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EDL 290E - My Story

This leadership autobiography explores the experiences, relationships, and factors that have influenced my understanding of leadership throughout my life.
by

Abby Heino

on 2 November 2016

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Transcript of EDL 290E - My Story

My Story
What is leadership?
My definition of leadership has changed a lot since I was younger. Leadership isn't so much a person as an attitude. Leadership is helping others and working toward a common goal while taking into account the opinions of everyone involved. Although some may be more successful than others, I think that anyone can be a leader.
Experiences That Have Shaped Me
I have had many opportunities in my life so far to be able to explore and improve my leadership. In middle school, I was treasurer of my school's chapter of National Junior Honor Society (where I got to give a speech). In high school I was involved in student council and a freshman mentoring program. I also was invited to be a part of a community program called Junior Leadership Macomb. Through all of these experiences, I have been able to work with my peers and see how others lead or teach leadership.
People Who Have Influenced Me
A few people that have had positive impacts on my leadership style have been a handful of my high school teachers, my high school student council presidents, and my parents. I look up to them and model my leadership behavior after them, especially in difficult situations. I have also worked with people who have given me an idea of how I don't want to lead. These people were ineffective in my opinion, but these experiences have allowed me to adapt my leadership style to be different from theirs.
Leadership is Relative
Young Leadership
When I was little, leaders were the people who told me what to do. The leaders in my life were my parents and my teachers. Leadership was a concept I didn't really understand until I was older.
My Interpretation of Leadership
We have studied a variety of leadership concepts in class. There are a few in particular that stood out to me.
My Image of an Ideal Leader
My idea of an ideal leader changes on the group they are leading. In general, however, my thought of a leader tends to be an able-bodied, middle-class white man or woman. I think that growing up in a middle-class home has majorly influenced this perception of a typical leader. There really isn't a "usual" leader because people of all cultures and classes can lead. I think privilege has played a role in the development of stereotypes in my mind too.
Finding My Inner-Leader
My leadership values remain the same but need to be applied in diverse ways in different settings. For example, when leading a group of kids, I should use easier words for them to understand. When leading my peers, I should express my ideas in a way that I would want things explained to me. My cultural identities affect the way I lead too in that various groups may see me in different lights. I am learning to use my strengths in a variety of ways that most benefit me and the people around me.
Analyzing My Leadership
While exploring our inner-leaders, each student took the Strengths Quest. My results showed that my strengths are these five:
My Mentors
My mentors (my parents and a few of my teachers) have helped shape me into the person I am. Although we differ, I think that helps me to become my own person. We have different social identities because I am barely an adult and they have been adults for more than half of their lives. We also have diverse leadership styles. I think this is mainly because we have grown up with different values and in different societies. These variations only have positive effects on our relationships because I have the opportunity to reflect on my self and not have to live up to something.
Moving Forward With Leadership
No two people have the same definition of leadership. Everyone's definition is influenced by what they've been taught and their personal morals and values from their life. When merged together, different leadership styles can make for the best work environments. However, opinions that differ too much can cause conflict. Finding other leaders that mesh well together is key in producing an efficient leadership team.
The Eras of Leadership
Cultural Proficiency
While discussing the eras of leadership, I really disagreed with Great Man theory which states that "only certain individuals are capable of leadership." I think that anyone can be a leader if they work hard enough at it. I really liked the Relational theory because it says "leadership is a shared relationship among those seeking to make real change." I think that leaders need to work together if they want to make a difference in the world.
While discussing cultural proficiency, I liked examining the spectrum. I knew that there were different levels of understanding, but I didn't realize that these differences in understandings could affect groups of people so much. I think that depending on the situation, I tend to show either cultural pre-competence or competence. Cultural pre-competence is "an awareness of limitations in one's cultural interactions," whereas cultural competence is accepting and respecting differences and "continuously expanding cultural knowledge." Sometimes I know that I lack knowledge of a certain culture but ask questions to try build my fact-base.
Input
Relator
Intellection
Adaptability
Learner
Adaptability shows that I live in that moment and handle change well.
Input shows that I am inquisitive and I like to collect information.
Relator shows that I like to build on friendships so that they become deep and meaningful. I feel like this theme represents me the most because one of my main goals in life is to make deep connections with people.
Intellection shows that I like to think and typically am introspective. I understand this because I like to spend time by myself sometimes.
Learner shows that I enjoy the journey more than the outcome. I really like the learner theme too because I really do value the methods most.
Moving forward, I think that my
leadership skills and knowledge
can only expand. I look forward to
working with others as I finish
college and begin a career. Being
a leader will definitely help me to better understand others and help me to express my ideas to a group. I'm so excited to apply the different types of leadership concepts that we've learned in class to the real world.
Sources
Faris, Shannon. Outcalt, Charles. "The Emergence of Inclusive, Process-Oriented Leadership." Thinking about Non-Hierarchical Leadership Development (n.d.): 9-16.

"Using the Tools of Cultural Proficiency." The First Tool, Descriptive Language (2008): 84-91.

I also used our class discussions as references in my presentation.
Full transcript