Greetings! My name is David Kislik and I am a junior here at the University of South Florida. I have been an international business major for 2 and a half years of my academic college life here, and this last semester I have decided to change my major to marketing. I made this decision because of a couple of reasons. I was born in the United States, but lived my whole life up till college in a country by the name of Azerbaijan, a beautiful Muslim country with its own interesting cultural aspects. Upon graduating high school I decided to come back to the US to study business and chose international business thinking it is for international students who want to work in America, but it turned out to be the opposite. Completing debate and leadership camps in the past in England, I was introduced to aspects of leadership some time ago. But sadly, the camps concentrated more on debating and presentations rather than the theory of leadership and its methods. Before I took the Leadership Fundamentals class here at US
Greetings! My name is David Kislik and I am a junior here at the University of South Florida. I have been an international business major for 2 and a half years of my academic college life here, and this last semester I have decided to change my major to marketing. I made this decision because of a couple of reasons. I was born in the United States, but lived my whole life up till college in a country by the name of Azerbaijan, a beautiful Muslim country with its own interesting cultural aspects. Upon graduating high school I decided to come back to the US to study business and chose international business thinking it is for international students who want to work in America, but it turned out to be the opposite. Completing debate and leadership camps in the past in England, I was introduced to aspects of leadership some time ago. But sadly, the camps concentrated more on debating and presentations rather than the theory of leadership and its methods. Before I took the Leadership Fundamentals class here at USF, I did not know as much about the styles and theories of leadership. An example of a leader has always been a front man in a band for me, as I always thought being able to connect and bring together band members and their ideas is what leadership means. A good example of that for me would be Dave Grohl, the late drummer for Nirvana and the front man of Foo Fighters. Before taking the class I understood effective leadership simply as when people follow you. I believed that you are a leader when you can direct people that follow you to accomplish tasks. Of course I believed that inspiring and motivating people was a big part of the leadership process as well. After completing the class, I started to think deeper about the aspects, scenarios and styles of leadership, as it has hit me with an avalanche of new knowledge.
In the beginning of the class, one of the first assignments was to choose and define some of the core values that represent you (from a list). I cannot exactly recall the core values I have chosen before because upon completing the class, I changed some of my choices as I started to really understand my leadership philosophy better. My list of core values as of now is being independent, positive, flexible, creative and dominant. Being independent has become a vital part of my life as of the last 3 years when I moved to the US by myself to study here. Being independent, for me, means to take care of yourself and your loved ones. It means looking after yourself and making sure every responsibility that I have is fulfilled and every assignment is done on time. Independence means making a certain income by myself and depend on myself, and only myself. Being positive has become one of the most important core values for me, as I understood that staying positive is key for success most of the times. The importance of positivity in leadership is described precisely in the last chapter of out assigned course book, and the book is doing a great job explaining all the aspects of it. Being flexible is one of the most important characteristics of any person in my opinion. Being a full time student, it is crucial to stay flexible as it is very hard to balance classes, jobs and hobbies at the same time. Being flexible even helps when you have a lot of classes per semester, and managing time can be hard sometimes. Being creative is something that has always helped me. Being creative with schoolwork, work and hobbies is a great talent, as some people can’t always be creative with everything. Being creative means being able to find great, new and interesting solutions to everything that stands in your way. Last but not least, is being dominant. No matter how creative and positive you are as a leader, staying dominant is very important. Dominance is power and power is all. Being a dominant leader means security and prosperity for your employees and followers I believe.
There are lot of takeaways from this course. A lot more than I ever thought I would have for sure! There are countless theories and concepts I have learned and added to my arsenal of leadership. One of the biggest takeaways were the cultural aspects. Due to traveling a lot and living my whole in a different culture to the US, I have learned to accept and adapt to foreign cultures and traditions. From the book, the aspect of cross cultural communication stands out to me a lot as this is what I had to go through. Being aware of the dos and don’ts of different cultures really plays a big role when trying to fit in and connect with people. The topics about teams, groups and organizations really stood out to me as well, as I always struggled to differentiate. Now, I know what the tasks and functions of each are. Understanding the differences between a change and transition was also very informative as I never even thought these were different terms. Leadership theories was also a memorable part of the book as it showed us the beliefs and assumptions people had about leadership. The Trait leadership theory is what stood out to me out of all, as I also used to believe in that theory. I still think that there are certain traits that connect all great leaders! I also never really understood the concept of a paradigm shift before, but it became really clear to me as soon as we went over it in class. Also, I really enjoyed going over the Learning Model as it was something new to me and I took it as a new mechanism for myself. One of the other topics that really stood out to me was the Kidder’s Ethical Decision Making Model. As I read it I understood it is a great guide for ethical decision making as it splits it up to 3 stages and described very clearly. I would also like to mention the Student Essays in every chapter. These are great little passages written by students and they really help understand the context and the topics of the chapter. Lastly, the strength reflections have by far been the most “aha” moment for me. It has been the most new and informative piece of information about me. I never thought of my leadership traits before and this has opened my eyes on my capabilities, advantages and cons!
To conclude this article and my reflection on the course, I would like to mention a couple of things.
1)If you haven’t taken this class before, TAKE IT! You will be amazed how many paradigm shifts you will experience and how much you will take away
2)Do your readings! As every other class there are note card quizzes that can either make your grade, or BREAK it!
3)Enjoy the assignments! The assignments are all fun some even requiring you to film videos and caption photos. What more can you as for?
I have enjoyed and taken away a lot of new knowledge for myself. I learned numerous concepts that I will definitely adapt to my leadership style in the future. I have learned to work in the team better because of the final project which required us to use everything that we learned in the class before. It was really interesting and refreshing to work on a company’s project but from a leadership point of view. I will use and apply all of the lessons I have learned in this class for sure, as it is too much to learn and not to use it in the future for sure!