Experiences in life have a significant influence in our lives; they are the ones which set our worldview, and they can be either good or bad. We are the ones to choose whether to take them positively or negatively and by taking them, either way; it determines our attitude towards the world as a whole. The experiences teach valuable life lessons that in a way shape us to be more effective and efficient as leaders even though we do not know it at the time of learning. The reason I chose the two events in this paper is that they have influenced my life and have changed my perspective of life itself other than leadership.
The first of my experience was when I was in seventh grade and my parents sent me to camping. I was a shy person and therefore socializing was not a strength of mine. The only individuals I was open to were my parents, siblings and one friend therefore outside the house; I was living in the shadows of the outspoken classmates like my friend. However, during this camp neither my friend nor any family member was there, therefore, easy to identify me from the rest of the campers. We had lots of activities to do, but I was always feeling out of place. There was, however, one that the camping instructor directed us to engage in. The games required of us to form two groups which would compete but what made the competitions different from any other is that each activity was to be led by a different person from the group.
I was a quiet person, but I used to observe people and make my judgment from that. I would observe someone, and from this, I would choose to like that person or dislike them. There were two leaders from my group that stood out for me. I liked one and disliked the other. The one I liked allowed people to make their choice on where they feel comfortable and on the other hand the other one bossed people around and demanding us to work in his terms. It is not just me who felt this way because we failed in the activity which was volleyball. Due to his pushy attitude, the group fell apart, and we were all angry at each other, and there was no coordination.
The volleyball game was entirely different from which emerged as my favorite game, tug of war. The game followed volleyball, but we were able to defeat the other group amidst a crisis in our group created in volleyball. The leader in this activity gave everyone motivation and purpose which was to rise after failing in volleyball. The head gave us the opportunity to organize ourselves according to areas we would feel comfortable, and he took the center position of the rope.
From this I learned a lot, the first is that in every group everyone has their strengths and it is through giving them a chance that one can be able to learn what works best for who and be able to utilize them for growth in an organization or achievement of a goal. Bossing them will only create a barrier between the leader and the followers making it difficult to achieve the overall aim. Secondly, people do not like to be controlled. Individuals work best when they perceive that they are valued in the achievement of the goal and having freedom to choose what they want. In today’s world where the job market is experiencing a change in the generation taking over the workforce, it is important to know that millennials (the generation take over) do not like being controlled, they like flexibility which allows them to produce best results. Thirdly, I learned that different styles of leadership are applied in various situations. However, when you want a team to work as one, authoritarian style is not the best. The leadership style can be the primary tool that breaks a group that would have easily worked together. Making an achievement personal as a leader would result in failure but making it a team performance would lead to positive results.
Lastly is that people only need to be shown that they are on the same page with the leaders. Creating a difference between the leaders and the subordinates will only create a barrier that will prevent any harmony that would result in organizational goals achievement. The barrier that the volleyball head created was when he tried to police everyone and ordering them to do what he wanted. If they failed, he would major on that and spend time concentrating on how we were losing than what was ahead of us. The lesson learned is that it is good to look at the failures, but it is not good to major on them. The only thing one can do about them is look back and use them as a motivator for a team. Through motivation and inspiration, organizations raise and achieve goals they set, but it is only through collaborative efforts.
The next event is one that happened recently where one of the entrepreneurship professors asked our class a simple question which was, “How would you earn money from 5 dollars within two hours?” The question was quite simple from the surface. Therefore, people came up with ideas that would draw although not so much but would make quite an amount of money. The professor however at the end of the exercise said that he wasn’t looking for ways to invest, but for how people can create value out of something that seems so small. He was looking for the ways in which people can be creative. Throughout his lectures, he always found new ways of stirring our minds and making us get the value of something instead of evaluating the idea from the surface.
The lectures taught me always to assess every idea in an analytical way. Through this one can identify the strengths, weaknesses, and potentiality of an idea, a team one is leading or an individual. The other thing is about creativity, to tackle the professor’s questions, one needed to be creative and in one way or another. It made the lecturers interesting because it prompted you to think and come up with the solution. Same thing happens to leadership; problems arise, and they need creativity to able to handle them. The final thing I learned from this is that to keep people interested in what you have to say or offer you have to be practical. The questions the professor was asking were feasible and needed practical solutions where people had to go out of their way and find solutions. The practicality is also applicable in leadership.
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