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Running head: LEADERSHIP SYNTHESIS

Synthesis
Kaylie Towles
Fort Hays State University
September 7, 2016

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SYNTHESIS

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Did I Really Learn Anything?

In changing my major to Organizational Leadership, I kind of knew what I was getting


myself into. I thought I had been a great leader all my years of college, mostly because I was
involved in a lot of different organizations thats what being a leader was all about. People
always told me I was doing a great job as a leader without knowing what that meant for me and
my life. After taking my first semester of classes, I was clearly wrong. Leadership is so much
more about just showing up to meetings, talking to people, and volunteering in the community.
Although those are logistics, they are not the only skills needed to be a leader.
Leadership Concepts
I thoroughly enjoyed this class. It helped me get an idea of what this whole leadership
thing is all about. I feel as if a very critical part of leadership is the definition. The first chapter
studied is all about defining leadership. It was quickly discovered that many people had their
own definitions of what leadership is and there is no clear cut definition. This idea is then
transformed into saying that leadership is a process and leadership is a heavily grey area. There is
no clear cut answer as to say what leadership is, how it is measured, if it is good or if it is bad.
This course paid attention to my use of abstract thinking and started challenging me in that way.
One of my favorite theories is Stogdills 1974 Review. His trait theory described on page
34 and 35 helped me find my place in leadership (Crawford, pg 35-35). As an active student on
campus that works with many organizations, it can be exhausting playing the same role
constantly. I am known as the caretaker role type and that has played tremendously to my
success as an organizational leader but has also taken a mental toll on me. This review allows me
to understand that I possess these traits and others may possess some or none of the same traits
that I do. This is key because if every organization had a member that had the exact same trait,

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nothing would get done. Different views and perspectives that organizations need are found
within the experiences and personalities of all individuals of a team. This also leads into
behaviors and charismatic theories of leadership.
To me, leadership is a people based process and that includes serving members of the
organization and those who benefit from the services the organization offers. In order to be
effective leaders in the influence relationship with followers, you must know your own strengths
and weaknesses as well as those of others in the organization. This is an excellent movement
towards knowing what emotional intelligence means. It means that leaders who are emotionally
intelligent are self-aware, self-regulating, motivated, empathetic, and socially skilled (Crawford,
pg 37). I believe a persons EQ is something that can be developed. Situations and experiences,
are what I think contribute to our overall leadership style. The drive that pushes leadership
forward is what allows for social change and innovation. Emotional intelligence is key for
further developing character.
One of the lasting elements from the Leadership concepts course that stood out to me is
the change process. Like leadership, change is not just going to happen overnight. It takes time to
move from past traditions into something that has a lasting change factor all the time. Change
can start at any time and continues constantly whether it is noticed or not (Crawford, pg 160).
People can say hey, this is not right and something needs to be done, if they want to be all talk.
But, until they walk the walk, they will not be able to move forward with changing the status
quo. For my creativity, it is hard for me to create and initiate the change process for future
success. However, the last stage for sustaining the change process is seen, overall, as the most
challenging stage. I must do further reflection on my skills and where they lie as a part of that
process. I look forward to applying more of these skills towards my VALUE program success.

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Leadership Behaviors
In Leadership 302, much of what I learned was about my personal skills. I remember the
day we discussed our leadership style. Personally, I am the mom of the teams that I am involved
with. This means my leadership style is that of a caretaker. I like to make sure that everyone is
included in the project as well as opinions heard. Encouraging others to know that they are
important to the team and they deserve to play a role means a lot to me.
Another important leadership chapter that I learned a lot about was the stages of a team
and how they move from a group of people to the successful and effective team. First is the
forming stage that moves to the storming stage followed by norming, performing, and finally
adjourning stage. If a team is able to get through the storming phase of development, then there
should not be any issue of completing the project successfully. This also leads into knowing how
you best resolve conflict. Personally, I had a three-way tie between compromising,
accommodating, and collaborating. I laugh a lot of the time when I take personality quizzes or
assessments about myself because it is so scary how accurate they are to my life. But, I feel that
by having more traits and behaviors in my personality, it will allow me to be more flexible in a
team situation where I can use certain strengths at different times to be effective.
I am really grateful for this class because it allowed me to really learn about myself
before I moved on to further leadership classes which need me to know myself better. If I had to
recommend any elective courses to people, it would be to at least take basic leadership classes.
They allow a student to learn more about themselves and who they are as a team member.
College is all about finding yourself and growing and what better way to do that than with
classes that let you take personality test for class work?
Fieldwork in Leadership Studies

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I am currently enrolled in this course as a means for completing my degree in


Organizational Leadership. Many other students have told me their opinions on this class and I
am so excited to see the full effect this course can have on my life and my experiences. I know
what service-learning is and how it applies to my life. It is the only way to get the most out of my
learning experience and get my hands dirty. Learning from intelligent professors that push you
to challenge your critical thinking skills in the classroom only take you so far in life. It isnt until
you take the classroom to the real world and apply your knowledge and skillset that you will not
truly understand what the teacher is explaining. One element about this course is that you have
no idea who you will be working with until the teams are settled as well as the complete details
for the project. A lot of times when you are working for an organization, you dont have time to
learn everyones leadership styles or how they interact with other people. Fortunately, for me, I
am partnered with people whom I have worked with before and have an understanding of what
type of student and team player they are. I am hoping to gain further insight during this class that
I can apply it to my skillset of working on an effective team and being a positive contributor.
My Knowledge Applied to VALUE
My live has changed dramatically from what it was supposed to be a year ago. I made a
decision that I am so grateful for and happy with. Changing my major from nursing is something
that I never thought I would do. I am a people pleasing kind of person and did not what to
disappoint everyone who told me constantly that I would make a great nurse. Reflecting now, I
see that a lot of those people complemented me this way when I was taking care of their personal
needs such as listening to them or showing compassion. I see that my people skills are prominent
and that was the only thing that I loved about nursing, helping and working with people. The
project I have chosen to do is a body positive campaign/project. I want this to be a way for

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women and men to come forward and have True Skin vulnerability. I am still in the developing
stages of my campaign, but I want this to be a way that I can be an advocate and a voice for
every person who has the same thoughts running through their head daily. While people may be
my passion, there are other avenues, like leadership that allow me to serve others. I once heard
that being a leader means to be a servant, servant leadership. It means to cater to the needs of the
followers and serve them so that your organization may thrive. This is how I have always seen
myself working in the professional atmosphere.
This is where the VALUE program comes to play in a large way in my life. I am finding
passions that I never thought that could happen personally. The VALUE program will allow the
freedom needed to take on a project that I am passionate about and have the background
knowledge about working with multiple people and the leadership process beforehand. I am
excited to grow as a leader. I am excited to grow as a person. I am excited to be that advocate.
Through this program, I am going to be a leader that makes her mark on the right side of history
through every chance I get.

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References

Crawford, C. B., Brungardt, Curtis., Maughan, Micol,. Understanding Leadership: Theories &
Concepts. Longmont, Colo.: Rocy Mountain, 2005. Print.