Servant Leadership: Beyond the Classroom

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.47.12 AMThroughout my LDR 200: Introduction to Leadership course, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about many of the theories and approaches that help define what leadership is. For the duration of the semester, my classmates and I were split up into groups; each group was responsible for creating a workshop for a specific theory we given. Now that we

Now that LDR 200 is coming to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot about how these theories we’ve learned (even th12417568_625062540980523_9015609560789164536_nough some of them are hundreds of years old) are applicable to our everyday lives as college students.

One of the theories presented in LDR 200 that really resonated with me is the Servant Leadership Theory. Not only is my own leadership philosophy centered around this concept, but I believe that as a college student, servant leadership is nearly everywhere.

The Servant Leadership Theory is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations, and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.

12938074_625062574313853_7982738962821157617_nFor instance, this semester I joined the Student Michigan Education Association (SMEA). As our Outreach to Teach Community Service Project, we devoted an entire week during the semester to painting the inside of Ganiard Elementary School. Ganiard was looking for ways to make their school more of a warm, welcoming environment for their staff and students. SMEA members came together and spent more than 60 hours total at Ganiard prepping walls, stenciling, and painting. At the end of the week, our devotion to this project paid off and because of our efforts, the students and staff at Ganiard will have a warmer school environment.

Through this project, we displayed many of the characteristics of being a servant leader. We listened to other SMEA members’ ideas various ideas for the school and also collaborated with school officials to ensure we could provide what they11218480_625062567647187_9138030472145902539_n needed.

We developed a sense of empathy to better see what types of paintings would make students happy and comfortable to be at school.
We became aware of the impact our dedication to this project would have on staff and students at Ganiard.
Through this project, we built an even stronger community within SMEA as we each had a shared passion for teaching and the impact this project would have on the school.

I am so grateful for the opportunities I have every day at CMU that continue to inspire me to be a servant leader.

 

 

True Leadership

If an ordinary perIMG_6165son was stopped on the street and asked to name someone who is a leader, they would probably respond with a well-known figure such as Barack Obama, Oprah, or Steve Jobs. Contrary to public opinion, most leaders are not necessarily people who hold positions in the government or hold a special title. In fact, the world’s most influential leaders are often people we interact with in our everyday life that challenge us to be better, inspire us to reach out to others, and remind us to live a life filled with gratitude and compassion.

When I was asked in my LDR 200 class to identify someone who is a leader, the first person who came to mind was not Barack Obama, Oprah, or even Steve Jobs. The first person who came to mind was my mom.

My mom is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. I’ve come to realize what makes my mom a leader is her unconditional desire to help others and her compassion for everyone she comes in contact with. You see, my mom is a leader by leading through others. Whether it’s her genuine compassion towards her patients at work, creating intentional relationships with everyone she meets, or devoting her time and energy to volunteering in the community, she portrays the type of selflessness that a true leader possesses.

While she may not realize it, my mom has had a tremendous impact on so many lives, including my own. Her everyday actions of selflessness and true kindness inspire others to “pay it forward”. The intentional relationships she creates inspires others to form more intentional relationships of their own. But most importantly, her gratitude and optimistic outlook on life remind many people, including myself, that life is a blessing that should be cherished every day.