I don’t think I have ever been more concerned with how a power point looks in my entire life. Anytime I see any slide with more than seven words on it, my heart dies a little. All I can see is Jesi Ekonen looking at me with disapproval and wondering what on earth I was thinking. This may not be the most important thing I have learned in my time in LDR 200, but in 30 years when I am looking back on this class, it will be the most memorable.
Besides a wonderful presentation on Powerpoints and Presentations, I learned a lot in LDR 200. Every week we had two different groups present on a different Leadership theory. Originally, I (like many in my cohort) thought that a lot of these lectures were going to be boring. I mean, how interesting can leadership philosophies be? As it turns out, pretty interesting.
Something really unique about everyone’s presentations was that they were all different, and all included a different activity. One group had a simulation where we all had to avoid land mines together, and another had us work in teams to see if we would survive on a deserted island. They were all really engaging and informative. Not to be biased, however, but my favorite presentation was my own groups’.
Our leadership theory was called the Path-Goal Theory. This theory was broken up into four different parts (sub-theories of sorts). They include: Participate Leadership, Supportive Leadership, Achievement-Oriented, and Directive Leadership. In order to demonstrate this theory in action, my group decided to have everyone play Mafia. In this game, participants pick roles from a hat. The roles include: the townspeople; the Mafia, whose job it is to ‘kill’ the townspeople; two doctors, who have the power to save one of the townspeople each round; and a cop, whose job it is to try and figure out who the mafia are and ‘arrest’ them before they kill anyone else. Oh, and all of this happens as everyone’s eyes are closed.
Once everyone opened their eyes, that’s where the fun (and the demonstration of the Path-Goal Theory). The townspeople had to work together to decide who they thought the Mafia were. This exercise was meant to show our classmates Path-Goal theory in action. By working together, they demonstrated achievement-oriented leadership. While discussing, someone was bound to stand out among the rest and the majority would listen to them; this demonstrated participative leadership. Everyone had their voice heard, but in the end someone defined themselves as the leader.
Through the various leadership lectures throughout the semester, the service learning trips, and everything else in between, there is so much I am able to take away from LDR 200. I learned valuable facilitation skills, how to work effectively within a group, and about different leadership philosophies.
Leadership may not be just about the theory behind it, but having that background is important to any leader. We can learn what works, what doesn’t, and how we can effectively make a change for the better.