What does leadership actually mean?

Leadership – what a buzzword. It’s a skill you might list on your resume, but what does it actually mean? Ask five different people, and I can almost guarantee that you will get five different answers. Maybe they will point to similar traits of a leader – integrity, determination, competitiveness, courage. Then again, perhaps they won’t. Someone else might say charisma, empathy, and self-control – all of which could oppose the other traits listed. You see, while we talk about this grand concept of “leadership,” we also know that it can vary based on the person. We likely will all identify Greta Thunberg, Jeff Bezos, and Angela Merkel as leaders. However, their values and their personality characteristics certainly differ. So what does leadership mean? How do you develop leadership as a skill? I invite you to come find out.

You recently received an email introducing you to the LeaderShape Institute. As explained, the Institute is a four-day immersive retreat focused on leadership development. It’s not a standard leadership retreat, though. The unique thing about LeaderShape is that it embraces the idea that leadership is not any one thing or that you have to hold a particular position or title to be a leader. At the Institute, you will take self-assessments to identify your leadership strengths and characteristics. You will participate in team-building challenges to experience the benefits of trust in relationships. You will work with a small group of other students and a mentor to discuss your values and reflect on your priorities. And, throughout the entire process, you will develop a vision – a bold change for the future in your community, group, cause, or organization back home.

Ultimately, leadership is about impact – how you generate that impact and where you want it to occur is up to you. The choices you make every day could be demonstrating your leadership skills, or they could be holding you back. The LeaderShape Institute is your opportunity to take time away from the routine and structure of life as a student to reflect on the decisions you are making, and perhaps, choose to lead boldly in a new direction.

LeaderShape this year will be held January 4-7th, 2022, at the Ford Center in Alberta, MI. Thanks to the support of donors, the program costs just $100 per student attendee – a cost that can be further subsidized by sponsorship here on campus. If you want to establish your definition of leadership, build confidence in the traits that make you a strong leader, and create a vision for the impact you want to have on the world – apply today: https://leadershape.org/Applications/Apply/3963.

Not ready for a week’s commitment? Come get acquainted with leadership here on campus in other ways! Throughout the academic year, Student Leadership and Involvement offers a rotating selection of leadership development opportunities – most notably, our HuskyLead series. There is still one event left for this semester! Join us tomorrow, November 16th at 4:00 PM in the MUB Superior Room to learn about the Campus Resources You’re NOT Using and check back soon to our HuskyLEAD webpage for a complete list of our spring events.