If you were to ask me three years ago, I probably would've said, "Leadership is being in charge and making decisions for what's best in the group." This definition has been modified and updated after studying leadership theories, learning other philosophies of leadership, and through my own development of my leadership skills. Now I believe that anybody can be a leader, not just those in formal authority. It's a title that should be given to the many because everyone can practice leadership every day. I believe leadership is the interaction of creating positive influence with others to achieve a common goal.
When standing at the finish line of this marathon known as life, all of it would be for naught, unless I can look back and see myself as a positive, kind, and inclusive person. After going through the struggles and hardships of life, I will retain my optimism and good spirits. The ideal Shugo is someone who is creative and confident. Someone who knows who he is and firmly stands upon those beliefs. Someone who reaches out to help others, brings people together, and can raise others to their full potential.
The trifecta of my life thesis are composed of: continuous self-improvement, creating art that gives people new perspective in an optimistic light, and forming positive relationships across whomever I meet.
The core value that directs my life is a strong sense of integrity. Simply put, that's doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do. I will be a man of integrity: being able to form comprehensive arguments for right and wrong, and holding the courage to stand up for what is right. By affirming who I am and what I stand for, I will be a better leader and lead by example.
My supporting values are fairness and creativity. As far as fairness, I hate seeing people excluded or not given an equal chance. People say "Life is not fair," but that's because they don't try to make it so. I will live a life that includes people, not pushes others away. I will break down walls made of an "us vs. them" mentality. By breaking down boundaries and building up common ground, I will be a unifying force in society.
Leave a mark on the world. Create something new. Always leave a room better than when you came in. Compel people to think in ways they haven't. These things are important to me. I am akin to the callosum that combines the logical left with the creative right brain. And with that, I will develop animations and art to inspire people and give them a more optimistic perspective on the world.
While improving myself physically, mentally, and spiritually are important, what I create will be what will last and the legacy I leave behind. By refining these values and standing up for them when under pressure, I will become a better, positively influential leader.
The Leadership Certificate Program will benefit me in two-fold. First, it will help me better understand who I am. And second, it will help me to grow into a confident, effective leader in school, work, and all other aspects of life.
In classic video games, the brave adventurer goes from one quest to another while gaining skills and abilities. This is similar to life in that we go through different stages and strive to complete our different accomplishments. As we fulfill one of our dreams, we have the joy of satisfaction and then move onto the next goal.
Goals come in two flavors: quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative are well-defined with a time-frame. Some are short-term such as do well on my finals and finish my animation project. Others are more long term like graduating with a degree in computer engineering. Further down the road, I want to start my own animation studio or technology firm. On the other hand, qualitative goals are still accomplishments, but not as well defined. I want to be more confident, improve my public speaking skills, and have the ambition to follow through my projects. I hope to engage others in conversation and enunciate to express my own ideas. There's no point would I decide, "Alright, my skill is great enough. I can stop now." These are ongoing accomplishments. With the Leadership Program, I hope to accomplish these goals and become a more effective leader.
I believe in life you should always be doing one of two things, either being with other people or improving yourself. My goal to be more self-confident falls into the latter category. Following the trait approach to leadership, confidence is one of the hallmarks to great leaders. This trait is largely innate; however, it can still be learned and developed. I want to be more comfortable in new social situations, speak my mind, and have the strength to lead others.
When I come up with an innovative idea, I often feel held-back since the rest of the group might not like it. I would like to change that by still putting out my ideas even if others might not feel the same.
This complements my goal to improve my public speaking skills. Over the years, I've become a much better public speaker and don't feel as much anxiety when talking in front of large groups. However, I still have ways to go to be confident and fluid in my diction. Generally, my goal is to be someone with charisma, that compelling charm that inspires devotion in others.
These are both very qualitative goals, so there will be no ending point in mind. But there are some benchmarks where I would know I have made progress. In public speaking, it all comes with getting exposure and doing talks. In AGED 260, we gave a presentation on multicultural competence, so I had to step out of my comfort zone to speak in front of the class. And it ended up going very well. I need to give more presentations and jump on opportunities to speak in front of others.
On an everyday level, I need to be more personable and outgoing. A large aspect to leadership is the relationship side of interaction, so I need to constantly be reaching out, forming networks, and improving on my relationships.
In my sophomore year of High School I took a Myers-Briggs Personality assessment and resulted in ENTP (Extraverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, and Perceiving). Many of the qualities associated with this type apply to me: being innovative, creative, propensity to debate, and optimistic. However, the main negative trait that I see most within myself is getting enthusiastic with a new project, but not finishing what I start. I have the initial drive, but then it burns out and I move onto a new project.
As a leader, this becomes a problem professionally when people expect being invigorated throughout the project. I would have to push that even further to inspire others when they lose the drive later in a project.
In the Situational Approach to leadership, it shows how competence and commitment fluctuates throughout a project lifecycle and even within someone's career. I have to learn to inspire my followers and myself to the same commitment levels at the beginning of a task.
To be more ambitious I have to start new projects and follow them to completion. In terms of computer engineering, I want to design a better computer mouse and program an app for the iPhone. Other projects I'm interested in are animating a short film and writing a novel. I need to set well-defined, obtainable goals, and then turn them into a reality.
By being more confident and ambitious, I'll be a better leader to improve myself and the community.
|Self-Awareness||Become more conscious of my personal blind-spots and fixing them. Reviewing my own social interactions to better connect others.||In Insight, I worked on Johari Window to know myself, my blind-spots, and how this is perceived by others. Also took the Emotional Intelligence questionnaire through the Leadership Center.|
|Self-Management||Solidify my values and figure out what truly matters to me. Learn to set definitive, manageable goals with the drive to accomplish them.||In Insight and AGED 260, learned about my core values that lead my life and help in ethical dilemmas. In Integrity, I refined my ethical values and discussed how I could practice them in everyday challenges.|
|Relationship Building||Strengthen relationships from the surface acquaintance stage to a deeper level.||At Imprint, I learned how to better network. I've also focused on relationships that really matter to me and worked on deepening those instead of spreading out too thin.|
|Communication Skills||Better articulate my thoughts better in clear, effective ways for others to understand.||I attended a talk by David Goldberg which focused on communication, active listening, and asking good questions.|
|Ethical Practices||Determine how to figure out what is the right thing (greatest good) and go forward in that action.||Attended a talk by Robert F. Kennedy held through the -Leadership Center. Emphasized finding something you believe in and dedicating your life to it. My personal values are further refined through AGED 260, GE 361, and Imprint.|
|Team Development||Create inviting environments for group collaboration. In teams, I want to develop strong cohesion and keep people interested.||I developed this when I worked as an engineering consultant to Business 101 students. By collaborating with them, they come up with an idea and the marketing side of it, while I help turn it into reality. I also currently serve as the project manager for a web development team so need to keep energy high and everyone engaged.|
|Leading Change||Improve my creative skills to innovate new ideas and use the know-how to take these ideas to fruition.||I attended Daniel Pink's talk at Engineer of the Future 3.0. He spoke about being creative and the importance of divergent thinking. This inspired me throughout my educational career as a computer engineer.|
|Project and Program Effectiveness||Improve the process of creating projects from start to finish as well as promote stronger collaboration to utilize people's talents.||I teach animation classes at my local library. I work through the teen coordinator and several other people within the library to do my programs. I'm also serving as a project manager in a web development team to design a website for non-profit organizations.|
|Systems Thinking||Learn how to get an overview for each project I work on, and understand each component of the whole.||Being an Engineering Learning Assistant for first-year engineers, I delegate as they work on projects from initial conception to completion.|
|Community Building||Learn more about different cultures and be more involved to help others and the community.||In AGED 260, we did group presentations over multicultural competence. This taught me about different cultures along with more experience working in a team.|
|Sustaining Leadership||Continue leadership roles in my school, work, and other avenues in my life.||I will continue being invested in my current leadership roles, be open and look out for new opportunities to develop leadership, and practice everyday leadership.|