begin to stray away from their promises, constituents, and the wants of the common person, and begin to act with disdain, ignorance, and are motivated by self-interest. This course did not create some type of epitome in my thinking, but it made me realize how many people throughout history and in the American political system are underrepresented. The leadership claims that it is time to “Make America Great Again” but who was it great for to begin with? Leaders must stand up for what is moral, and use this morality to drive the country into prosperity. Excluding citizens and treating minorities as second class citizens is not the answer.  I am glad to say that LAS has opened my eyes to some of the problems I have previously overlooked. I am blessed to say that I am part of the program that creates ethical leaders. This country lacks ethical leadership, but we are the future.

Mentor Reflection

 

Last week, the LAS cohort of 2016 went through a workshop to prepare us to become mentors to a member of the incoming LAS class of 2017. Before the workshop, I was consumed by the thought of getting myself the best possible mentee. I wanted someone who I knew that I would instantly connect with, and honestly probably become really good friends with. I had a very closed mind when it came to the selection process. I wanted who I wanted and that was that. As the workshop began, I knew that my thought process was a little skewed. The whole time leading up to the workshop, I focused so much on my possible mentee, instead of myself. Sure, my mentee is going to be super important to me, but I needed to take a step back and realize that I needed be the BEST mentor to him/her, rather than trying to select “the best mentee.” Once I realized that I was able to be the best mentor I could be to ANYONE, I was not as worried about “finding my perfect match.”

During the workshop, my idea about being the perfect mentor was solidified. For me, being the perfect mentor isn’t all about being the mentees best friend ALL of the time. There will be a time to be friends, however, there is going to be times that I will need to be a mentor, and make sure my mentee is on the right path, the path to success. As a mentor I will always be a backbone to my mentee, however, I will allow them to do their own thing to allow personal growth. As a mentor, I am just looking forward to meeting my mentee. As a sophomore in college, I am looking forward to showing them the do’s and don’ts of Central Michigan University. As an only child, I never had the opportunity to be a big brother to a sibling, and I want to be able to take on that role with my mentee.

In preparation of my anticipated mentee, I am doing a lot of self reflection. I have had a pretty crazy first year, but have definitely experienced enough college to be an effective mentor. Coming into my freshman year of college, my biggest concern was the transition from high school into college. As soon as I arrived, I was able to connect with a great friend group who ultimately led me to being successful with my transition. I have experienced the home sickness, the stress of class, boyfriend/girlfriend drama,  and general college drama. I am so ready to lead my mentee through it. Freshman year in the LI has pumped me up to become a mentor to a member of the class of 2017. I can confidently say that I am ready to indeed be the best mentor I can be!