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 of 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 of 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 set up 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 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 more true 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 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. 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.

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Year in Review Reflection

When I first came to Central Michigan University in the Fall of 2016, I was scared but also super nervous. As an only child, I never really had to do complex tasks on my own, and always had my parents there to help me if I needed it. I was excited to be a part of the Leader Advancement Scholarship program and knew that I had friends before I even entered the school year. Once we began the year, the year started pretty negative. Honestly I did not like Central one bit at the beginning of the year. I immediately wanted to transfer. I ended up going to some friends in LAS and they talked me into giving Central a chance. Within a few weeks, I ended up buckling down academically and started to love Central. Once I was able to get in my routine, I loved Central Michigan University with a passion. I knew Central was the place for me, and from then on I was excited to dive deep into my major, leadership program and fraternity.

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Powers Hall- Central Michigan University

When I came into the Leadership program, I was a very systematic leader who always was vocal about my beliefs. I advocated hard for my beliefs and was honestly pretty closed minded. The program has definitely allowed me to be a more inclusive leader. For example, my political views coming into college were very set. After taking a step back, I have opened my eyes to “the light.” The Leadership program, along with its leadership classes have really gotten me to realize that you can look at the world from many different perspectives. As a high school student, it is uncommon to look at things in leadership from different perspectives, just the one that you are familiar with. Within my LDR100 and LDR200 classes, I was able to learn about all of the different approaches to leadership that I have never even considered. What I feel changed me so much was rushing my fraternity.  Joining my fraternity threw me directly into a leadership position. In contrast to high school leadership that I was familiar with, my leadership position put me in to a position where I was in charge of older members. Being a freshman and getting elected to an e-board position really changed my outlook on my personal leadership skills. Older members of my fraternity elected me to be a leader in the chapter. This moment gave me the confidence I needed to transform into a better leader.

When working with others before I came to Central Michigan I was often very analytical when leading. After going through multiple workshops, I realized that I needed to display more sympathy when leading. I was always very goal oriented when it came to completing tasks, and sometimes left the feelings of others out of the equation. Now when leading others I often consider the feelings of others when making decisions. Another huge thing I learned about leadership is that leaders don’t always have to lead from the front. It is okay at times to just support other leaders from the backs, rather than being a vocal leader from the front.

In the LI, we always talk about how the skills we learn from our program can be directly applied within college and real life. I can honestly see the skills that I have learned throughout the year come right into play. Whether it is being a vocal leader, or leading from the back of the room, I can say the first year within the Leadership Institute has taught me the necessary skills to be an effective inclusive leader. I am going to continue working hard to ensure that my leadership skills improve over the next four years. Ultimately I am trying to get into a good career path that will allow me to work hard and inspire others to do the same.

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LAS Grad Ball with members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Michigan Delta Omega Chapter

 

 

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.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon (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 unexplainable.

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 are my brothers, but they are my friends. 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.

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. After almost two semesters in my fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, I can truly say that I have grown as a person. I am more open to new ideas, always willing to help, and always have a smile on my face. Be true.

 

HST110 Reflection

When I signed up for my 3 hour history class, I was a little nervous, but was excited to learn more about history. College history classes teach you things that you did not think about in high school. I did not know what to expect in a 3 hour college class. All I knew about the class was that I would be taking it with members of my cohort. I had taken a history WI class last semester so I knew I could handle the writing. During the Spring semester of my freshman year I took HST110L, “The American Experience.” The professor, Dr. Jones, focussed on the importance of immigration throughout American history.  In the class, we covered topics regarding all different races and ethnicities moving to America. Dr. Jones truly created a sense of  an inclusive American society.

So far, I have learned so much in Dr. Jones class. From the Irish Potato famine to Latin American labor union, the class covered many different forms of immigration. In addition just to the immigration, the class taught us the motives for creating barriers between people, which we know now is a very bad practice. Oppression has targeted many groups of people, and we must ensure that we are being proactive when it comes to protecting the oppressed.

In the present day, leadership MUST be inclusive. We live in a world where people are consistently stereotyped based on their gender, race, or sexual orientation. We must know the history of immigration and the history of oppression to ensure that people in the present do not repeat what had already happened. In America we face the challenge of racism, sexism, and other cultural differences. Taking this class has been eye-opening. Moving forward, it important to continue to preach inclusive leadership. With the conflicts occurring in the world today, we must understand that immigration is going to happen. America will be taking in immigrants.. Or maybe America will not be taking immigrants. Whatever situation arrises within American politics, we must understand as a nation that people over generations have been oppressed. We as Americans need to break the streak of oppression.

LAS in the D Pre Reflection

In the city of Detroit, there are many that live in poverty. Poverty is the main reason the city of Detroit is struggling. Throughout the years, many have moved into the city hoping for a better life and a better job, and this worked for a while. However, once racism spread throughout the city, the city’s urban population began to feel the direct effects of the racism. The racism caused many urban zones to be redlined and caused a segregated community. Today, the city is mostly African American, as most of the whites have moved into suburbs. Unfortunately, this has caused jobs and opportunity to leave the city. Due to many of the manufacturing jobs moving to the suburbs, Detroit has started to deteriorate. During the talk with Dr. Baugh, I learned that racism and unequal opportunity was the reason the city started to deteriorate in the first place. Detroit is a large urban center, and it is the job of the upcoming generation to start the rebuild of the city.

The Leadership Institute as a whole serves those who cannot serve themselves. As a deteriorating city, Detroit needs the hospitality and philanthropy of those in the surrounding area. As a cohort, we are very fortunate to be experiencing higher education together; however, some of the students in the city may never know what higher education is. As a member of the Leadership Institute, it is my responsibility to go into communities that are struggling, and do my best to contribute my part. The Leadership Institute preaches inclusion. Whether you are white, black, blue, or  purple, we all bleed the same color. We are all humans first. WE need to care for each other. As a product of a public school, I say that if the opportunity and spark is given, students will be able to be successful. I am very excited to work with some of the upcoming leaders from Jaylen Rose Leadership Academy. As a member of the Leadership Institute, it is my obligation to bring leadership across the state. During this weekend, I am looking forward to giving back to a community that really needs it. I am fortunate. I understand that some are not. My part? To give my time and service to those who cannot serve themselves.

Controversial Leadership- Donald J Trump

I would like to start this post with a disclaimer. I am not here to preach why Donald J Trump is the best thing since sliced bread, or to make you feel that Donald Trump was the best candidate for the office. I am here to discuss how his Leadership ultimately ended him in the Oval Office. Many Americans are excited, looking forward to unification and possible change, while others believe that OUR President is a homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, arrogant businessman who has no respect for women’s rights… but I am not here to get into that argument. As Americans we are able to have the right to freedom of speech, and freedom of expression, which is in my opinion, is the greatest right an American citizen can have. I know that many are still hurting after the election, and I assure you that this post will be as politically neutral as it possibly can be. I am here describing leadership traits that Donald Trump has, I am not saying I support or do not support the President. Leaders can indeed be good or bad; however, good and bad leaders share similar traits.

On November 8th, 2016, history was made in the United States of America. Businessman and Republican Party nominee, Donald J Trump, was elected to hold the highest office in the Free World. On this day, millions marched to the polls to cast their vote which would ultimately change the history of the United States of America forever. Having no political experience, Trump had a long road ahead of him, but he worked hard: reaching out to his constituents, making appearances throughout America, running a campaign that did not stop until Election Day, and ultimately winning the election. Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, Election Day shocked you. Hillary Clinton was projected to win the election almost indefinitely, so what happened? As a student studying Leadership, I feel that I have enough knowledge about the fundamental way Donald J Trump was able to perform a Miracle in the White House. Below are some qualities of Donald Trump that I believe make him a Leader.

  1. Transparent: Being a leader is not easy. Being President of the United States is not easy either. In OUR society we hope that OUR President is a leader. In my eyes, President Trump is a great leader. Being a leader requires confidence. When looking into President Trump’s campaign, it is evident that he was focussed on the goal, The White House, and he pursued this goal avidly . Trump also said some things that were not easy to say, and he said these things confidently. Trump untraditionally veered away from the idea of being politically correct at all times, which granted him support from countless of Americans. As a leader, it is important to be open with your supporters. Kerri Potts from ESPN quoted: “I’ve never bought into the concept of ‘wearing the mask.’ As a leader, the only way I know how to engender trust and buy-in from my team and with my colleagues is to be 100 percent authentically me—open, sometimes flawed, but always passionate about our work. It has allowed me the freedom to be fully present and consistent. They know what they’re getting at all times. No surprises.” President Trump has always been transparent with the public on all of his plans[minus the tax returns of course]. Trump made sure that all Americans knew what the plan was, and how the plan would get executed. Trump being open with all of the public was his first step to “Make America Great Again.” Leaders must remain transparent. A leader must show their followers their hand, and allow all to be a part of the knowledge and plan that the leader holds.
  2. Innovative: Before Donald Trump entered the world of politics, he was given a “small loan of 1 million dollars” by his father to start something huge… and he did just that. Although most Americans would agree that a million dollars is not a small sum of money, one must take a step back and realize that yes, the money did help, but Trump’s amazing knowledge of the market and innovation ultimately allowed him to turn his “small loan” into a billion dollar empire. Donald Trump was able to use his skills to advance himself into an elite position in his field. His persistence and will and drive to succeed can also not go unrecognized. Among many fields, there has been innovators. These innovators excel in their fields. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg both excelled in the computer industry because they were able to take something small that they had and use their God given talent to create something amazing. A leader must take and recognize their God given talents and share them with the world.
  3. Motivated: Donald used the tools given to him by his father to create something better than what he was left with. A true demonstration of the American Dream. He was able to live the American Dream and is now trying to pass that dream onto all other Americans. In his first few days in office, Donald Trump has been very clear that he is ready to hit the ground running of implementation of policy that he and the Republican Party feel necessary. Donald Trump has implemented a cabinet of conservative powerhouses who will motivate Donald to make the right decisions. Against heavy opposition, Donald Trump is motivated to overturn the decisions regarding the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines. President Trump has strong beliefs regarding these projects and is working to ensure they are constructed. As a leader, it is important to remain motivated in all aspects of life. Leaders are often self motivated and use their internal locus of control to inspire and motivate others. During the Trump campaign in 2016, Donald Trump was able to motivate millions of Americans to rise up and elect Trump to the Oval Office.
  4. Persistent: Donald Trump is very persistent. From his initial campaign announcement, he has focussed on issues that the public worry about: immigration, terrorism, jobs, and political corruption. Unlike past politicians, Donald Trump has pushed political correctness to the side and has able to connect to Americans directly, using terms that common people of America use. Donald has not fallen short of calling something what it really is. From the beginning of his campaign, he has been persistent about “Building the Wall” on the United States’ southern border.  I imagine that Donald Trump will continue to be persistent regarding  upcoming political issues. As a leader, it is important to know when to continue to be persistent on things, and when to take a step back. As the Administration comes together, Donald Trump will understand when to lead from the front and when to take a step back and lead less vocally from the back.

Now what? : The 2016 election was a ground breaking election. I believe that Donald Trump has earned the support of many due to the fact that he is “straight up” with the public. In the past, politicians have often “beat around the bush” and that has fed up the public. Donald has been the first political figure to go against the stigma of political correctness and just call something for what it actually is.  Donald Trump’s ground game also played a huge role on public support. During the election cycle, Trump held numerous rallies across the United States and many of these rallies took place in Michigan. Trump’s team did not give up. His constant persistence in Michigan ultimately won him the state. Hillary’s campaign was in the background in Michigan because Michigan has gone Blue since Reagan, and her team thought it would be an easy win. Through persistence and talking to the public the about issues they cared about, Trump was able to win Michigan, flip numerous states, and ultimately win the Presidential Election of 2016.

As a leader it is important to be direct. If a leader sugar coats everything, nothing is going to get done.  What really speaks to me is that Trump is not worried about what people think about him. He says what the majority is afraid to say. As a leader, it is important to be able to rise above the stigma of being “politically correct” in everything, and to express an opinion that needs to be recognized. After exploring the leadership of Donald Trump, Donald has inspired me to always follow my dreams, and to take every opportunity to make something great of my life.

Whether you believe Donald Trump is a good leader or a bad leader, all leaders share similar traits. These traits often are the reasons leaders come to success or power. AND HEY…If a Businessman who turned Politician last year can win the White House, you can truly do anything you want in this world, the opportunities are endless***

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President Donald Trump

A Semester Reflection

As a second semester freshman in the Leadership Institute, I have had some leadership experiences that have transformed me into a better leader. Being only a freshman, I know I still have a lot of space to grow and become a better leader; however, I feel that I have a good start. This year, I have had the opportunity to work within the Leadership on my LEADteam, Grad Ball. In the past I have worked in banquet halls and restaurants, so I am super excited to continue using my expertise to put on a wonderful event. As a member of the LAS family, it is very important to stay connected with the upperclassmen. Staying connected allows students to continue to bounce new ideas off one another.This fall I have also attended Spark Leadership Experience and this event allowed me to learn more about my personal leadership style. Many people are leaders, however, every leader has a different leadership style. By attending Spark, I was able to really get a feel of what type of leader I actually am. Attending Spark also helped me build some of my weaknesses as a leader, weaknesses that I now work to improve everyday. Lastly, I have also been elected to my executive board of my fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and this experience has allowed me to expand my leadership to a new community on campus. Being a freshman on executive board of my fraternity has been my best achievement this year. It is rare that a freshman can come into a large group of guys and have gain enough respect to be elected to a position like that. Moving forward I hope to advance through the positions of my fraternity and continue to make a positive influence on my guys in the fraternity.

In the near future  I am looking forward to joining new clubs and RSOs as well as participating more in my current activities such as Greek Life and the Leadership Institute. Being a Leader on this campus is needed. Student organizations and clubs drive involvement and recreation here at CMU. It is important for me to continue to use my leadership skills to move into other leadership roles that I am not familiar with. As a leader, it is important to always be open minded and to learn new styles of leadership. Throughout the year so far, I have learned to be way more open-minded. Growing up as an only child, I was exposed to a set pattern of thinking. Once I have arrived in college, my ideas and philosophies have been challenged by professors, peers, and advisors. Being so new to college, and honestly being a new leader in a college setting, I have been challenged to change some of my styles and perspectives. As a constantly growing leader, I am constantly trying to better myself. To me, that is what being a leader is. Everyday, I try to become the best leader I can be.

Leadership Lectures

In this blog, I will discuss three of the most  prominent Leadership Lectures of this semester as a first semester freshman in the LAS program.

My first session was with Erin Smith Gaken. She described the 12 excuses people make for making unethical decisions. Her presentation was completely spot on. Even though I try to ensure I am the best version of myself each day, I have participated in some of these 12 excuses. The one that stuck out to me most was “ethics is a luxury and i can’t afford it.” Often college students use this one the most. Since we are all poor in college, sometimes we make decisions that don’t necessarily reflect our character, but reflect the situation that we are in as people. Moving forward, I will try to make decisions with ethics in mind. I know that it will always not be the easiest choice, but it is necessary to make ethical decisions and continue making them.

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My second session was with Josh Lee. Josh’s presentation focussed on building teams and branding a business or idea. He explained in his presentation how many successful firms advertise with emotional claims. Josh explained the importance of advertising and how important it is to be able to pitch a brand in 30 seconds. We formed teams and pitched our ideas of how our organization would be successful, we used interpersonal communication skills to build our thoughts. Josh Lee explained the importance of making a strong team that embraces the values of all of the members. In the future when creating teams, I will appeal to the emotion of my audience and put together the strongest team I possibly can.

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My third session was with Brooke Helm, director of the College of Science and Engineering residential college. Her presentation was based around ensuring good communication with others, and how important it is to realize that it is okay to be a follower sometime. Brooke showed a video that allowed her audience to realize when it is time to be a follower. After some time of discussion, all of us in the room were comfortable with being the first follower if we ever needed to. Brooke really went into detail regarding how communication is key. It is important that we as leaders do not get caught up in the “Mouse Trap of Communication.” This phenomenon includes not recognizing efficient communication methods and reverting to methods that may not be as efficient. It is often possible to get tripped up over content of a message rather than how it is delivered, however, delivery is very important when it comes to being a leader. Leaders know how to present a message that will be most effective in the setting necessary.

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