YOUR LDP EXPERIENCE
Every student who participates in our Leadership Development Program reaches different outcomes—which is by design. Our program is intended to provide a process that can be tailored to your personal style and goals. Here are actual examples of what student outcomes can look like:
I totally stress myself out. As part of the Leadership Development Program, I spent my first year learning how to manage my stress level better and building techniques to help me manage through the stress. With the help of the Leadership Development Program and my shared approach group, I learned that there were three things I always had to do each week in order to help me better manage my stress–exercise, do something social with people outside of Owen and getting what’s in my head out on paper. I also gained insight into my “tells” or warning signs that my stress levels were elevating so that I could be more proactive versus reactive in how I manage my stress, which I continued to do throughout my second year and am now doing as I start my new job.
Find My Voice
I don’t speak up. My fear of saying something stupid, being wrong, or lacking confidence as compared to the other “experts” in my classes kept me from raising my hand or contributing to my full potential. I was challenged by my coach to raise my hand at least one time a week in class as a starting point. And, then, as I grew in confidence, it grew to once per class. I asked a friend in class to hold me accountable. I also asked my team members to hold me accountable to speaking up in group meetings. This helped me grow my confidence, find my voice and, ultimately, get over the fear of being wrong. I was just recently named the CEO of a financial services organization.
Tame the Self-Critic
I’m really hard on myself. I ignore good feedback and focus only on the negative. The very first thing I was told to do for homework was to write down three things I did well every day. It sounded ridiculous to me, but I agreed to do it for two weeks. At first, I wrote things like, “I walked my dog today” and “I took out the garbage” as it was very hard to recognize and acknowledge my strengths. But after two weeks, the items in my log started to have more meaning. Things like “I was able to clearly articulate my thoughts during the marketing presentation” and “I received an SP on the strategy homework” started to surface. The positives started to calibrate and even out my negatives, which gave me more confidence. I have now started my full-time consulting job and continue to write in my journal every day.
During the course of my coaching conversations, I realized that I have a tendency to write people off who I assume are stupid or don’t add value. The feedback I got was that my quick judgments of people were felt by those around me, which affected my ability to work effectively in teams. So, I worked hard to suspend judgment and give people the benefit of the doubt. I learned to “take a back seat” from time to time during team meetings to allow my teammates to lead and contribute. I quickly learned that the others on the team were more capable than I thought they were and that I had been making snap judgments that weren’t always right. I also realized that the outcomes of the team were better than if I’d done it alone AND that I ended up with less work to do when I relied on others more and wasn’t taking everything on myself.
Manage Through Conflict
I HATE conflict!! As a result, I’ll back down in a team meeting if people don’t agree with my idea, even if I know I’m right. I avoid delivering a tough message or feedback, even if it needs saying as I don’t want to make anyone mad. I realized through the course of the Leadership Development Program that what I viewed as conflict wasn’t always really conflict to everyone else. My coach had me observe what situations existed when I found myself holding back or avoiding a difficult conversation. I was able to better understand my tendencies and be more intentional about speaking up and stepping into those situations. Funny thing was, after about one to two times, I realized that no one got mad and the conflict I anticipated was only in my head, which made it easier to continue the new habit to great result.
The common theme for students with successful outcomes, regardless of the leadership topics they tackle is personal investment. You can do five key things to ensure that your expectations about your own development are met:
- Be open! In all of your conversations with the leadership development team and your coach. The more honest you are with yourself and transparent you are with your coach and the leadership development team the more you will learn and be able to grow, so don’t hold back.
- Be observant! Of your own actions/reactions to a situation, of others perceptions of you, and of what is going on around you when something isn’t going the way you would like on a team or in the classroom. In other words, listen and learn from every experience.
- Be committed! Not just to the coaching conversations but to taking action and driving change over the next two years. Development happens only if you are committed to doing something better or different.
- Speak up! If you aren’t finding value from the discussion, tell someone. The only way someone will know if you want to be pushed more, challenged less, or can’t tell where you’re going is if you let the person know.
- Stretch yourself! Take risks and be open to new ideas and trying new things. This is a safe environment so experiment – take chances, try new things, speak up more or speak up less depending on how you are wired, present even when you are afraid, put yourself in ambiguous situations, etc. Stretching will look different to each of you.