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.

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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.

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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.

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Leadership In Sigma Alpha Epsilon: An RSO Reflection

In the fall of 2016, I decided that I wanted to go Greek. I decided to rush Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity here on CMU’s campus. When going through the process, I did not know what to expect, but joining SAE has truly impacted my life in ways that could not be explained.

Soon after joining SAE, I knew that I was joining a brotherhood. Never have I ever had a solid group of 40+ guy friends in my life. SAE has shattered all stereotypes regarding “fake friends.” Not only are the members of my fraternity my brothers, but they are my friends, friends that are there in times of good and in times of bad. Genuine friends, friends that cannot be bought or bargained for. I can genuinely say that I can see multiple members of my fraternity standing up in my wedding. During my first semester, I was elected to serve as the Member Educator, and currently sit on my fraternity’s executive board. Following the Member Educator position, I was elected President of SAE in the Fall of 2017. If someone would have told me that I would have been president after three semesters of a fraternity, I would have told them that they were crazy. But here I am. I lead a group of 49 of the most genuine and respectful leaders here on campus, and I could not be prouder of my organization.

 

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I have learned many things from joining SAE and later getting elected to the executive board. Greek Life in general gets knocked for “partying” and what not, but Greek Life instills a sense of community into each of its members. Being in Greek life has also made me think more about others than myself and has created a great sense of camaraderie between all groups within the community. The world today has become selfish. People don’t think about others as much anymore. Philanthropy is begged for rather than simply given. This is a problem. People in the world need a helping hand sometimes, and one must reach out to give support. After joining my fraternity, I can truly say that I am dedicated to helping those who cannot help themselves through philanthropy and service. Each day I attempt to achieve my why statement: “Inspire others to protect and serve communities that cannot protect themselves.” My involvements in Greek Life have contributed to allowing me to indeed serve the communities around me. Being elected President has made me grow up… very quickly. As the President, it is my job to ensure that all brothers are accounted for and each brother of mine remains safe throughout their stay in SAE. I am truly honored to have been entrusted the role as president in my fraternity and have been putting my heart and soul into the job. After almost four semesters in my fraternity, I can say that I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have had to make tough calls as a leader, I have upset some people, I have made some bad decisions, and I have lost friends. There has been some negative, but I feel that I have truly grown as an individual, and as a leader. I have had good days, and I have had bad. In my opinion, the good days outweigh the bad. Be true.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

PHL118 Reflection

Coming into Sophomore year, I was excited for what the year had to offer. I took courses in many different disciplines,  as I wanted to expand my knowledge regarding some issues surrounding our nation. As part of the LAS protocol, our cohort was required to take PHL118, a moral problems course.

Because of my major, I was unable to take the course with my cohort, so I took an alternate section of the course. This section happened to be a WI section, which called for intensive writings within the course. My professor, Dr. Robert Stecker, was an awesome instructor. In the class, we explored some provocative topics that led to powerful discussions as well as some emotion. Some of the topics included the death penalty, animal rights, eugenics, moral arguments regarding drug use, and abortion. As anyone could imagine, the discussions were all but simple. Students from all different walks of life filled the classroom, which led to powerful and productive discussion. Along with classroom discussion, Dr. Stecker assigned us essays that challenged our analysis and argumentative skills.

The moral problems course really opened my eyes in the sense of diversity. Because each student had different life experiences, he/she had different opinions on each of the topics we explored. This diversity allowed discussion to be interesting and challenged each student to take a step out of their comfort zone to understand new material. As a leader, it is crucial to be able to understand multiple levels of morality, as well as understand differing opinions. Because the world is so diverse, there are often tens or hundreds of different positions on an issue, and as a leader, it is important to be able to remain open-minded to listen to different positions. The course itself was a great first step to allow for critical discussion that promoted debate. Without debate, the world would be boring, as each person would agree on everything everyone said.

PHL118 was the first class at CMU that pushed me outside of my comfort zone. The topics discussed were those that promoted a lot of discussion and emotion. As a leader, it is crucial to be able to understand the positions of others , rather than be closed minded to any change. I believe that good and productive discussion requires an uncomfortable setting which challenges the positions and beliefs of all those involved. As a leader, I must understand that my followers each come from a different walk of life. Each follower has different experiences, different expectations, and different opinions on crucial issues. Rather than be closed minded, it is imperative to promote diversity and lead with an open mind.

LEAD Team Reflection

During my freshman year, I was 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 of my freshman year, 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 the details really efficiently and broke into committees. I worked on the set up/cupcake committee to make sure the venue was prepared for all the guests. 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 setup we prepped the tables, photo wall, and slideshows. We also set up the cupcake display in the shape of an LI. I already knew that Grad Ball would be fun before people even arrived.

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What is cool about Grad Ball is that 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 awesome to say the least.

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 first year within the program has quickly ended. 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 truer in my life. The graduating class of seniors have the potential to change the world. It is crazy that in just 3 short years I will be where they stood on the night of Grad Ball.

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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 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. 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.

Theory Application

Adaptation is defined as: a process of modification to become more suitable for a new use or purpose; becoming adjusted to new conditions.

During our LDR200L class, we were given leadership theories for our leadership workshops. I was beyond happy to receive the theory of Adaptive Leadership. Since I have came to college I have been a chameleon: always adapting  to constantly changing conditions. Leaders must always think their feet and adapt to ever-changing conditions that they encounter. In my opinion, this theory is most related to everyday life because life never goes according to plan 24/7.

The Adaptive Leadership Theory made its first appearance in 1994.  Ronald Heifetz, the researcher behind this theory published his book Leadership Without Easy Answers, which included findings on adaptive leadership. Heifetz continued his studies and brought multiple other researchers in to help with this process. He worked with Sinder, Grashow, Linsky, and Laurie to start developments on the Adaptive Theory. The Adaptive Theory made way into the field and is still being researched today to add new findings.

With this specific leadership theory there are four different perspective to look at and six behaviors. The perspectives include biology, service, psychotherapy, and systems. Each perspective explains how adaptation occurs in four different ways. The six behaviors include: Get on the Balcony, Identify Adaptive Challenges, Regulate Distress, Maintain Disciplined Attention, Give Work Back to the People, and Protect Leadership Voices from Below. Each of the behaviors provide an outline of what a Leader should do when they are adapting. Each behavior is free flowing, and links one behavior to the next. I believe that Adaptive Leadership has many more strengths than weaknesses. One strength is that this approach is process based. The theory clearly explains the interaction between leader and followers, which can clear up any ambiguity one may have about their interaction. The approach can also be used within any professional field. Students in college can use this approach and so can doctors in the ER. Since this theory is still fairly new, there is a lack of empirical evidence to back up all of the claims, however, more research is being done to gain new knowledge about the theory.

This leadership theory revolves around adaptation during any possible situation. I have experienced many instances in college where I had to think on my feet and adapt to different situations. When on the LAS in the D trip, we were always prepared for something to change within a minutes notice. Jesi constantly reminded us to just “willow with it.” As leaders we must always be able to react to any situation. While on the trip, I personally had to adapt to the type of service I was doing. Going into the trip I was told that I would be volunteering in the kitchen, an area that I felt very comfortable in. However, once we arrived, I was informed that I was no longer working kitchen. I was a little upset regarding the change, but knew that I had to adapt. I quickly was able to identify the adaptive challenge and work efficiently to change. In the end, I had a wonderful time doing my newly assigned task. Another time I used this theory in my life is in my fraternity. Being on the executive board of my fraternity comes with its challenges. As the member educator, I am responsible for ensuring that all members are on track with their education programs as well as schedule meetings with new members. College guys are busy. It was not until I got into college did I realize this. Being in charge of organizing all of the meetings can be tough when people are  constantly busy or abruptly cancel meetings. I have used steps of the theory such as regulating distress to keep myself sane as well as keep everyone engaged.

The Adaptive Leadership theory makes the most sense to me because it can truly be displayed in everyday life. Leaders can see it. Followers can see it. In college, everyday is a new challenge, and you don’t really know what life is going to throw your way. By understanding the Adaptive Leadership theory, one can think quickly on their feet and make the necessary change to tackle the problem at hand.

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!

LDR200L Reflection

In the Spring of 2017, the leadership advancement scholars of 2016 took LDR200L with the wonderful Jesi Ekonen(with the help of Garrett, Jordan, and Kate) . The first day of this class I knew that it would be super fun and interesting! Jesi laid out the format for the class and allowed us as a class to come up with learning objectives that we wanted to take out of the class. As a class we wanted to better our facilitation skills, create a sense of community, and to learn more about the theories of leadership. The class was set up for us to succeed! Within the first few weeks we dove straight into initiatives: exercises that would better facilitation skills. Within the initiatives, each group presented an idea to the class and provided an activity with a debrief session following. Following our initiatives we got into exploring The Golden Circle, and starting with why. The Golden Circle hit the nail on the head with the community aspect and definitely was able to show the class the meaning of inclusive leadership. We took assessments regarding leadership theory and had practical demonstrations regarding theories as well. One of our big projects at the end of the semester, the leadership workshop, challenged each group to facilitate a 45 minute workshop that would present the class with a leadership theory. The presentation included an activity to solidify the concept, as well as a presentation to give the class the information about the theory. Within the course, I have learned so many things about leadership, some things that I did not even think existed. Our last huge project was our blogs. Yes like this one. Our WordPress has been our running project since the beginning of freshman year and will continue until we graduate. Our blogs incorporate our leadership experience, as well as our service in our communities. Some students choose to only utilize the blogs for class, while others show employers all of the experiences that they have had. For this class, we also took a trip to Detroit to perform service, which I blogged about in a recent blog. Overall, LDR200L has been a wonderful class. As a cohort we have grown as individual leaders due to the constant group think occurring throughout the class and outside experiences.

LDR200L has been a great class. I truly enjoyed the class because it was centered around our wants as a cohort. In the future, I will take the theory applications from class and apply them throughout daily life. My why statement uses a lot that I have learned from this class: “Inspire others to protect and serve communities that cannot protect themselves.” I believe that everyone has the potential to be a leader. After this class, I now know that there is indeed empirical evidence that backs up that statement. Leadership theories such as the trait and skill theories identify leaders with certain traits as well as point out skills that people can better to become leaders. I have always practiced leadership throughout middle school and high school, but it was not until this class did I truly understand the origins of leadership theories. I can also use this class directly to impact my future. I have been writing my blogs for class as well as using it as an e portfolio for employers. This class definitely has allowed me to be successful when using my blogs as a resume tool. Lastly the class allowed me to perform service in a neighborhood that needed it. As a class we went to Detroit and participated in 1.5 days of service within the community. The trip was a truly eye opening experience and allowed me to realize how grateful I truly was. The class as a whole developed my knowledge about general leadership and allows me to work toward my why statement everyday.