Young Jang ’19, reflects on his participation in the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) during the 2016 fall term.
I joined MLDP due to a friend’s recommendation, and I learned numerous important skills and aspects about being an efficient and dependable leader.
The most important thing that I learned is that true leadership does not exist in a vacuum. While I learned many skills and tips on becoming an efficient leader, none of it matters until I actually put it to use in everyday life.
I realized this truth during an MLDP session with Steven Spaulding, Assistant Athletics Director for Leadership. Spaulding covered the essentials of team communication through a formal presentation. During the presentation, I smugly thought to myself, “I know all of this.” However, when I had to put my team communication skills to the test in an outdoor activity, I failed miserably. Once I stepped outside, I defaulted to my “normal” behavior, and I stopped thinking and acting like a leader.
When you are a leader, you must continually maintain a leadership mentality. No one tells you, “Hey, it’s your turn to be a leader now. Put your leadership cap and get to work.” Great leaders are always conscious of their surroundings, and they contribute their skills for the greater good of the group at all times.
After this realization, I looked for a way to practice my leadership in my life. An opportunity came up when I was one of the event-organizers for a Living Learning Community (LLC) event. Because the organizers initially did not have a clear preparation plan, I divided the workload and assigned specific responsibilities for each member. By quickly planning out the event beforehand and communicating clearly, we avoided any problems and smoothly completed the event.
Being a leader or a manager is something that I can do in my everyday life. I don’t need a title or a position of authority to practice my leadership. Even partaking in small opportunities to put the leadership skills to work is valuable. Leadership is not a skill exclusive to work or academics; rather, it is an attitude to approaching life.
Click here for more information about the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP).