Program Reflections – June 13 – June 18, 2010

LeaderShape Institute was my all-time favorite and beneficial leadership training experience. It was a keystone aspect of my Leadership Certificate program. Throughout the week long institute, I had time to reflect on my past experiences, identify my values, and work to draft out my long term vision. Being immersed in an environment with so many passionate leaders, focused on success of their goals really inspired me to keep working to improve. I had the privilege to go to a national session, hosted at Allerton Park, with participants from all over the nation and the world (even Africa!).

Since the training was held in a somewhat secluded park and we were not allowed to leave, a sense of community and understanding grew between many of us. A bond was formed in a very short window of time, which allowed me, and many others, to truly share my thoughts with little concern over being judged or socially “punished” for sharing. This open forum helped me listen to others identify my strengths and weaknesses. From LeaderShape, I learned that an area of potential improvement for me would be to combine my sense of humor into everyday work.

Prior to this training, I failed to realize how segregated I kept my professional drive and my personal humor. This limitation may seem minor and unrelated to leadership, but is a defining factor in the effectiveness of my style. By using humor, I am able to connect interpersonally with others while focusing on the task at hand to be very productive.

Unlike any other training or real-life experiences I have had, we had numerous activities throughout the course of the week that helped improve my sustaining leadership goal through transitions, in my personal PDP. Specifically we had an activity in which my group, the “Lucy Lightening” had to overcome a very difficult situation through teamwork and creativity. During this activity my skill of recognizing many different perspectives, summarizing and attempting to bring the group back together was exposed. Previous to this situation, I did not realize my ability to be a mediator and that I could truly have impact through emergent leadership.

Also, during the week I was able to work on improving my team development goal of the PDP through building a community of all participants and in my break-out team. Similar to my EOL 199 course which taught community building skills previous to LeaderShape, the structure of the training encouraged team development personally and professionally. At the week’s end I was incredibly inspired to find my passion and act on it.

Of all activities that I have taken part in with the Leadership Certificate program, LeaderShape is by far the training I recommend the most. Through the conversations and activities, I grew as a person, a leader and left with a much better understanding of myself and what I stand for. Before anyone can be an effective leader, they must know themselves. LeaderShape does just that and is why I recommend anyone with the opportunity to attend.