Manufacturing Engineering Intern at Textron Systems, Miami University Graduate 2017, member of cohort 4 of the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute
Focusing on how the most influential people have made their differences and how we can do the same.
Why is it that some people are able to achieve that which seems to be impossible? Why is it that Susan B Anthony led the women’s rights movement? She wasn’t the only woman suffering, why her? Why is it that Bill Gates created Microsoft? Surely there were others who were just as qualified and had access to the same resources as him? So why is it that some people become great leaders?
All of these inspiring leaders have one thing in common. They all act and communicate the same way. They focus on the why—they focus on their purpose, they focus on the cause that drives them. Most people tend to focus on the what and the how. The more basic principles. The thing is though, people aren’t inspired by the what or the how. They are inspired by the why. People want to do business with people who believe what they believe. Like Simon Sinek says “People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it”
Because we have not been taught to think this way, we need to change our thinking, we need to change our approach. We need to transform ourselves so that we can become great leaders.
Today I am going to be talking to you about transformational leadership. Now what is transformational leadership? Transformational leadership is a style of leadership where a leader works to identify needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group.
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a program that focuses on transformational leadership. This program is the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute at Miami University, and it is the only college program of its kind. This program has redefined my approach to leadership and has helped me with significant personal growth.
The Lockheed Martin Leadership is geared towards students in the College of engineering and computing. This is because less engineers are finding themselves in leadership positions in industry as they are being replaced by professional business managers. It is not that engineers don’t make for great leaders. In fact they possess many traits that make for good leaders. Such as qualities being like detail oriented and analytical. They take risks but calculated ones. They possess, and they possess the technical knowledge of how the product that their company makes works. This is evidenced by the fact that 20% of Fortune 500 CEOs have a degree in engineering. This is more than a mere coincidence. Engineers can make great leaders if they are given the opportunity.
The Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute recognizes this and is taking a proactive approach to develop the leadership ability of young engineering and computing students. The Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute is a three-year certificate program that selected students enter into in their sophomore year. Every semester cohort members enroll in a course aimed at developing a different facet of leadership—in their first year: per, personal, second: people, and final third year: strategic. These courses are then supplemented with books like Emotional intelligence written by Daniel Goleman. Also, outside speakers are brought in like Jeff Wilcox the VP of engineering for Lockheed Martin or Nicole Smith a project manager at NASA to speak with cohort members and share their learnings and struggles that they have encountered along the way. This then gives students a chance to ask questions and gain insights to better prepare themselves for the situations they may face in the future.
Once a member of the Institute, one of the first aspects of leadership that we focus on is personal leadership. Meaning we spend a lot of time getting to really know ourselves. One of the first things we do is to take the Myers Briggs type indicator to learn what our personality type is. We do an in depth analysis of what each of our strengths and weaknesses are. We learn about why we act the way we do in certain situations. And this analysis of ourselves lays the foundation for leadership development. How can you expect to lead others if you don’t know yourself?
Another take away from this experience was learning about other personality types. This is important because it teaches us how to better interact with others and use what motivates them, how they think, how to, how they think in order to connect with them. This awareness of oneself and others is part of a concept known as emotional intelligence. Studies show that it is far more important for a leader to have a high emotional intelligence rather than a high IQ. After a certain point, the level of ones technical knowledge as it relates to leadership becomes irrelevant. This is why the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute devotes a lot of time to developing the emotional intelligence, or EQ, of its members.
So what is EQ? Well, it is made up of 5 different elements.
First, Self awareness—understanding ones emotions
2 Self regulation –being able to control these emotions and impulses
3 people, uh, 3 Motivation—people with high EQ are productive and like challenges
4 Empathy—understanding the needs, wants, and viewpoints of those around them.
And finally, 5 social skills—the ability to manage disputes, be great at communicating, and be able to persuade and compromise.
The Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute not only teaches its members about EQ but has us evaluate our own emotional intelligence and develop action plans for how to improve the areas that need development. In addition to reflecting upon these skills we spend a great deal of time trying to figure out what our individual purpose is. We are taught to think about the big picture not just about today or later this week. But 5, 10, even 15 years down the road. Teaching us the importance of planning ahead and having a vision.
From my time in the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute I have learned a lot about who I am as a person and what I want to get out of my career and life. It has been the most transformative experience that I have had. I encourage you all to go out and start having yours. Whether that be picking up a book or taking an assessment online.
Categories | Inside the Institute
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