I had the good fortune recently of taking a leadership class at a local university. Alright, if we’re being honest with each other I wasn't happy about driving the hour down to this night class after working all day. That is, until I sat down for that first class. I knew this was going to be no ordinary class the minute it started.
I learned two major life lessons under the watch of my exuberant and charismatic professor.
The first life lesson I learned in this class was that we need leadership – and all kinds, very badly. I’m not just talking about in positions like politics. One of our assignments was to do a police ride along – and when he announced that this was one of our projects, I saw more than a few heads shake, obviously unsure about having to do it. But those very people were probably the ones who learned the most from it. It gives you a whole new perspective about leadership. It shows us that we need leaders in each aspect of our lives. Whether you run a business, a department, or a family, your leadership will touch those around you, and if you do it right, the energy you exude will wind around those you lead and lift them to whole new levels of motivation, cooperation and productivity.
Second lesson? The phrase ‘that’s just how it is’ no longer applies to my life. Everyone knows school is a pain, and if you ask nearly anyone they’ll tell you they ‘don’t miss those days.’ Well, if they'd taken my leadership class, they certainly wouldn't feel that way. From timed team art projects to being led around campus by my peers while we were all blindfolded (near some light traffic, I might add), we learned through experiences, and not a book, what leadership meant. He challenged us in a way that no professor had ever done for me, and he made school fun again.
If every professor had his passion and energy, I guarantee grades, attendance, and undoubtedly, tuition would go up. The point is, he could have made a PowerPoint, and he could have simply lectured like every other class, because that’s just how school is. It certainly would have been easier, and still earned him a paycheck. But he went above and beyond, and he challenged what a ‘normal’ class should be. He showed me that things don’t have to be ordinary. They truly can be extraordinary.
For anyone who might say, well you're just out of college, so wait until you’ve been in the real world a while, I’d say to you that I already am. I have been fortunate to find a boss who is open-minded to new ideas and routinely asks how we can make things more effective, cost efficient and creative. If you don’t have leadership like this, don’t give up. Do your part, and inspire those around you to do the same. It will all come full circle; you just have to believe in the extraordinary.
For an hilariously inspiring example of leadership, and the future of it, I encourage you to watch the following video:
Contributed by Ashley Hudson.