The CMU Leadership Institute puts on a wide array of programs, one being the Spark Leadership Series. This program is a way to unite CMU students looking to develop leadership skills and make friendships along the way. Throughout the course of four sessions, Spark aimed to teach principles of effective leadership, create exposure to leadership theories and models, and develop a network of campus leaders. The main goal is to inspire and ignite a SPARK (haha…get it?) of leadership in each student.
In the session one, we were first introduced to the groups we would be with for the next four sessions. We set our personal goals, our team goals, and how we were going to achieve those goals.
My personal goal for Spark: Do something I wouldn’t normally do – show people who I am and be the person I want people to know.
Our Team Goals included:
- respect others’ opinions
- be a proton (be positive)
- discover something new about leadership
We set out to achieve these goals by being open and comfortable and having open participation. We wanted our environment to have no judgement and supportive.
We put an emphasis on respect and positivity. As a team, we wanted to promote the idea of being present, having an open mind, and most importantly having fun.
As a team, we all came up with what we defined “leadership” as.
- a lifestyle
- being the leader you’re born to be
- inclusion and acceptance
- enabling others to be their best
In the second session, we discovered our leadership style. The styles are based off of two qualities – Assertiveness and Expressiveness – and how high/low you rate. The four combinations of these qualities results in four leadership styles: Direct, Spirited, Systematic, and Considerate.
I found out that I am a considerate leader! This means that I provide others with a sense of reassurance in difficult times, I demonstrate support for others, and find the views and feelings of others important.
This session’s focus was to promote team building and working together. Each activity presented challenges that made us think. The challenges in the activities could be applied to each of our lives, at CMU and back at home. We reflected on the support that we have in each challenge and the support we need to overcome these challenges.
In the last session, all of the participants were sectioned off into two “cultures”- Alpha and Beta. Each culture had their own ways of life, language, and rules. Some people were chosen to interact with the opposite culture to show how people differ from place to place. It was an interesting simulation to create perspective.
Overall, I found the Spark Leadership series to be a very well put together program. The facilitators did a fine job at making sure everyone felt included and valued.