Mechanical engineering student at Miami University. Cohort four member of the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute.
The aggravation of training puppy is similar to the difficulties of transformational leadership. Here’s how.
This is my puppy. His name is Henry. He’s very cute and very, very frustrating. I don’t know if you’ve ever trained a puppy, but it is stressful, for both you and him. You ask him to sit he jumps on you; you tell him to chew his toy but he prefers the couch. He wants to stay young and carefree and you want him to mature and grow up.
Transformational leadership can be equally as frustrating. However, just as a puppy doesn’t grow up without the frustrations of training, a person does not transform into a leader without the frustrations of the real world.
Unfortunately, creating the real world frustrations of middle management years is rarely done for college-aged students. However, Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute incorporates those real world frustrations, along side of speakers, books, and weekly classes, to not only teach college students what leadership is, but also how to incorporate it in the real world.
We begin our first year with the Myers Briggs personality test. This test reveals to us our natural state, or the state we will go back to in times of stress. We learn about our unconscious biases and work on not allowing those internal biases to control our decisions. In short, we try to emphasize our strengths and improve our weaknesses.
Our second year is focused on working together in teams and not just groups. Teams trust each other and rely on each other while working together to accomplish a common goa. On the other hand, groups work individually and have individual motivations. Developing our own podcast company helped us practice working in teams. We learned through hands on experience how to work with different personalities and what strengths we each have that helped, that help us succeed as a team. This can be the most frustrating experience a college student has to face but it is worth it for the lessons that it teaches. This year we also learn about our saboteurs. Saboteurs are the characteristics in each of us that derail us from reaching our purpose and our true potential.
Our final year focuses on strategic leadership and learning to not, and learning to look into the future. We focus on putting the good of the company ahead of our own good. We talk about what motivates us, both intrinsically and extrinsically, and how we can use these motivations to inspire us, while still keeping the good of the company at the forefront. Finally, we work on expanding our cultural awareness in hopes of becoming more inclusive to all those we may lead.
When I began this three year journey, I lacked the confidence and courage to follow my own arrow. Although a strength of mine is empathy, my saboteur is the pleaser. What this means is that my empathetic pendulum tends to swing too far to one side. Sometimes I put the opinions of others above my own opinions and I begin to ignore my own wants and purpose and try to make others happy instead.
Each year we work on our saboteurs by being aware of them and working to overcome them. We take online courses, have weekly class discussions, read books, and listen to speakers. But what is truly amazing, and what sets Lockheed Martin Leadership apart is that we don’t just learn abstractly about our saboteurs. We don’t just sit around and talk about what ifs. We are thrown into real world experiences and forced to overcome our saboteurs, learn from our weaknesses, and build upon our strengths. This is where real growth comes from. Because, like my puppy, I don’t just learn by just talking. I have to go through the frustrations and struggles to truly grow.
My saboteur was a problem when I began this journey. I always knew I wanted a career in the construction industry; however, my parents wanted me to do automotive. To make them happy I took an internship close to home with an automotive company and I hated it. Years later I am happy to say I will be starting my career doing what I love in the construction industry. Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute taught me to have the courage to follow my own passion and purpose and to not just listen to what everyone else tells me.
Getting to where I am now, with the confidence and strength to overcome my weaknesses, was not an easy journey. Like my puppy who would rather chew the coffee table, there were times when I was frustrated and angry. But as I now watch him happily chew his toy in the corner I know that to go through these struggles is what really transformed me into the leader I am today. I can now say that I have the strength, the confidence, and the courage to follow my own passion and to do what I truly love.
Categories | Inside the Institute
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