July 25, 2012
I Believe That We Can LEAD
I. I believe. I believe that. I believe that we. I believe that we can. I believe that we can LEAD!
Picture this: 105 student leaders who go to different universities around the United States, yet have similar duties, ambitions, goals, and personalities. Now put all of these students into one room for six days, and what do you think you will get? Newly found leadership through friendship, camaraderie, trust, and empowerment. Through the core competencies of I-LEAD, students were challenged to take risks in communication and personnel management and develop their own ethical values on leadership styles and program goals for their institutions.
It was not just the larger tasks that were presented to the students with a challenge. It was the way in which the students accepted those tasks, took them “by the horns,” and let their knowledge fly. Creative thinking and positive teamwork were the themes that shined through the program’s curriculum. Identifying our personal leadership styles and what makes us “tick” was only the small side of I-LEAD. Our true task was to break down our walls of experiences, mistakes, and opportunities and let one another in. To make personal connections such as the ones fostered at I-LEAD is a feat that cannot be assigned in a workbook.
The student leaders who I encountered at I-LEAD seemed surreal as we led our way through the “Building Communities” challenge, surviving the Inca Trail with what limited knowledge we could lend on the outdoors. The small group discussions wore us down and helped us compartmentalize that each leader has their own story, but when we put them all together, we provide a miraculous experience.
Taking time away from my day-to-day campus programming was most surely needed, though I felt blindsided by what I should be expecting. I’d heard testimonials from pervious Marquette students about I-LEAD, but each individual stated that it was my own experience and to make all that I could out of this opportunity. Normally set in tradition, I needed a few fresh eyes on what I thought was great programming for the year, so I took that tiny plane down to Columbia, Mo. and took a risk. I opened up my leadership style, learned that I love to encourage the heart and model the way, but soon realized that to be a better leader for my staff I needed to work smarter, not just harder. This meant not only challenging the programming I had developed, but also challenging myself to channel all of my fellow students leaders and actually listen to what they were proposing and what they were aiming to accomplish and take those lessons and hold them close to my Marquette traditions.
If I could offer a few words of wisdom to a supervisor or advisor or even a potential I-LEAD student: trust the process, and let it happen. No matter the task at hand or the team provided, trust and you will be trusted, listen and you will be heard. Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up to speak, courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
I believe that we can LEAD.
is the Student Employee Coordinator, Alumni Memorial Union at Marquette University.
Barbara is the student supervisor of 35 student managers and more than 400 student employees that affiliate with the Student Employment Program at the Alumni Memorial Union. She maintains personnel records for student managers, programs and facilitates student manager training each semester, and coordinates with the student manager team to host an all-staff training. Barbara is currently a student at Marquette University, majoring in information technology and marketing.