COM 461L Reflection

Com 461L has been a class that has been a very pleasant surprise. Before the class started a lot of us “cohort classmates” were dreading a course that would reiterate a lot of what we have already learned, or that it would be information that we wouldn’t really take with us after the class. We were very much wrong. This course has given us answers to problems we face every day as on campus leaders. Problems such as how to most effectively work in a group, how to be a follower, how best to work with electronic communication, as well as how to build credibility and so much more. Each topic we discuss what it is, how we use it now, best ways to use it and ways it could not work or be negative.

With the lecture of the ins and outs of each topic we solidify these concepts with a lot of open discussion and group activities. Group activities like this past week we are working on the topic of public leadership, and their communication techniques. We went over the, what it is, where we use it or see it in our lives, positives about it and if there are any negatives. We then broke the class into six groups and we simulated a recognition ceremony awarding someone the “Best COM 461L Student”. With that we had one “public leader” in each group and a script writer (public leaders always have help with their communication) and we each wrote and presented a different part of the ceremony. The introduction, giving of the award, acceptance of the award, building being named after participant, an inspirational piece, and closing words. We each got to utilize pieces of public leader’s communication techniques hands on learning a lot as well as having fun.

This group activity explains so much about the class and the professor, Professor Carlson. She knows how to get us to learn, and to explain these extremely useful subjects in a way that they will stay with us and we will feel comfortable implementing is our everyday leadership on and off campus. Not even going into the book she is maneuvering us through called the leadership moment, which tells stories of leaders in a part of their lives. Each story has a part of leadership that we are analyzing and we develop questions such as: “So and so in this moment wasn’t able to get through to his team. Why? What do you think he/she could have done to be more effective?” With these questions we, as a class have a fishbowl. fishbowl

A fishbowl is a way of constructively facilitating discussion. We deal out cards and if you get a fish on your card you are the original group that starts the discussion with your questions, and if you get an empty fishbowl you with get to save your questions till the fish break out of their discussion and come to facilitate a group of fishbowl card people through the discussion of the story that day. We all dreaded the idea of the Fishbowls, but to be able to read and learn from someone else’s mistakes and achievements has stimulated a lot of great learning conversation with lead to growth as leaders.

With all set and done this class has been one of my favorite CMU course that I have taken so far. Not one class period have I left not thinking that I wouldn’t be able to use the subject we talked about today, and I believe that is special! Go COM 461L!

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Leadership Theory: POWER

Leadership and power is a theory of leadership that I have observed and experienced. Not only have I seen it through LAS protocol but through my everyday life at CMU. In the classroom, dorms, RSO’s, organizations etc. Leadership and power came from the French and Ravens ideas of the 5 bases of power. The bases of power are divided into two groups, personal and positional. Within personal is the bases expert power and referent power whereas in positional power it contains legitimate power, coercive power, and reward power. French and Raven conceptualized power form the framework of a dyadic relationship that includes person influencing and the person being influenced. The layout of their framework is set up, dividing the 5 bases of power into two different categories-personal and positional. Some followers respond better to different types of power. As a leader, power is usually given though the followers, so if the power is misused or abused it can usually be taken away by the followers.

“The world is based off a hierarchy of power and allows leaders to lead using their own version of power. Knowledge of this is essential to reach your full potential as a leader. Students should learn about the leadership and power approach because it is essential in developing how you will act when in power and it will help your ability to recognize the different variations of power.”

Through LAS our protocol asks us to do multiple things: take classes (all together as a cohort), do homework (all as a cohort), attend conferences (all as a cohort), go on a retreat (all as a cohort), Live together as a cohort, which is amazing! It can also be very hard. Many “leader minded” people in the same place we get to collaborate, experience, and work through everything life at CMU entails and LAS protocol. Two of the biggest road bumps we run into are communication and power. My first and biggest time I have experienced the use of the leadership and power theory was when the 2014 and 2013 cohort (mentors and mentees) attended eagle village for our Mentor Mentee retreat. IMG_0984Once being separated into groups we went through and got to take part in leadership activities. There were two activities that tested my group the most. Giant’s fingers and the obstacle course we had carry a sled full of balls through an obstacle course.

Through these activities we mainly working with personal power-the influence capacity a leader derives from being seen as a likeable and knowledgeable. Expert- more knowledge, referent- people who are more likable. Through the sled obstacle course it was a rocky start. Everyone had an idea of how they thought we should go about this activity to be successful. It was a mess the balls were falling out and the louder leaders were the only ones being heard. The referent power leaders were all butting heads. Until as a group we decided we needed to give an expert power leader the role of helping guide and lead our group. With their knowledge of how the course and the objective of the activity as a group we responded better to this style of power and were able to achieve our goal.

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For Giants Fingers the objective was a lot harder! The dynamic of the group was a little better after the last activity. Once given the objective and rules (a lot more complicated that the sled obstacle course) we had to move a set of tires of different sizes from one of three posts to the other side, while setting them up largest to smallest on the other side. The biggest challenge was that every person in the group had to have two fingers on the tire at all times and the tire wasn’t allowed to touch the posts as we wove it up and down to its destinations. Some just wanted to jump in and others wanted to compile a plan. As a group we then agreed upon deciding a plan to go about our activity. An expert power leader started to take the reins on the activity and everyone immediately got very frustrated. The tire was touching the post, or someone couldn’t reach the tire to have their fingers on it and we would have to start again. Over and over we had the opportunity to start again. As a group we were not responding to the expert power leader. Myself starting to observe the tensions and seeing the solution and need for a referent power leader. Recognizing my own personal strengths I started to use words of affirmation and calming started directing the group getting everyone on the same page. The group responded to the referent leader power and we were (after some time) able to achieve our goal.

 

All around through leadership there will be times when one leader has to take the reins and everyone else has to follow. With that every group is different and needs a different person (personalities/characteristics) to take over. Every group responds to types of power differently. As a leader it is important to recognize your personal power strengths and weaknesses so you know when your power style will work and when it needs to take a back seat.

#LeadChat Mentor Mentee Edition

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Q1: What qualities do you look for in a mentor? #LeadChat

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someone who acts as a role model and friend. They should broaden your perspectives to the world and as a person.

In a mentor I ideally look for someone to be my friend and to help guide me through life. They are someone who is here to be someone to listen to you vent when life frustrates you, be that shoulder to cry on when something hurts, to be that person you want to share your happy memories with and most importantly to be the voice of reason. When thinking of specific qualities I look for in a mentor I think of open communication, respect and sharing. Sharing your perspective, experiences and opinions.

Q2: What are your expectations of your mentee? #LeadChat

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I hope my mentee helps me grow as a person as much as I can help them grow. We’re in this together.

I’m not sure if I like the word expectation. I would prefer the word hopes. I have hopes for my mentee and whether they fulfill those hopes or not I will be the best mentor to them I can possibly be. My hopes for my mentee, so they are able to get the best mentor-mentee experience is for them to open up to me, get to know me as well so together we can help each other grow. “We’re in this together.” I have hopes that we become great friends and we have mutually respect for each other. I want my mentee to feel comfortable coming to me for absolutely anything. I want them to tell me about their day all the time. Ask me any questions about college or life, ANYTHING. I want to be that big sister, who has blazed the trail for them but also stands right by their side throughout their whole life.

Q3: What is the difference between a mentor and a role model? #LeadChat…

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A mentor is there for you side by side, you’re learning together a role model is someone you strive to be.

For a successful mentor mentee relationship you need to have a balance of mentor, role model and friendship. The best way I can think of explaining it is that of a big sister/big brother. In my family I am plopped right in the center of two other siblings. I have an older brother and a younger sister. Mine and my little sister’s relationship really represents a good balance of all three: mentor, role model and friend. First and foremost she and I are friends we laugh together and make fun of each other it’s awesome! On top of that I know she looks at me for advice. I see what she is going through in my past experiences for I am able to help guide her or even as simple as being able to say “don’t worry I understand, I went through the same thing.” That alone gives her piece of mind. Most importantly I know she looks up to me. She watches what I do from afar. When I make a poor choice not involving her at all she see it and takes note or if I do something great she sees that too. I work every day to be the best role model to my sister because I love her so much I want the best for her. Being able to be that role model I can help influence her to make positive choices even when I am not around.

This relationship I have with my sister is the same sort of relationship I hope to have with my mentee. Maybe not to the level as my sister and I but I want he/she to know whatever level I’m here for them to have that sort of relationship. I want to be their friend. I want to be there mentor standing next to them talking them through it and their role model as someone they look up to be or share the same characteristics.

Q4: what communication tools work best with a mentor/mentee relationship?

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More quality time spent together the stronger the relationship. Coffee date it up and talk until your blue in the face

To have effective communication you need to first have respect for one another and a willingness to get to know each other. Once that is established the more time you spent with your mentee the stronger the relationship. So for each mentor mentee relationship it will be different. You will have to see what you as a pair (or trio) want out of this relationship. You can set times you want to talk every day, week, biweekly ect. The communication tool that I believe will work best for a mentor mentee relationship is quality time together in which you can just talk. Just like a dating relationship the only way you can learn about each other is if you talk, have open communication, and share experiences.

Q5: Who do you look to as a mentor? How have they had an impact on you?

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My father, made me the person I am. He is the kindhearted, hardworking person I strive to be

My LAS mentor has been nothing but amazing and has taught me a lot but we didn’t necessarily mesh well with our hopes of the relationship. We had differences but our relationship adapted to be the perfect relationship for us as a pair. The person I truly look to for my whole life as a mentor and role model is my dad.  The tweet that I made in the short amount of characters I feel embodies everything I have to say about my dad. “My father, made me the person I am. He is the kindhearted, hardworking person I strive to be.” My dad has taught me more than I could ever comprehend. He has so much on his plate but would never think to not stop and support you no matter how busy he was. If I was to email him right now about changing my whole life plan, he may gently question it and ask constructive questions. After he would go and do crazy amount of research on it so he could be knowledgeable and support me in my choice. Then for weeks after, anything related to that choice he would send articles and websites and opportunities in that area.  He is my mentor and role model. He stands by my side in times I need guidance but is someone I have always looked up to. His calm, loving demeanor and his work ethic and leadership is all I want to strive to be. I am more than proud to say that he is my dad and I love him with all my heart.

LAS in the D Post Trip: We RISE by Lifting OTHERS

I had the opportunity to go on a service learning trip with my Leader Advancement Scholarship cohort members, a trip we call LAS to the D 2015. The Leadership Institute (LI) supports all 40 some of us on a weekend that changes our life. We leave that Friday afternoon all packed up on the charter bus in our Khakis and colored t-shirts, excited and ready to rock and roll. Our first stop was to Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.

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A Charter school that is supported by our University Central Michigan University. We were going to them to meet with their freshman and sophomore advisories to lead them in leadership activities. Activities such as a game called gutter ball, which each students gets a wooded gutter, they only can hold it with their thumb and pinky. The goal is to work as a team and get a marble all the way across the room to the facilitator’s hands. With the hope that these students grasp some concepts of leadership, like: communication, teamwork, adaptation, open mindedness. Then later that afternoon we worked with two clubs/groups within the school PIOLT and BUTTA students, which were essentially mentors to younger students and trained to lead by example. We worked with them in hopes to train them to facilitate leadership activities as we did.

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After Facilitating with Jalen Rose Leadership Academy we drove to Ford Field were connected was and advertising company called Lowe Campbell Ewald. They’re a Michigan based company that came back to Detroit after leaving to come and support the local economy. They only purchase Michigan products, and only hire Michigan employees as well. We went to Lowe Campbell Ewald to experience the other spectrum of Detroit (the higher end). It represented hope and a future for the Detroit economy. las in the d 7 las in the d 3We then had the amazing opportunity to get a behind the scene tour of Ford Field. One of the large icons in Detroit. After the Ford Field tour and having dinner we went to The Detroit Institute of the Arts (DIA). An opportunity for myself and my classmates to experience one of the best art museums in the country. Looking in all kinds of exhibits everything from Edgar Degas’s sketch exhibit to a photography exhibit lAS IN THE D 10of Detroit citizens and they’re stories. We then went in stayed on the center of downtown Detroit at the CMU Global Campus outreach center. Where all 40+ of us crawled into our sleeping bags on the floor getting ready for another big day. We woke up bright and early and got ready to volunteer with a Detroit founded non-profit organization called the Motor City Blight Busters. A non-profit organization that was started by a local man of the town who took charge. With some help of a few who saw the same goal and some passion. Together they made an organization that works for the betterment of the community. Whether it be tearing a house down, boarding a house up, planting flowers, starting gardens, helping local citizens reach their dreams, helping local las in the d 2kids either give back or have a place to go. Blight Busters are definitely not short of giving back. We went and worked with them on the next step of a big project. They tore down some drug houses and wanted to make a farm. We worked on the step of putting the mulch down. You have to do that before you can put the manure down then another layer of mulch and then one layer of manure then vwa-la a farm! Blight Busters promo video with LAS 2014. Here is also the University Communications Press Release of our trip LAS in the D 2015.

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The most eye opening part of the trip for me was working with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy Students. I personally had no idea what to expect. Many thoughts were going through my mind. Once we got there the first thing I noticed were small flags on the walls with Ivy League schools names and crest on them. These flags lined the hallways. I was kind of taken back, not really sure why they would put such prestigious schools flags in their hallways. I was quick to find out that these students didn’t expect anything but their best in what they did. Students were actually attending these universities. We then got with our groups and headed to the advisory class we were assigned. The advisories were divided male and female and then by grade. Those advisory classes would be with the exact same people for the rest of their high school career. My group and I were assigned a freshman male advisory. I was sort of nervous not knowing what to expect walking into that classroom. We introduced ourselves and began with community standards. Essentially rules for our group today. I usually encourage students to think of things along the lines of “RESPECT” they want everyone to be respectful while we go through our activities. They caught on very quick and took it very seriously, which I wasn’t expecting. A lot of times you get group who want to say silly things. They were spitting out standards like open mindedness, challenge yourself, courage, teamwork and more. They taking in what us as facilitators had to say as well as their peers.

The first activity we did was, an ice breaker. We had a beach ball with questions on it everything from what is your leadership style, to Pepsi or Coke. This is when I started to become truly blown away. These students who seemed apprehensive at the start were choosing to open up to their peers and answer deeper questions. We weren’t expecting the students to know their leadership style. One saying “I don’t want to bet e leader in the front but I want to be standing next to everyone as a role model.” Even to the question to what is on your bucket list. las in the d 17One student didn’t understand what that was, once we explained he told us her wanted to see his dad before he graduates high school. Students wanting to be like their older sister, get good grades, graduate high school. Things they were truly sincere about. They worked HARD to be where they’re at and are ready to work hard for where they want to go. Breaking into two smaller groups we started the next activity of gutter ball. Giving them the rules and objective they got started. They were all in, talking together as I gave subtle suggestions which they would dissect and try to figure out how to implement. They were growing right in front of my eyes. But then to debrief and guide the conversation of “WHAT”, what just happened, “SO WHAT” so what about this activity was important to leadership growth, “NOW WHAT” how can you implement what this activity taught you to your everyday life. That stumped them and they talked about team work and communication, the in your face answers. The lights even going out in the middle of our debrief. They didn’t even hesitate “oh that happens once a week” they kept on with our debrief. But I got to ask them about how they had to be open minded and how when faced with a challenge you had to adapt. I have never been able to facilitate such a group where they were so intrigued and absorbing my every word. They changed and grew right in front of my eyes and if we could have had just a couple more hours it would have been amazing.

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My whole LAS cohort and all involved with our LAS in the D Service learning trip displayed leadership throughout our service. Each and every one of us displayed servant leadership through our work with Jalen Rose and the Blight Busters. Focusing in specifically on one leader within our group our advisor Jesi Parker is a specific example of displaying leadership. She was guiding the rest of the group and being a role model for us to model our actions on. She is the ideal servant leader. She worked side by side with us when we were mulching for the Blight Busters leading by example and encouraging us to work hard.

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My opinion about Detroit has completely changed. In all honesty Detroit made me nervous. All the hype about how I should be on guard, which you should be in any city. After going on this trip all the stereotypes and truths about Detroit were brought up and addressed.  I was inspired to make a difference. Being there and being around meeting the students and seeing the art and the potential, you feel the love and the hope for not only a new beginning but a rebirth. They want to restore what Detroit once was and there are so many passionate people who and working to do so. Being there just ignited my passion for Detroit and all that it has to offer. I went from being apprehensive of Detroit, to wanting to embrace the beauty of all that it had to offer. I want to make positive change.las in the d 11

After this experience I feel passionate about making positive change. Being in Detroit inspires me to make positive change not just for Detroit, but also to make positive change for my own community. By volunteering for local organizations, schools, and making my home better place, by being a role model and servant leader. Blight Busters motto “think globally act locally” really hit home with me. Not only did the service trip give me an itch to volunteer and make a difference it revealed a passion of mine. After working with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy students I was reflecting to myself about how much that changed my life. How teaching/facilitating makes me so happy. I got to watch them learn about themselves as leaders through my guidance.las inthe d 14 Through just their facial expressions and body language I could see the change. Those activities and debriefing changed those students’ lives. I taught them how to bring out their inner leader, showed them confidence some didn’t know they had. I helped them grow and invaluable attribute that will only mean positive things for them. Coming to that realization I knew that I want to do this for forever!

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TED TALK

WHYThis Ted talk embodies what it means to be a leader. He shows that in the quote “people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.”  That quote is what is whole speech revolves around. He starts of with three circles, one inside of the other the biggest circle being WHAT, middle circle being HOW , and the smallest circle being WHY. WHAT is “what they/you do,” HOW, very few know how they do it, WHY, why they do it. It represents and stands for how we, most of the time are being motivated by the wrong things ie: money. In the perspective of a business companies forget the WHY which is the most important part. The WHY is the “inspiring” . For example a company can tell you to buy a product, but to be successful you need to find your purpose not profit, then the people will buy. “People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.” In the perspective of leadership you goal is to be the leader that inspires people wont follow not because they have to but because they want to. You want to be leaders not those who lead. To do this you have to know your why. Why is like your purpose/mission statement once you have your mission statement you will no longer just be “selling” your product you will be moving in to the circle to the WHY, why/what im leading for. What I want to inspire to everyone.

So through the Ted Talk the over all message I got was that you have to not go around doing things. If you truly want to make a difference you need to have a purpose and a statement such as a why statement/mission statement to guide you in you endeavors.

Now forming my why statement I had to evaluate my whole life. What I want to embody to inspire my life and to guide me to inspire others lives. I was challenged to take the Ted Talk and to incorporate it to my life to take it to the next step. What I am finding out is that it is not easy, but its not concrete. Your inspiration and passion can always be evolving. But to have a WHY gives you the purpose and inspiration to inspire those to follow not because they have to because they want to.

 TED TALK

Leadership Safari

All the animals in the Safari!
All the animals in the Safari!

When I think back to Safari 2014, it was so much more than learning leadership. It was the start of college. It marked the start of a new chapter in my life. That week before everyone else in the university got there we moved in. I met my best friends. Got no sleep because we stayed up until dawn getting to know each other, laughing until we cried, talking till our voices were gone, and making connections I’ll have for the rest of my life. Than woke up at the crack of dawn to start the day of festivities. The main aspect of safari were almost just as memorable. It was a nerve wrecking experience at the start. You get put into a group of strangers and are told “oh you’ll be sharing your deepest thoughts, and become your most vulnerable with these people sitting around you”. All you can think is “uhh no you guys are crazy”, but that exactly what you do. I remember making the conscious decision that this experience will be what I make it. I could sulk and complain about being tired and that I’ve done all these activities before, or I could step up, be a leader and help my group leader make a family out of our group. To make this an experience that not only impacts our lives in a leadership aspect, but was fun for everyone. I realized the more I personally opened up that everyone else in my group would open up as well. Every day we would take part on activities that tested our ability to work as a team. We learned the importance of communication and trust. Beside learning and practicing leadership traits we spoke about ourselves. How we as now college students on our own will impact this university. How we can be successful in college and life. We listened to motivational speakers that inspired me to be a better me. To make goals and follow my dreams. Speakers who taught us how to not be afraid to be ourselves and to meet new people and to step out of our comfort zones. There we also just fun performers like the Asia Project, a performance that brought everyone in the stands to tears. Comedians, illusionists and more. We met hundreds of people and laughed, sang, mooooooooosed, wobbled, cried, and learned to trust and respect. At the end of activities or speakers we would debrief. Talk about how they made us feel. We shared personal stories that connected, or how it made light bulbs go off in our heads. Find that new perspective on an idea/concept. Safari was an experience I will never forget. I couldn’t imagine going into college without it. I felt so much more confident, and acclimated once classes started. I learned so much about myself, and as crazy as it sounds I learned about life. I got blessed with a group that opened up and we were able to get the full experience out of Safari 2014 (Tasmanian devil for life!).