First, I am beginning the end of my education in pursing my masters degree. I really don't even see myself getting a doctorate or anything that spectacular. I am going to start my masters this fall. The beginning of the end. It's both sad and exciting. It's the last chapter of my formal education as a young adult. I love learning and I cannot wait to return to reading, writing papers and having deadlines. My masters is going to be in Organizational Leadership. I don't have any lofty goals for this Org. Leadership, but just the title alone captures me. Leadership is essential. It plays an important role in every one of our lives, whether we give credit or not.
The second reason is that as a team, all my co-workers and I, are reading a book called The Way of the Shepherd by Dr. Kevin Leman (2004). It uses an engaging story to quickly move through key principles in organizational leadership. Things that as you read them seem so basic, so fundamental, that it doesn't seem to make sense why more people do not lead using similar techniques. I would highly recommend reading to anyone and everyone. It's a light easy read (I read of the entire book in just 3 hours). Despite that fact that this book was assigned, I am so thankful and hope that I will be able to glean important lifestyle habits that I can incorporate in every facet of life.
In this book, there are many leadership principles. Many key quotes, most of which I know I'll never remember. Quotes has never been my forte, even if it's from the best movie ever, like Zoolander. Some of my favorites:
- Learn how to lead them in a way that made them want to follow.
- You have to make a point of knowing not just the status of the work but also the status of your people.
- Great leaders instill a sense of meaning and belonging in their followers by putting the personal imprint of who they are and what they stand for on their people.
- Strengths: Strengths reflect your abilities
- Heart: Heart reflects your passion
My heart, which is another world for passion. Probably because the world SHAPE made way more sense than SPAPE. I'm still working on my heart, my passions. I like what I do to matter, which ties into my strengths but I'm not sure what it is that makes my blood pump and gets my blood pressure risin'. I'm still working on that one.
My attitude affects everything. Leman says, "People with a good attitude are usually team players. For another, they usually have a teachable spirit. People with negative attitudes tend to be lone rangers. You can't teach them a thing... they're poor examples for the rest of your people. If you compromise with negative people for the sake of their abilities, your other people will learn bad habits." I want to be teachable. I want to be a part of the community, leaning into relationships, not being a lone ranger. I want to teach people healthy habits about communication, conflict and community. My attitude towards life, my job, my co-workers, my hubs, affects it all. It seeps through my very being, spilling into life around me.
My personality, as sparkling and fantastic as it is (yes, that is dripping with sarcasm... but really), plays a crucial role in how I work, respond and handle things. I am an introvert. I like downtime. Therefore: computers & I get along fantastic. I must say though, my sparkling personality really does need some good ol' quality people time too. It's a delicate balance.
The last letter of SHAPE stands for experiences. "Each person you meet is a product of their life experiences" (Leman). I've been through a lot different circumstances from even my Hubs, such as growing up a house full of 6 women, in the city and being homeschooled (yes, homeschooled). He grew up the youngest of 3 kids, in the country and going to public school. Our experiences have shaped us into two very different people. It's kind of cool.
So, how does all of this tie together in leadership, school and reading a neat book? Realizing how you are wired, what makes you tick and ticks you off is important if you want to be a leader. Knowing what is going to make you get up early in the morning to make sure you are ready for the day ahead is important, its crucial. I know I'm always changing, my experiences molding me and my outlook is constantly changing colors, but that's okay. It's okay to change, I just want to try and be aware of what change is happening. Whatever change is taking place leaves room for two options, which ever you choose: progressing forward or taking steps backward.
I'm trying to choose progressing forward.