Friday, 16 January 2015

Are You The Embodiment of Student Leadership?



Student Leadership is something that we've explored a number of times on YouAlberta, and you shouldn't be surprised by the fact that it's a topic that we're going to continue to revisit. And why are we going to revisit it? Because you dear student reader are awesome, and we like to celebrate the things that you do. 

And just in case any of you are reading this and are thinking "well, I'm pretty okay, but I wouldn't call myself a leader" let me stop you and remind you that positional leadership isn't the only hallmark of a leader - nope, instead leadership is all about embracing and supporting one another. It's about looking beyond what's good for you and seeing how your actions can help make things a little easier for those around you. So before I start quizzing you, I want to show you an example of how things should work. 

Step 1: Find a friend or a peer or a classmate, or a workmate, etc. Basically, find someone who has interacted with you enough to get to know you.


Step 2: Ask them to answer the questions with you in mind.


In our example (which will be checking to see how Alberta Student Leadership Summit committee members Chelsea and Eric fair), Kaz Haykowsky will be the lucky guy answering the questions.

Step 3: Actually have them answer the questions and share their answer with you.


Example (Where all answers have been provided by Kaz.)

1) How self-aware is ________?

I think Chelsea is very self-aware and often takes the time to reflect on and appraise her actions, interactions and conversations. I get the impression that a personal narrative is an important part of how she comports herself professionally and personally, which makes her more accountable to her objectives. 

I would say that Eric is self-aware mostly when he consciously applies himself to it, but I can see that understanding of self is important to him based on his habits of reflection. When he’s not focusing on it he is pretty un-self-conscious and not too harshly judgemental of himself, which I think makes him better able to get things done in a non-judgemental way. 

2) How does ________ embrace diversity?

Eric and Chelsea both understand the importance of diversity for the health of any system or community. In considering an office community, a team or a new student group, they both see the need for many different options and perspectives so that every person and need has ample space.

3) How would you describe ___________'s problem solving and collaboration style?

My sense is that Eric likes to solve problems in a bit more of a methodical and well-informed way. He does his research and knows when and where to look for expert advice and assistance on his initiatives. 

I think Chelsea is more of a collaborative and conversational problem solver who likes to talk through challenges. That being said, she can also take on a problem very directly, independently and without distraction.

4) How well does ________ approach controversy with civility?

In spite of the frustration a disagreement might cause him, Eric is always open to a personal discussion to work through a disagreement. I would say that he is willing to find compromise whenever possible, but has no fear of referring to policy or precedent should that become challenging. 

Chelsea can be civil almost to a fault in the face of disagreement. She always makes time to see the other perspective and even if the other party is being unreasonable she seems to find empathy for their situation. 

5) How empathetic is _________?

I would say that both of them have a lot of empathy for the situations and challenges of those they work with and for. They are always very open and compromising in the face of adversity, but they understand that they serve a broad community of interests and this compromise cannot hinder the baseline delivery of their work.

6) How committed to action is ________?

Both Eric and Chelsea are very ‘action oriented’. They often take up leadership roles on committees, are decisive in charting and following a course, and prefer to take concrete steps towards attainable goals rather then entertain whimsical and far-fetched ideas that may arise from discussion within their circles. 

7) How well does ________ meet the needs of EVERYONE that they work with? (i.e. how do they ethically engage and display citizenship?)

They both make plenty of time for collaboration, conversation, fun and personal expression in the office. They definitely appreciate the varying working styles and needs of those around them and are very supportive and open in communication. 

8) What’s inspiring about __________?


Eric’s positivity, humility and whimsical energy are definitely inspiring around the workplace. He invites a lot of openness and conversation and makes a lot of space for the expression of his peers. 


Chelsea’s work ethic and action are most inspiring. She takes on a lot of work for many different parties as well as her personal goals, and invests as much of herself in them as she can. She never seems very daunted by a new challenge or situation. 


Alright, so now it's your turn. Share this quiz with your friends and find out how you embody the soul of a student leader. And just in case you're wondering, no there are no "right" answers and no "wrong" ones. This is one of those self reflection exercises that takes a little more thought and effort, but I promise you that it should be worth it to learn how much you matter to those around you.

The Student Leadership Quiz


1) How self-aware is ________?


2) How does ________ embrace diversity?


3) How would you describe ___________'s problem solving and collaboration style?


4) How well does ________ approach controversy with civility?


5) How empathetic is _________?


6) How committed to action is ________?


7) How well does ________ meet the needs of EVERYONE that they work with? (i.e. how do they ethically engage and display citizenship?)


8) What’s inspiring about __________?


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