Blog #3 Prompt – Unpopular Decisions

The prompt for this blog is “Making a quick and easy decision may seem to be preferable, but an ethical leader doesn’t always have that option. Describe a time when you had to make an unpopular decision, how did you handle it and what was the overall outcome?”

Complete a 2-3 page double spaced word document and email to leaders@unco.edu with subject heading 00Change Blog. Responses will be graded based on the following rubric and the best response will be selected. The due date for emailing your thoughts is Saturday, 10/1/16. If your blog response is selected, it is worth extra credit in some of your classes and also counts for 1 hour of program stewardship for PLP.

Rubric
Ideas (5 points) Answers to prompts are interesting and demonstrate sophisticated thought.
Critical Thinking (5 points) Critical thinking has been applied to the answers of the prompts.
Support (5 points) Examples and reasoning used to demonstrate understanding of the prompt.
Organization & Coherence (5 points) Prompts are answered in a formatted and linear pattern of thinking.  Answers are almost entirely free of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

If you have any questions, want to share other creative pieces about leadership (i.e. poems, stories), or are dying to blog about a certain leadership question you’ve had on your mind, please feel free to leave a comment or email leaders@unco.edu with subject heading 00Change Blog.

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Blog #2 Response – Failure in Leadership – By Dylan Rutledge

Failure only has a negative implication if an individual does not learn from their mistake. Failure in many ways creates or enforces positive characteristics that will help us throughout our lives. A specific experience I have personally experienced is failing at the leader role. Growing up I was always in as many different sports as possible. From soccer, football, basketball, wrestling, baseball, track, and weightlifting, I have always been involved in athletics. My junior year of high school, I started on defense, offense, and was our kick/punt returner. Returning kicks was easily one of my favorite things in the sport. Every game I had numerous opportunities to catch the football from a long kick and return it as far as I could. It was honestly a really cool experience to have 21 people in front of you while 10 others are trying to escort me to the end zone untouched, whereas the remaining 11 were attempting to do the exact opposite. We were in the state quarterfinals, and we were down by seven points. We had approximately 4 minutes of gameplay remaining, and were receiving the ball. The audience was well over 5,000 people I could hardly hear anything from all the screams. There was nothing more I wanted to do more for my team than to return this kick well in order to give us our dreams of winning a high school state football championship. The ball was kicked and the sky was black, yet the stadium lights so bright it feels as its day. I found the ball, tracking it down like I had done hundreds of times throughout my career. I took a hard first three steps to catch the ball in stride at a full sprint to be as efficient as possible. However, as the ball tumbled down from the sky, it bounced off the chest piece of my shoulder pads, and shot straight horizontally towards the sideline. I ran as fast as I could to keep the ball for our team as I had fumbled. There was nothing I could do but to dive on the ball to remain possession around our own 10 yard line. I had never felt worse in my life during this moment. A home crowd of thousands were all virtually silent. I could hear the murmurs and gasps in the crowd as I embarrassingly ran back to the offensive huddle. I was one of our team’s leaders, one of our best players, and I failed when my team needed me most. I will never forget the emptiness I felt when the ball was skipping towards the sideline from my mental error. However, we ended up winning this game in overtime, so it was awesome to know that my team had my back, and that regardless of my mistake, they were going to do anything in their power to allow our team to win.

I learned a tremendous amount from me failing, and still being able to rally back and persevere to accomplish a goal, in this case, to win. It vividly exemplified that team sports come down to more than a single play. The easy thing for my team and I to do when that happened would have been to give up. Me, someone my team trusted in a high tension situation failed miserably when they needed me most. My team member’s did not say one negative thing to me when this happened. They were so encouraging with statements such as, “We need you Dyl” or “We’re going to win this.” As distraught as I was, I was going to do whatever possible to help my team. Had my team member’s pointed fingers or been discouraged from my fumble, I highly doubt we would have ever persevered through that game. The positivity and encouragement embedded in our group was enough to let us drive the ball 90 yards and end up winning in overtime. I learned from this failure that failure is not permanent. Mistakes are going to happen in life, and our reaction is the most important aspect of failure. Also, I learned that leaders need love. Although this may sound obvious, leaders are humans as well. I can’t express enough through my example how different things would have been had my team made negative remarks, or not trust me with the ball after that incident. Leaders are typically looked up to and are asked for advice when things aren’t going right. A leader needs support as well sometimes, and positivity and support are vital in learning from the mistakes or failures we endure throughout our life.

Stay tuned for the next 00Change Blog prompt…

Blog #2 Prompt – Failure In Leadership

The prompt for this blog is “Failure is a part of learning and leadership, tell us about a time when you failed as a leader. What did you learn from the experience and how has it shaped the way you lead?”

Complete a 2-3 page double spaced word document and email to leaders@unco.edu with subject heading 00Change Blog. Responses will be graded based on the following rubric and the best response will be selected. The due date for emailing your thoughts is Tuesday, 3/29/16. If your blog response is selected, it is worth extra credit in some of your classes and also counts for 1 hour of program stewardship for PLP.

Rubric
Ideas (5 points) Answers to prompts are interesting and demonstrate sophisticated thought.
Critical Thinking (5 points) Critical thinking has been applied to the answers of the prompts.
Support (5 points) Examples and reasoning used to demonstrate understanding of the prompt.
Organization & Coherence (5 points) Prompts are answered in a formatted and linear pattern of thinking.  Answers are almost entirely free of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

If you have any questions, want to share other creative pieces about leadership (i.e. poems, stories), or are dying to blog about a certain leadership question you’ve had on your mind, please feel free to leave a comment or email leaders@unco.edu with subject heading 00Change Blog.

Blog #1 Response – Dylan Ghaffari

Prompt: When entering into leadership studies, what was your initial opinion on your leadership style, and how has that changed, and where do you see it going? As a leader and global citizen, how do you see yourself changing the world?

To be open and honest, as the advisor for the Presidents Leadership Program, I haven’t entered Leadership Studies as a student and therefore can’t speak from the perspective of a student in the program. The closest I get is through advising appointments, being a teaching assistant for Leadership Studies courses, and helping to coordinate events in the Center for Honors, Scholars and Leadership. Nonetheless, being surrounded by the students and faculty that make up these programs has influenced the way I view leadership.

I joined the Center for Honors, Scholars and Leadership in the Spring of 2015. In my interview, I discussed a pipe dream I have of creating a “Mental Health” high school class containing aspects of Positive Psychology, Social/Emotional Intelligence, Metacognition, and Mentoring. It seems to me that a systemically oriented class like this could accentuate what is best in people and communities and could be used for students who come from privileged backgrounds as well as with marginalized populations. Indeed, we’re all “at-risk” of not becoming our optimal selves. I believe creating a space for intervention and prevention early on could have long term effects on student’s academic performance and mental health, school and community environment, and also combat the stigma associated with mental illness. Regardless of what I thought leadership was at the time, apparently they saw some qualities of leadership in me and my idea.

So what did I think leadership was then? Leadership, to me at the time, was captured through the idea that one could, “Lead from the front, lead from behind, and lead from the side,” a tag line I learned at a leadership conference I attended while employed as a  Peer Educator. I applied this idea to myself and the people I worked with as a General Manager of a barbeque restaurant. I lead from the front by showing the employees I worked with how to use the computer system, how to embody basic customer service skills, and what was expected around cleaning tasks. I lead from the back by correcting employees so they could learn and encouraging their successes. Finally, I lead from the side by incorporating the feedback the employees gave me and by using their expertise and knowledge along with mine when we faced new and challenging situations specific to the restaurant. I guess what I liked about this idea was that I didn’t have to have all the answers, nor did I have to have all of the authority. I suppose it meant to me that leadership was about shared responsibility, which is something I still hold onto.

Leadership now? I suppose I saw leadership as learning one’s trade, learning one’s specific job, and then passing it on. But no…I have seen leadership be much more. The biggest change that I’ve noticed in how I see leadership is in the emphasis on being active and activism.

As the TA for LEAD 200, I was witness to student’s self-directed Global Change Campaigns (GCC) where they were asked to not only navigate working in groups but also to create a project from scratch. The course assignment mirrored how change happens in the real world setting in that students were asked to figure out the necessary steps for completing their project without too much of a blueprint. The students first had to decide which topics would be considered for their projects. The narrowing of topics to the environment, politics, and education came at the cost of other topics that did not have enough votes (i.e. gender equality, poverty, and protecting animals). Each group then had to choose their lead leader, narrow down their topic, and begin collecting research and data to support their GCC.

Students were asked to figure out how to write a press release, what information to include, and how to get it distributed to UNC media outlets. They were asked to navigate booking rooms for their events and figuring out the costs of their events; sometimes having to make tough decisions when faced with the realities of resources. And in some cases, the biggest feat of all was doing this with one’s peers who were balancing other priorities (often heavy workloads as they are dedicated students) and who presented with their own strengths and areas of growth. All in all, each project was differentially successful at different parts of the campaign though it was my impression that every student shared in the learning process; myself included.

What was most difficult for me as a leader during this course was that I frequently wanted to give more direction to the students. At the same time, I was struggling with a similar question in the training I’m receiving to be a psychologist. How much of a role does one play for students in their learning process, for clients in their growth process? At what point is it beneficial to step back and let others handle responsibilities and at what point is withholding the support I feel I can offer not giving a student, client, or group the best chance at success? I thought I’d sit back, grade some journal reflections, and help the students learn some concepts about leadership. But alas, leadership is active…and it seemed to me that, I’m not sure how else to say this, “something happened” in that class…and maybe it was change.

Stay posted for the next 00Change Blog prompt.

Blog #1 – When entering into leadership studies, what was your initial opinion on your leadership style, and how has that changed, and where do you see it going? As a leader and global citizen, how do you see yourself changing the world?

The prompt for the first blog is When entering into leadership studies, what was your initial opinion on your leadership style, and how has that changed, and where do you see it going? As a leader and global citizen, how do you see yourself changing the world?

Complete a 2-3 page double spaced word document and email to leaders@unco.edu with subject heading 00Change Blog. Responses will be graded based on the following rubric and the best response will be selected. The due date for emailing your thoughts is Tuesday, 2/23/15. If your blog response is selected, it is worth extra credit in some of your classes and also counts for 1 hour of program stewardship for PLP.

Rubric
Ideas (5 points) Answers to prompts are interesting and demonstrate sophisticated thought.
Critical Thinking (5 points) Critical thinking has been applied to the answers of the prompts.
Support (5 points) Examples and reasoning used to demonstrate understanding of the prompt.
Organization & Coherence (5 points) Prompts are answered in a formatted and linear pattern of thinking.  Answers are almost entirely free of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

If you have any questions, want to share other creative pieces about leadership (i.e. poems, stories), or are dying to blog about a certain leadership question you’ve had on your mind, please feel free to leave a comment or email leaders@unco.edu with subject heading 00Change Blog.