Thursday, June 2, 2011

Leadership 101

I was under the impression that my leadership courses would be coming on July 24th, but it seems that I was due for an earlier lesson than I had expected.

Now this course wasn't formal or anything, it wasn't taught in a classroom by a man who had majored in philosophy or leadership and all that jazz. Instead it was merely a serious in depth conversation between my mom, my dad, and myself.
Our whole conversation precipitated from events that unfolded during our Ivy League Connection Orientation tonight. At our orientation certain traits were revealed by various members of the ILC, including both students and administrators. At our orientation tonight, key information was to be delivered to each and every one of the ILC cohorts and their respective parents. This information included things such as travel plans, what to pack, when we're leaving, and basically what we, as the students, must give back to the program itself. Now during the whole course of this exchange of information certain attitudes and actions jumped out to both me and my family, and these are the things that caused my crash course introduction to leadership.

When my family got home and we were all fed, we sat back down at our dinner table and started to discuss what had happened that night. My father immediately started asking me questions, sort of like an interrogation, about what things had popped out to me that night, what I thought about them, etc. I told him that certain actions and attitudes were the most prominent things that I had noticed and a big grin started to form itself upon his face. I could tell that I had hit upon something that he wanted to have a deep analytical discussion with me.

We started to discuss the actions and attitudes, why they were there in the first place, and whether or not they were right. In order to answer why they were there we talked about what kind of stresses go into such a tremendous organization such as the ILC. Before this conversation I had never really taken a good look at all of the logistics that needed to be taken care of. Sure I was in charge of making reservations at Columbia for campus tours and for dinner dates, but that was only one city, for one program. There are several other programs that needed to be attended to, several other dinner dates and campus tours. I had gained a lot of appreciation for all of the hard work, time, and resources that our administrators put into each of us.

After discussing the logistics of it all, my family and I moved onto the key issue of our talk that night. Leadership is a very complex thing, it takes a precise formula to create an effective leader. This formula includes how to inspire your subjects and how to properly maintain control over them, basically how to be a "just leader." The actions and attitudes that brought about the family wide debate, started to be analyzed by us. We took them apart and thought about whether or not a great leader acts like this. My father then paralleled this situation into his own universe. My father was after all a SWAT team leader and he had to face the daunting task of leading individuals into combat. My dad told me all sorts of things that a leader had to think of, basically the formula mentioned earlier, and how that at the core each and every leader now matter what they be the leader of had to adhere to his fundamental formula. We concluded that the actions and attitudes brought up in the night of Orientation had just reasons for them, but also had some flaws.

Yes I had gained the knowledge that was supposed to be given to me on Orientation, what to pack, what to expect, when to leave, but the most important things I gained that night were as a result of my family debate. I had learned to appreciate evermore the efforts that our ILC administrators put into the ILC students. Most importantly however leadership is a complex subject and requires an individual of the highest capabilities in order to master the craft. The attitudes and actions that had surged at Orientation were the direct causation of the debate and consequently, my lessons gained from them.