Course Description: “This course looks at the leader as an agent of change on three levels: personal change, influence on individuals and small groups, and impact on cities, organizations, and cultures. Through historic reflection and developing a systemic vision, students are equipped to make a difference in many social settings. By learning to work as mentors, facilitators, and ambassadors, emerging leaders can leave a dynamic legacy. ”
How this Course Impacted my Leadership & Core Values:
Throughout the semester, this course highlighted the Seven C’s of change, according to Komives and Wagner (2016). Specifically, the C’s that resonated with and impacted me the most were: Congruence and Controversy with Civility.
Congruence is a widely discussed concept in the field of Humanistic Psychology, focusing on our ability to be true to ourselves around others. According to the Komives & Wagner (2016) text, those who are trustworthy create safe spaces to participate in open-minded discussions and conversations, demonstrating genuineness and consistency in who they say they are, and how they act. So often, we are pressured to fit a certain mold or be exactly who society and culture tell us to be. In all things, I believe in being true to who I am, no matter who I am with. It is challenging and sometimes, I am afraid of how others will perceive me. But at the same time, I want to know that I am loved and cared for because others see my flaws and faults and love me anyway. Thus, developing relationships, acceptance, and connections with others are integral to our ability to lead and create social change.
Next, we may feel that any controversy we may have is not worth noting or discussing to save face or ensure that others will continue to follow our beliefs. In group and collaborative work, this can be detrimental to developing a clear understanding of each other, as well as making progress in our work overall. Discussion, especially in controversial or uncomfortable topics can be beneficial by deepening our perception and understanding, rather than solely accepting superficial cohesiveness, or sparing others’ feelings when progress through controversy will help us all become better together. Our culture and society have a tendency to show a lack of care for others’ ideas, values, opinions, and beliefs, citing whatever we can find that “proves” our own rightness and shuns or belittles the other as unintelligent, wrong, etc. Any conflicting information is forsaken and forgotten to prove our own point. We do not seek to listen and understand or hear, but rather, to respond and assert dominance, no matter who we hurt or offend in the process. Thus, becoming more understanding about our own perceptions and worldviews, as well as others’, and how these affect all of us is integral to help us create more loving and understanding relationships and conversations.
“How often do we stand convinced of the truth of our early memories, forgetting that they are assessments made by a child? We can replace the narratives that hold us back by inventing wiser stories, free from childish fears, and, in doing so, disperse long-held psychological stumbling blocks (Zander & Zander, 2000).”
What I am Passionate & Driven By:
Because of the focus in this Leadership course of empowerment and inspiration to others on the individual and personal, communal, and societal levels, I have realized that I am passionate about giving others the space to voice their concerns and their opinions, especially if these are vastly different from my own values and beliefs. Just because I may not agree with someone, it does not mean their viewpoint is any less valuable than my own. We all desire to be treated with compassion, respect, and understanding and if we are in leadership, it is doubly up to us to ensure that others feel heard and valued. Not only do I want to hold fast to my core values as well as be open-minded and caring, but I also want to encourage others to do the same in their lives, relationships, work, and interactions. We live in a broken society that is quick to judge and spread unkind words about those with whom we disagree. This is a cycle that must be broken if we are to create lasting change in our communities that uplifts, inspires, and reminds others of their rights to speak up about their experiences.
Komives, S. R., & Wagner, W. (Eds.). (2016). Leadership for a better world: Understanding the social change model of leadership development. John Wiley & Sons.
Zander, R. S., & Zander, B. (2000). The art of possibility. Harvard Business Press.