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A New And Improved Leader

C. Duke - LDR 2010

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Hey there!

Courtney Duke here.

In reflecting on this past semester I have been able to reminisce about some of the great things I have taken away from my leadership course. In the beginning of the semester my leadership philosophy valued respect, community, and adaptability. As the course progressed, I discovered new things about myself that I identified with as a leader and added these to my leadership philosophy. Though our exploration of our identities I saw how my race, gender, and culture shape the way I view and perform leadership and how I can improve and grow in my leadership style.


Respect: Treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Since a young age I have been taught that in order to receive respect you must show respect to others. I exhibit this in both my leadership activities and day to day by treating others with kindness and and open mind.

Community: Take responsibility for your duty to make a positive contribution to the community.

Even if the task is small you can always make a positive contribution to the community. I do this through remaining active in my community through volunteering and doing small acts of kindness throughout my day.

Adaptability: An ability to steer change and respond to change.

My ability to be able to lead and respond to change is imperative to my growth as a leader. In both my leadership style and my day to day I work to be able to respond to any situation quickly and efficiently to ensure success.

Hard Work: To be action oriented and perform to the best of my ability.

Putting in the long hours and getting things done is part of what I believe it takes to be a leader. This shows up in both my leadership style and day to day by prioritizing tasks and doing my best in everything that I do.

Diversity: Being open minded to a variety of things.

I challenge myself to talk with people that have different backgrounds and lifestyles from myself to learn new ways in which I can be a leader on a daily basis. I try to then bring these ideas into my leadership style by being more inclusive of those around me.


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Respect go's both ways.

Our classroom environment exhibited this concept of respecting others differences. When someone disagreed with another person they were sure to be respectful of the others opinion. This stood out to me in that in order to receive respect from others you must give it in return. It was nice to see this play out in the classroom and it was something that I took with me into my everyday activities.


Leaders are not born, they're made.

One of the biggest myths of leadership is that only a few select are meant to be leaders. Throughout the course as I saw my own leadership capabilities grow and develop through hard work I realized that you don't need special genes to be a leader. Personality and style vary with great leaders, for example Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr, Bill Gates all had very different personalities but they all led true to their values and beliefs.

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We are only as fast as our slowest team member.

As a leader it is your job to be aware of the needs of others. Here in this gif of a rowing team you see the leader throwing up her hand to instruct the team to row together. If one rower is slightly out of sync with the others the progress could be deterred. The leader is responsible for encouraging the team to keep going and when one person goes down, they all do.


Lead by influence, not authority.

Being an inclusive leader means that you value the input of everyone involved and that you work to help each member develop their talents. Through building strong relationships you can create an environment in which everyone is putting their best foot forward towards making a positive change alongside you. In my student organization the president of the organization was a great example of what an inclusive leader looked like. He was always open to hearing new ideas and made sure to include everyone in the conversation.


Embrace change.

As a leader it is important to remember that change is not a bad thing. Change ignites growth that can lead your organization to places that it may have never reached without that change. By being a change advocate you can use your positive influence to make a change for the better. Again I have seen this in my student organization on campus. Our president is now stepping down from his position and handing the torch to our VP. He has inspired us to continue to do great work for the AMA and to continue making positive changes that will make the organization stronger.


My experience in this leadership course has been informative, challenging, and inspiring. I have learned new things about my leadership style and have been able to examine myself in a way that has helped me to develop into a better leader. Moving forward I want to take these things I have learned and apply them to not only when I am in leadership but when I engage in daily life. In the future others will be able to see my values clearly play out in my leadership. I expect myself to continue to challenge my leadership style and to remain open minded to new ways of leading.

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