MLDP Recap: MLDP Goes Outside, Braving the Winter Cold with Steven Spaulding

Read a student's account of our most recent session in our Management Leadership and Development program below. For more information about MLDP, click here.

This week’s session of the Management Leadership Development Program was a little out of the ordinary. Rather than meeting in a classroom and discussing different aspects of leadership and character, we finally tested our skills in an interactive session titled, “Leading Through Action.” Steven Spaulding, the Assistant Athletic Director for Leadership, applied lessons from the Dartmouth Peak Performance program, and helped each MLDP participant more clearly define and strengthen their leadership skills.

We began by gathering on Gold Coast lawn, where we discussed our perceptions and definitions of leadership. We split into teams of five or six students and then Steven Spaulding sent us on our way. Armed with a compass, each team had a leader and a facilitator. Our mission was to find a pack hidden somewhere on campus, pitch a tent and boil water over a fire we built. During the activity, one member of each team was silenced, and the group leader could only use one hand.

Despite these challenges, most teams were successful in their ventures to set up camp along Tuck Drive. My team, however, struggled a little more than the rest; confusing water for fire accelerant, we failed to start a fire, and it took us a few tries to successfully construct our tent. Our leader, however, tirelessly focused our efforts, and we soon realized the challenges inherent in completing any activity without a strong guiding force. At the end of the activity, we all gathered to discuss our impressions and realizations. Students spoke of the necessity of assessing a situation before taking any action, as well as the need to establish open lines of communication between all members of the group. Steven Spaulding observed that any member of a team can and is a leader in their unique way. A team cannot function without the contributions of each person.

This session of MLDP was certainly the most engaging, fun and interactive session of the program so far, and the leadership lessons we practiced and struggled with will continue to apply in any situation we may find ourselves in.

--Written by Susanna Kalaris '16, MLDP Winter 2014 Participant