After completing the Auburn MBA iLEAD program, a second year MBA student reflects on three lessons he learned from his experiences with the Center for Creative Leadership.
3 Lessons I Learned about Leadership
Last week, my MBA cohort completed our third weekend session with the Center for Creative Leadership, finishing the Auburn MBA iLEAD curriculum (and getting a fancy certificate!). The three sessions were spread out over the past three semesters, allowing us to experience growth as leaders and as a cohort. The weekends, mostly held at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA, gave ample opportunity to learn, reflect, and apply tangible leadership skills. As I look back on my iLEAD experience, I’d like to share three small insights I gained through the iLEAD program.
- Leadership is soft (and that makes it hard). There’s no formula for effective leadership (There’s no three-point blog that teaches you everything, either!). Our weekends were cemented with frequent discussion and reflection about the difficulties of leadership and about the unique strengths we each bring. As I continue forward in a career, I will set myself apart not by how quickly I can calculate ROI, but by how I interact with, collaborate, follow, and lead others.
- I can’t effectively lead others without first leading myself. I love the order of the three iLEAD sessions: (1) Leading Self, (2) Leading Others, and (3) Leading Change. We’re experts at telling other people what to do differently, but are often amateurs at looking inward at our strengths and weaknesses to find opportunities for growth. One of the most impactful activities from my iLEAD experience came when we crafted our personal leadership philosophies. After writing down the kind of leader I strive to be, I have a more holistic picture of my personal aspirations—and a clearer way to reach them.
- We’re better together. As tempted as I am to go all kumbaya on you, I’ll avoid it. We did a number of assessments over the course of the program, looking at everything from how we react to change to our preferred method of influencing others. Each time, I was struck at how different and diverse I was from the rest of the cohort (and not just because I have an undergraduate degree in English and a weird love of Celine Dion). As I would talk to a classmate about my strengths and weaknesses, I would frequently realize that my weaknesses overlapped with their strengths. I’m reminded that I’ll never succeed on my own merits alone, but by surrounding myself with people who share a common goal. I’m grateful my cohort has so many capable and bright people with a wide range of backgrounds and merits.
|I had plenty of other learning experiences through the iLEAD program (like the time our Academic Advisor, Joye Hughes, schooled me in a game of spades), but I’ll end here. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my experiences with the iLEAD program (or the Auburn MBA in general). I’d love to chat!|