Reflecting back on these four weeks I did not really know what to except at first of what this class would entail. I was worried at first not being able to keep up with the readings, assignments, and blog posts because of my full-time internship. With working almost overtime every single week, waking up early to drive an hour to and from work, and just Summer days I would say I was very busy. I have learned that time management is very essential. Many mornings and afternoons I would spend the time reading the articles and books that were required. This was very key for me because once I got home I did not want to do anything except take a run, shower, eat, and then go to sleep. Even though that never happened I had to learn how to balance everything out.
Branching off of balancing and time management I learn that is what leaders have to do every single day. Most of the time you have a to-do list but most days you do not get everything done. You would think eight hour work days is a fair decent amount of time, but really it isn’t. Often there are meetings that are mandatory, collaborating with others, and overall regular day-to-day job duties. I had to learn how to prioritize what was truly important and what can wait… Even though I wanted to get everything done it rarely happens. I am an overachiever and like things done but I had to adapt to change. Change can be difficult but I learned that everyday I can encounter change and that is important to be able to go with the “flow.” Having learned these characteristics: priorities, change, time management, and balance will help me the best leader I can be. Learning these right now have made a significant impact on my work. The important thing is making sure you adapt to these characteristics as well as involving them within whoever you are leading.
I learned a tremendous amount about leadership but a key that really made a significant impact was Carnegie, You Are Not Special Test, and Personality Tests:
Carnegie has made a significant impact on my leadership journey. I also read this book in my Principles of Management class this past Spring as well as this Summer. How? This book is phenomenal and I have read it only twice! The way the book is split into sections really made me break the book down when analyzing it. It also made me reflect on situations that I have used and will use Carnegie in the future. Just simple gestures of smiling, honesty, and taking constructive feedback are just a few techniques that I have applied to my leadership role at my job. Why are these principles important? I strongly believe that this book has taught me not only so much about myself as a person but it has shaped me into a better friend, co-worker, and even leader. With being a leader you have to have good character, positive emotions, and overall a team player. Leadership can be difficult if you do not like carrying weight on your shoulders. You have to start somewhere and with Carnegie you can use and apply it daily. When I say it has changed my life it can change yours too!
You Are Not Special, was an eye opener for me. It made me realize we aren’t special, but we might be in our parents eyes. How does this make me not special? This video made me relate to when I played sports. I grew up in the generation that everyone got a participation trophy at the end of the season. But why? The coaches and parents wanted to make sure no one was left out. This shouldn’t have been the case. Whoever the winner is should ONLY get the trophy not the losers too. This was impounded that we are “special” but in reality we aren’t. After maturity and reflecting on that situation, I saw it as a waste of money. Recently, my little brother just finished his baseball season and the parents were complaining about not every kid would get a trophy. I actually spoke up and said why? Why do you think they should get a trophy? They looked at me like I was crazy. They never really gave me an answer so I told them how it was. I said, “Yes your kid may be special to you, but in reality when you look at it in the bigger picture, they need to know when to lose.” They actually stopped and thought about it. This is why our society is messed up because we impound “oh baby you are special to me you deserve a trophy!” No, we must end that because in the real world they won’t have you by their side at work! I even told them to read this article! This made an impact on my life as where I tell parents how it is and most of the time it is not what they want to hear! If they do not like your response, apply Carnegie too!
Personality Tests, made me more aware of how I am as a person. It made me reflect on what I need to work on too. I knew before taking these tests what the results would be.The results I got primarily were: ISTJ (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging). I am very introverted but that does not stop me as a leader. I am quiet, unless I really get to know you. I like living a simple life, nothing too crazy. I am pretty traditional, with certain things like decorating. I am very thorough, responsible, and dependable. As well as noted above, I am organized and hardworking to achieve certain goals. I believe any task I am given, I can accomplish to the best of my ability and as well as achieve it. How and why? I come from a very small, sheltered family that does everything pretty traditional. We attend church on Sundays, go home for the Holidays, and like to be a close knit family. I hate confrontation, and want everyone to get along. I am very organized with my school and work where I keep a planner. I learn best with applying myself and relying on my teachers to give me the necessary materials. I agree this is spot on for me, except the judging aspect. I am not a judger for majority of things but I sometimes tend to judge on small aspects. These tests have taught me what, how, and why I am who I am. It also has taught me that this should not stop me as a leader. I should apply leadership skills to my everyday life to make me stand out instead of being introverted!
Listed above are only a few that have impacted me so far as a leader. As well as listed above I strongly believe that my volunteer work at Keep Prince William Co and Fredericksburg Food Bank has shown me how and why I am a leader. I honestly loved devoting time to these non-profit organizations because they truly need all the help they can get. I was fortunate enough to experience something so remarkable at the Food for Life Program.
This event Food for Life program is for low-income elderly 60 years of age and older. Food for Life provides a box of nutritious food each month to the vulnerable populations, to supplement their nutritional requirements. There are more than 3,000 seniors in our community who qualify for the program with more than 1,600 currently receiving assistance. I walked into the Food Bank and did not really knew what to except. I saw a ton of people and was so shocked that many woke up early on a Saturday morning! It was an assembly line where there was two people per station. One putting rice, peanut butter, canned food, and other items where the other person was stocking to make sure nothing was running out. It went by SO quick since this was SO organized. We did 1,600 boxes in two hours. That is 70 boxes per pallet meaning 23 pallets in total!
While we were putting items in the boxes I talked to others about how long this program has been going on for. The leader said nearly twenty years. It blew me away and that this event held first Saturday of each month fills up two months in advance! I could not believe it. It was such an amazing experience where we all came together to help others that truly need it. There was fifty of us to help out. It was organized to the T. Mrs. Julie was in charge of making sure everything ran smoothly. There was a station for people making boxes and an assembly line where most of us were at. While talking to others, I met a lot of people that commute to D.C. every single day just like me. They asked what I did and I asked them too. This was a great way to network- because it is all about who you know now a days! Everyone I encountered thank me for my time. I stayed a little bit afterwards to help clean up since a rice bag busted everywhere!
Overall this semester has taught me how to expand on leadership skills I have now as well as adapt to other ones too. This has been extremely eye opening and I truly believe if I did not take this class I would not be interested in as much as branching out of my comfort zone. It is all a journey and applying these to my life now will only set me up for even more success in the future. You have to start somewhere and with Leadership 425 I certainly have done that!