The Lion King

04/15/2014

One of my favorite Disney movies as a child and still to this day is The Lion King. Although I absolutely loved all the Disney princesses from the other movies, The Lion King was completely different from the others which made it exciting to watch. As a 20 year old now, I still love watching The Lion King once in a while because I now pay attention to the morals, values and and life lessons that are in the movie which I completely overlooked as a kid (naturally). This Disney classic is completely based around leadership and actually gives examples of what good leadership looks like and what bad leadership looks like.

Mufasa, the king of the Pride lands and all the animals who lived there, was an amazing leader. He gained respect and trust from everyone and he made sure to protect every species that lived on the land. He believed that everyone should be treated equally, himself included.

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Scar, Mufasa’s younger brother, became the king after killing Mufasa and threatening his nephew Simba out of the Pride lands. Scar was showed terrible leadership, to say the least. He took away everything from all of the other animals and didn’t care about anyone but himself. Scar was destroying the Pride lands with his power and ego.

Simba, Mufasa’s son, at first showed bad leadership. He ran away from Pride rock as soon as things got bad, whereas a good leader would have stood up for himself and the other animals by facing the problem (Scar) in order to make things better. Simba was told by Scar that Simba was the reason why Mufasa had died, and he believed him. All he needed was some inspiration and guidance, which he got from a family friend Rafiki.

Raffiki’s lesson:

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After Simba thought about what Rafiki told him, he knew that he had to go back to the Pride lands and make things right for himself and for all of the animals there. When Simba went back to Pride rock, everyone was surprised and confused because they thought that he was dead. After getting rid of Scar and the hyenas, Simba apologized to everyone and took his place at King. He ended up becoming a great leader after fixing his mistakes.

The Lion King certainly does have many leadership lessons. Believing in yourself and inspiring others is my favorite lesson that I get from this movie. What leadership lesson influences you the most from The Lion King? Let me know!

Leadership vs. Management

04/07/2015

Some may think that being a manager for a company means that they are a leader automatically, but it takes determination to be a manager with great leadership skills. Managers assign tasks to their staff and expect those tasks to get done without question. Leaders assign tasks and define a purpose for those tasks to get done. An article that I came across from The Wall Street Journal called “What is the Difference Between Management and Leadership?” gave a list of what managers and leaders do differently. Here are the points from the article:

1. The manager maintains; the leader develops.

2. The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.

3. The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.

4. The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.

5. The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.

6. The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.

7. The manager imitates; the leader originates.

8. The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.

9. The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.

10. The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.

Good leaders are constantly trying to inspire others to do their best, and then continue to do even better. Leadership is based off of relationships with people, trust, determination, overcoming challenges, communication and much more that many managers barely even think about. Being a “manager” is a title, being a “leader” is a lifestyle.

I found a video clip that you can watch here that I found inspiring. Pat Cormier and John Kotter discuss that all employees need to think like leaders and start taking the initiative to help their company grow. Just because you aren’t a manager does not mean that you cannot be a leader, and just because you are a manager doesn’t make you a leader either. You’re choices are what determines your path in leadership. Cormier stated, “Leadership isn’t about position. It’s about how you behave and how you act.” If all employees of businesses and companies stopped going to their managers and bosses with problems asking them for a solution, and started approaching them with the issue AND a possible solution, then those businesses would be much more successful. Think about your decisions and how they could effect your future as a potential leader.

An Amazing Leader

04/07/2015

Audrey Hepburn has always been one of my role models. She is mostly known for being a beautiful fashion icon and actress of the 20th century. Audrey was a very strong woman who endured Word War II when she was young and pulled herself up with her passion for dancing. With hard work and determination to be successful, she became famous. Her life story is absolutely inspiring, and even in her later years she showed outstanding leadership. Audrey was a selfless individual and wanted to help children in need so she became the ambassador for the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and traveled to over 20 countries to assist them.

 

One of Audrey Hepburn’s famous quotes that I am absolutely in love with is:

“As you get older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and one for helping others.”

She had such a kind heart and genuinely wanted to help everyone that she could who didn’t have the best lives. Audrey has shown me that great leadership comes a passion that you have for something. In order to be a outstanding leader, you have to put your whole heart into what you are trying to accomplish. Audrey Hepburn based much of her life around UNICEF and even created a website to share more information and to receive donations for the children in third world countries that you can find by clicking on Audrey Hepburn Society.

Leadership is Everywhere

04/02/2015

Leadership is literally everywhere. You can choose to be a leader anytime and anywhere. Most of the time when people think of leaders, the first to come to mind are people like Martin Luther King Jr., the President of the United States, and Neil Armstrong because they have done incredible things in their lives that they are well known for. They were and are amazing leaders, but there are many more leaders in our world then you probably think. You could show great leadership by giving someone advice, holding the door for a group of people, volunteering to better your community, or even starting a club on your college campus. Leadership is based off small acts of kindness and responsibility. Many people overlook the little things that they or other people do and only reward those who have done outstanding things.

Drew Dudley talks about his thoughts on everyday leadership in this video clip:

Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership 

His story was very inspiring and was a great example of how your daily actions could really effect someone else’s life. Others could look to you as an amazing leader and you may not even know it right now. Leadership is all about choices and how you decide to live your life. Be aware of your actions ever single day because you never know whose life you could impact that day.

Vons

03/29/2015

I’ve worked at Vons for almost two years now. I started as a sales associate in both the fashion and beads departments and was promoted to fashion department manager about a year ago. Vons is a store in West Lafayette that has several departments such as books, records, beads, rocks, bugs, and fashion. Although I’ve enjoyed working at Vons during my time at Purdue, the owner has taught me what bad leadership is like, rather than good leadership. I’m not here to bad mouth John VonErdmannsdorf, but the way he manages his company is not something that I would consider a goof form of leadership.

When John has an issue with one of his employees, he does not utilize the chain of command, but rather writes a letter directly to the person with his issues and puts it in their work mailbox. It is a very old fashioned approach. This tactic has made employees angry because he only allows one-way communication within his business and does not listen to or respect the opinions and thoughts of his workers. This makes the employees feel uneasy and the trust between them and John have weakened because of his actions.

A good leader would take the time to discuss the issues with the employee and listen to what they have to say in order to create a solution. He doesn’t come to me, one of his managers, to discuss problems either which I find odd and almost insulting. In order to show good leadership, you need to make your team feel worthy of your time and respected. Building good relationships with your team is very important when trying to run a successful business.

Another form of bad leadership that John has shown is that he won’t communicate what he expects from us to be done in the store, but then will complain that we aren’t doing anything right. A good leader communicates with their team and makes sure that they have a clear understanding of the expectations the leader has of them. Vons would be much more successful if there was more structure and overall better leadership from our “CEO”. Any team will succeed as long as they have a good leader and all have the same understanding on how to achieve their goals.

Inspired.

03/19/2015

After writing my last blog on The Pursuit of Happyness, I became inspired and decided to research more on Will Smith. He gives absolutely incredible advice on how to be a successful leader and how to truly make a positive impact on your own life and on other lives as well. I found this awesome website that took me to a mash-up video and an article called 8 Secrets to Success From the Perspective of Will Smith.

One thing that Will Smith shared in the video that I found really interesting was a piece of his childhood. His father tore down a brick wall on the front of his business one summer and told twelve year old Will along with his nine year old brother at the time to rebuild it. Will and his brother told their father that rebuilding the wall would be impossible, but a year and a half later the new wall was complete. The lesson behind this was to never say you can’t do something without trying first, and trying again. Even if your goal will take a while to achieve, you should work as hard as possible towards it anyway because time will move whether you are working hard or not at all.


The 8 “secrets” to success that Will Smith shared with us is this:

1. Greatness is a matter of choice

-Life is all about choices. You can chose to be great or you can chose not to be. It’s that simple.

2. Believe to achieve

-In order to achieve anything in life, you have to believe that you can do it because if you don’t believe in yourself, then who will?

3. Talent is overrated

-Talent means nothing without skill. You can have the greatest talent in the world, but if you don’t work hard and try to better yourself, then there is nothing truly there.

4. Don’t over complicate things

-By over complicating things, you give yourself the opportunity to make up excuses for why something can’t be done. If you look at things more simply, you can put forth your best work each day and eventually the overall goal will be achieved successfully.

5. Where you are doesn’t matter

-Where you are now in life does not matter, it’s where you are going that is important.

6. Focus on making a difference

-You need to focus on making a difference in someones life, otherwise you’ll lose motivation over time to be the best you can be.

7. Nothing is unrealistic

-Thinking realistically will hinder innovation and growth.

8. Our thoughts are physical in the universe

-Take the universe and make it what you want it to be, decide who you want to be, and go for it.

The Pursuit of Happyness

03/18/2015

If you’ve never seen the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, then I highly recommend that you take time out of your schedule to watch it. I promise you that even after watching the trailer that I provided for you in the title of the film just now, you will feel inspired. Famous actor, Will Smith, plays lead role as Chris Gardner who is doing his best to successfully raise his son while working on making a better life for the both of them. Throughout the film, Chris Gardner portrays amazing leadership skills by gaining trust, staying positive, and never giving up. One quote that I found very powerful and encouraging was this:Will Smith

Basically, people are going to disagree with you sometimes, tell you that you’re going to fail, and try to tear you down. Use those judgments to your advantage and let it be your motivation to prove everyone who has ever doubted you that they were wrong about you. If you have a goal that you want to achieve, don’t let anyone get in the way of that. When people try to take something away from you, whether it be a dream, goal, or your happiness, that just shows that they have insecurities. Don’t let their insecurities interrupt your path to success. Good leaders push their way through hardships and criticism in order to reach their accomplishments. Good leaders also utilize that criticism and learn from it in order to reach a higher success. If you want to succeed as much as you breathe, THAT is when you will truly be successful. Leadership is based on one thing, and that is YOU. Do you have what it takes?