Becoming a Leader

Silver Linings MBA

Most students blog about their successes but I’m going to share with you an experience about my failure as a leader. Prior to business school whenever I had the opportunity to lead I felt as though I had to have everything under my control, that the successes and failures of the group were solely my responsibility. How naïve. First of all, it was naïve to believe I could control for all factors. Second of all, I was naïve in thinking that a team’s success was based on a single person. The word “team” should have been the first indicator.

Individual and Group dynamics. Not only is it a core class that first years will take in Spring quarter but it’s also something GSMers must consider in their day to day lives as future leaders. Having led an Admit Day and coordinated a speaking event with the VP of global marketing for The North Face I’ve had my opportunities for leading groups this year.

Most students will come into the program with some level of leadership and will certainly lead groups while attending the GSM but it’s insightful knowing how exactly your actions as a leader motivate a team.

When I was a lead for planning a speaker event this year I went into my default style of leadership and required everyone on the team to follow my strict orders. As I learned in group dynamics class, I was being a “directive” leader. I hounded the group, wanting to know the breakdown of exactly what they were planning and what they had already accomplished. Timelines were required for even the most minuscule of tasks. What I should have done was “empower” everyone on the project. I had completely neglected the fact that the task force was composed of the most capable people at the GSM. They were All-Stars at their respective companies and I was treating them like individuals who have never had a project assigned to them. In a way I was disrespecting their competencies; I was indicating that I didn’t trust them to handle simple tasks. In that way, I failed as a leader.

I won’t be making that mistake again.

Luckily, these are fixable attributes and I make it my mission to become a stronger and more effective leader for future projects.