Friday, January 24, 2014

The Me I Always Wanted to Be

What words or phrases would you most like to hear others say about you?
That I was smart, caring, passionate, hard working, never gave up, and was always kind to other even if I didn't know them.

How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as an intelligent person who was always trying his best to be better and always wanting to be the best he could be. I want to be remembered as someone who never gave up and was always a friend and a source of support for others.

What descriptions would make you feel proudest?
-Hard Working

Oliver Sherren was a hard working individual who always gave his all and never stopped trying his best. He was an intelligent and fun young man who always had something on his mind or was calculating a way to solve a problem. His love of people always had him talking with others and interacting while at the same time maintaining a high standard for himself, always standing up for who he was and what he believed in. He was always happy and looking for opportunities to help others and be a good friend.

How My View of Leadership Has Changed

Before this course, I had always thought of leaders as the popular people. The geniuses. The top of their class. I had always believed that was the case because that's been the environment I've been raised in. School always had the popular kids and the smartest of the smart leading activities and projects. It was depressing because I knew that I would never be as popular, or athletic, or as great at school as the other kids were but through this course I have come to realize that those traits don't determine who is a leader, that those traits exist now because that's the only frame of reference we as high schooners have been given, but through this course I know realize the other factors that determine leadership in the real world and what traits are necessary to truly shine in ones field or profession.

While being well liked is a trait that is almost required to be an effective leader, it doesn't have to be in the form of the popularity contests that exist for class presidents in high school. In fact, the system on a whole for becoming a leader is entirely dependent on ones ability to reach out and meet people and friend them. That is key. A leader should have followers. But the key word is should, leaders can still lead if they are standing up for what they believe in, even though it might be unpopular. In most cases, however, there is a large need for a group of followers that have the same beliefs or that just believe in your dream. Leadership to me now means less about the person and more about the idea.

Community Leader Questions

I will be asking these essential questions to the community leader I chose:

1. What leadership trait sticks out to you the most?
2. What one lesson or phrase would you want other people to hear or follow?
3. Is having multiple leaders a problem?
4. Have you ever been in a conflict with another leader? If so how would you want that to play out?
5. What is success?

The information about the leader I chose is on the blog about the interview, his name is Adrian and he is the team supervisor at Staples.

Community Leader Interview

When deciding what leader I wanted to interview for this blog post, a various number of individuals came to mind. Whether it be my family friend who is owns a patent law firm or a church friend who is in charge of teaching essential leadership skills in his company. I settled on my team supervisor, someone I'm almost in daily contact with and someone that has really showed true traits of leadership.

But just a little background on him first. His name is Adrian, and his job in the company is to turn around decaying stores and revive them. He has been with the company for years and is the most hard working and responsible supervisor in the Texas division of Staples. The main thing he does is help motivates other employees to succeed and also to look at management skills and see how he can change the store and make it physically and mentally a better store for customers and employees a like.

The first thing I asked him was what trait stuck out to him the most. He said being responsible. In his line of work, responsibility is the most important trait because without any responsibility, the entire system collapses and no one is accountable for the work that's being done. A manager needs to be someone that gets the work done while at the same time being able to motivate the employees underneath him. That's what he said was the second most important trait, motivation and inspiration. If he is the only one with a vision and a dream for the store and is unable to motivate anyone or inspire anyone, then he is alone and will kick against unmotivated employees until they are replaced or are also motivated. He isn't afraid to tell his associates that if they can't be responsible, there's the door.

The next thing I asked was if there was one lesson or phrase that inspires you or that you would want other people to hear, what would it be? He laughed and said a wise person once told me that excuses are stepping stones for failure. That's what I would want people to hear. Occasionally over the headsets, you can hear him give a quote when an associate is complaining. 10 times out of 10 its that one.

I asked him later in the day if having multiple supervisors and managers impeded success and he said sometimes it can because everyone has their own leadership style. But, if one manager is more carefree and not as intense as another then work won't get done and than associates will get too comfortable with an easy going manager. He said that sometimes multiple leaders can be frustrating and can have the reverse effect on a store, leading to lazy and sloppy employees. I then asked if he had ever had conflict with other managers and how the employees and him handled that situation. Luckily, he had never had any conflicts with any other managers but said that the manager who is more successful will always have more followers.

The final question I asked Adrian was, how would you define success. He said that success in measured in how much time and energy someone put into what they wanted to succeed in. Passion was the most important thing to him.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Leaders Born or Made?

The question of whether people are born with certain traits or learn certain traits has deep historic roots. It started with Aristotle, asking whether the mind was a tabula rosa, or blank slate, and whether we are all born with this tabula rosa or whether we have acquired these traits before we were born. The qualities and traits of leaders are exactly the same and the historic question of these traits being heritable or acquired is a question that still draws much debate in scholastic circles. But, when we look at who our leaders are today, the majority of them served as followers before they became leaders, slowly working themselves up into the leadership position that they are in today. These traits are acquired because if leaders were born, then learning about leadership traits and trying to become a leader is effectively worthless. If we are not born a leader than surely we will never become leader if we operate under the framework of leaders being born. Leaders have to first learn how they can lead before leading.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Personal Best

I have had the opportunity to lead in a variety of settings. Whether it be in my Boy Scout Troop, Church calling, or even at school. But the one area in which I have been able to shine as a leader is in the group of my online friends. We meet in a program called Team Speak, where we chat with one another. We all play the same video game and we have a rigid leadership structure. So whenever we play together, we know who to follow, who gives commands, and who we should listen to. In this specific game, it is very easy to get lost in the storm of voice that washes of the communication channels. Our outfit, however is one of the most organized outfit in the game. The generals in our outfit, including me, are able to navigate the other outfits high commands and successfully increase cooperation on the game. Being able to control a group of people in a combat centered video game is extremely difficult because the only communication we have is either the in game chat, or Team Speak. In the game, there are alerts where our faction has to scramble to capture areas, defend areas, and effectively use resources to defend from enemy vehicles and other online players. I have been the squad and platoon leader in many of these instances and I have had to control what vehicles we use, where to send our troops, and how to communicate with our friends. I have learned that a leader cannot be demanding, but gentle, that a leader has to effectively communicate his or her idea to make anything happen but perhaps most importantly is that a leader has to be personable.