Looking to the Future

Leadership development, education, skill building, and everything that goes into these, are never ending. There is always going to be s,  a new problem to solve, a new way to solve that problem, and new theory, a new book, a need teacher, a new friend, a complete stranger you will meet once and never see again….all who have something new to teach us.

Even our greatest and most influential leaders through history, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Queen Elizabeth II, President Donald Trump, if are truly great leaders would say they too had something more they could / can learn.

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As I get ready to graduate and move into the working field I go with a grain of salt and the reality that although I have worked so hard and leaned so much in my journey to where I am now,  I do not know everything and I am not prepared for everything life is about to toss my way.  However, I will take every adverse moment, and every auspicious moment and an opportunity to better myself.

I will be a leader at work, as I continue to more up at the Rite of Passage. I will be a leader at home, as I help guide my younger siblings, niece and nephew through life, I will be a leader in my community, as I continue volunteer work and educate others on my passion of reducing youth incarceration.

I will continue to grow, educate myself, develop my skills, and help others do the same. I take it as a civil responsibility to assist others when they need it, and allow them to help me when I do. Together we will develop leaders, of thinkers,  and diversity, we will build a community.

Current Event

March 6, 2017:  East Mississippi Correctional Facility, a privately owned facility in Meridian, Mississippi, a brutal beating of an inmate takes place during a lock down. Guards, who watched from a security camera, did not respond for over thirty minutes.

January 24, 2018: the Trump administration states they will begin using private prisons more often.

April 2, 2018: Warden Frank Shaw takes the stand stating “It’s the nature of prisons. It’s the nature of the beast.” when asked about inmate violence within the prison.

According to the Frank Shaw and the State of Mississippi, many of the issues such as violence neglect and suicide are universal in facilities and are due to the “inmates’ self-sabotage”.

If the people running the facilities do not even care, why should anyone else?

This trial has received little attention beyond local outlets, and this issue of mass incarceration has received little attention beyond political leaders empty promises to reduce the crime rate by locking people away.  Our leaders have responded to the issue of “crime” by centralizing it behind walls and turning a blind eye.

There is no leadership here.

It is unknown if anyone with the presidential administration has taken the time to critical review prison, jails and their true impact on the crime rate and what really takes place behind the walls, although if they did I would hope someone would speak out and say how using these facilities even more is not the answer this country needs.

This is unlikely to happen, so proper leadership needs to step up at lower levels, beginning with the guards and wardens. Proper training is needs for the guards to handle such situation. Wardens who care about reducing recidivism instead of money are needed to run the facilities.  There needs to e a working Transformation and Contingency  sense of leadership, an understanding that this is a different environment and that it is not universal among all facilities, and there is no universal best b]practice on how to lead under these conditions.

But what can we as individuals who may not work in a prison, not know anyone  locked up, or think we have no power, where do we begin? We start by voting, we start by sharing this story, we start by talking to a friend, or family member about this issue, because no one can do anything if they don’t even know it exists to begin with.

 

Below are the links to the articles concerning this trial. 

The New York Times: Inside a Private Prison: Blood Suicide and Poorly Paid Guards

Clarion Ledger: Park of the USA Today Network: Prison Conditions Trial: Mississippi Begins its Defense

https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2018/04/02/prison-conditions-trial-mississippi-begins-its-defense/480350002/

 

Diversity

There are not two people in this world who are exactly the same. Not even twins. People come in every shape, size, colors, speaking different languages, wearing different clothes, following different religions practicing different cultural customs, they learn differently, work differently, communicate differently. As a leader, this is one of the most important things you must realize, and if you are a good leader its important to accept it and learn how to work with all diverse people.

For example, one individual you can give simple oral instructions and they can complete the task, another must learn by doing, learns best when shown how to do it once; another employees fist language is French, their second language is English, these are situations you will come across as a leader. How will you handle them?

In recent history, in recent news, there is there is a lot of outrage against diversity. Every day there are YouTube videos popping up of people telling others to “go back to their own country” or “you’re in America, speak English”, this simply needs to change. A big part of that change can flow down river. When we have leaders, who will blatantly say racial slurs and publicly announce their dislike of an entire race, the people will follow. Of course the choice to show such disrespect, discrimination and violence is a personal choice and we as individuals must take account for our actions, yet the change we need right now  will begin at the top, when our leaders stop tolerating such discrimination, people will begin to follow.

Benefits – Yay or Nay?

There are qualities that are typically associated with a leader

Confidence | Passion

Integrity | Empathy

Accountability | Courage

Humility | Patience

First off, I would like to throw “confidence” right out the window, an individual does not need confidence to be a good leader, yes it may help, having said confidence may make leading easier, yet there are those who lead, yet don’t have the confidence in doing so, they doubt them selves, they often wonder why people would like to follow them, yet they are still great leaders.  However, I do believe these qualities are truth to some extent. “Passion”-it is important to have a passion for the work you are doing and more important to have passion for the people you are doing it for and with; without that, you may find yourself in a stale area of just working to get a terrible job done. “Humility” –  Be able to admit when you are wrong, when you need help, when you can’t do something. It is okay to be human.

It is a combination of characteristics and achievements that, I believe, assist in building the credibility of a  good leader.  the ability to be honest, have a positive attitude, trust in intuition, be influential and of course achieve the goals and task you have set out to achieve, are make a great leader. It is here we can defined and distinguished between a boss and a leader. One does not need such personable characteristics to achieve goals, to put a team on track and set out to do what they are meant to do, but with out them, do you think people would want to follow you? Do you think they would want to be happy and do good work under you?

Conversely,  there are those who have done great harm, who do not posses such qualities and characteristics, who have been defined as leaders. Hitler, Stalin, have been defined as great leaders, because despite their intentions, what they did, the harm they caused, they still motivated and united hundreds of thousands of people under one cause. They may not be a leader the world wants to see, or a leader that even should be leading or in a possession of power, yet they are still a leader.

Leadership Theory

Everyone has their own leadership style, some people may be more goal oriented, Path-Goal, while other focus on team dynamics, Relationship-Oriented.  Some people think leaders are simply born, Great Man Theory, while others believe leaders can be made and developed, Behavioral.

I, personally, prefer Situational Leadership, not every situation, team,  task or goal is the same and can not be treated the same. It is admirable when an individual can adopt multiple leadership styles and adapt those when needed.  Even though there are only a hand full of defined leadership theories, there are really an unlimited number of theories and styles, because there are no two people who are going to lead the exact same way. This is important to know and to keep in mind, as you learn about theory, and begin to develop your own. The above theories, and more that you will learn about, will not only help you become the leader you want to be, but also help you when you are the subroutine and someone else may be leading,  You can begin to identify the different traits in others and identify their leading style so you many better know how you can work with them, how you may work well together, or clash.

There is still a lot of work in leadership theory to do, as leadership in general is an ever developing field, and there always being something knew you can learn.  For future research, I think it would be interesting to look at the age leadership qualities begin to develop and the negative and positive effects youth face in schools and/or at home that impact them and develop them into a “good” or “bad” leader based on societal standards.

 

Strengths

Developer | Empathy | Restorative | Input | Belief

According to StrengthsQuest, these are my top five identifiable  strengths.  I believe what makes them part of my strengths, or why anyone can has certain strengths, is because a good portion of the time we don’t realize we are using them, they just come natural to us.

I started LEAD in fall 2016, transferring in as a junior and my definition of leadership was almost stone at the time.

“A person who can lead by example, work with a diverse group of individuals in achieving collective goals….”

My definition, two years ago, was along these line, except in longer format. I had just finished two years of AmeriCorps and had lead national FEMA teams in disasters, I thought what I knew was pretty solid, but I also know that there is always more to learn. Looking at it now, my definition was very goal oriented, and focused a lot on the leader themselves. But leadership is not about just the leader, and the leaders ability, leadership really involves the entire group.

Leadership involves not only working with a team to achieve a goal but it also involves being able to trust that team and rely on each of their strengths as well, being able to manage conflict, and adjust leadership styles when necessary.  These are a few things I have really learned during my time in LEAD.  The conflict management and recognizing strengths have been the two most influential workshops thus far. A year ago I started a new job and was promoted in September, I now run the night shift at work. I had never been in any kind of payed supervisory position before now and it has been quite the experience and as much as i thought i was ready, I wasn’t prepared for the amount of conflict I would have to manage, what I have learned in these workshops I have been able to take with me to work to help mitigate conflicts that arises between coworkers. Unfortunately, however, unlike our practice cases in the workshops, you can not help someone who does not want to be helped.

Despite the workshops and my identified strengths, however, everyone is different, with their own set of beliefs and values and this will alter each persons leadership style to their personality. A few strong beliefs of mine include dependability, honesty, family, and hard work. These effect the way I lead my team everyday,

 

 

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