When I first came to Purdue University I had absolutely no idea what Greek life even was. My idea of a sorority was based off the movie Legally Blonde, and that wasn’t very becoming. The first week of freshman year, everyone on my floor of Owen Hall was running around looking at each other’s closets and seeing who was wearing what for Formal Recruitment that next week. I was curious about it all, and decided to rush in Formal Recruitment to see if it was something I’d like to pursue for the next four years. I’m now nearing the end of my junior year as a member of Delta Delta Delta and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
Greek life is nothing like Legally Blonde, for the record. It’s an organization made up of courageous and intelligent women who are trying to change the world. We have meetings at least once a week, attend events, raise money, host events, and all share our beliefs and values with each other. I’ve learned a lot about leadership during my years living in my sorority house believe it or not. When you live with 90 girls with completely different majors and personalities, it forces you to have an open mind about any situation coming at you.
Sophomore year I was elected Licensing Chairman for the house. I was in charge of designing all of our apparel and favors and making sure the girls got them on time. One thing that I learned quickly in this leadership position was that it is literally impossible to please absolutely everyone. I wanted more that anything to make everyone happy, but in the end I had to make the decision that would be most beneficial for the organization as a whole. I also learned that communication is the number one way to become a successful leader. Without communication in an organization, no one will end up happy and the organization with begin to fall apart.
Every successful organization shares a mission statement. Delta Delta Delta has it’s own purpose:
The purpose of Delta Delta Delta shall be to establish a perpetual bond of friendship among its members, to develop a stronger and more womanly character, to broaden the moral and intellectual life, and to assist its members in every possible way. It shall also be the purpose of Delta Delta Delta to promote and develop mutually beneficial relationships between the Fraternity and the colleges and universities where the Fraternity has established chapters, to develop qualities of unselfish leadership among its members, and to encourage them to assume, with integrity and devotion to moral and democratic principles, the highest responsibilities of college women.
“To develop qualities of unselfish leadership among its members” is the part of our purpose that impacts me the most. My house is consumed with women who show unselfish leadership constantly. Everyone who holds an officer position graciously communicates with the entire house and they do their best to accommodate everyone’s needs and wants when it comes to decision making. That is what makes me love being in this sorority so much. Showing unselfish leadership is exactly how to create a successful business.
The top priority for good leadership is to listen. Listening to others will only enhance your knowledge and outlook over different situations that could benefit your organization. I came across an article called Undercover Boss Exposes Lessons For Us All. Undercover boss is an amusing and insightful show based on leadership. CEOs and top management go undercover to the front lines of their business and gain an incredible amount of knowledge from their employees. In the article, they list five main lessons that Undercover Boss has covered:
1. Listen to your employees
2. Stay close to your customer
3. Get out of the ivory towers
4. Open opportunities for more lateral communication
5. Don’t forget your bottom line is about people
All of the lessons are concentrated on listening and keeping an open line of communication between everyone who makes up an organization. Listening to others will benefit the organization and help it grow stronger.
Yesterday in one of my classes, my professor showed us a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip that related to the class discussion. It was about life and success and was pretty inspiring for just being a comic strip. When I got home from class I decided to go online and Google more Calvin and Hobbes comics for fun and I came across this one…
“Live in the moment”. What a great motto to have, especially when living your life as a leader. Every second of your life is precious, don’t waste any time. Every choice you make has a consequence. Whatever you do, don’t let any opportunities pass you by. Being a leader means that you make each moment count and bring meaning to every experience that you face in life. If you don’t live in the moment and you are only looking into the future then you will miss important things in your life that you can never get back. Also, just like in the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, there is always a chance that your life could be cut short. Are you doing everything you can to make your life extraordinary? Just something to think about.
So I’ve never written a blog before, and I’m not exactly sure how this goes. To start off, I’m taking a leadership strategies class at Purdue University this semester (CSR309). If you ever had the luxury of taking the course, then you got to deal with Dr. Richard Feinberg at 7:30 am twice a week. To be honest, I was extremely intimidated on the first day of lecture because a friend of mine had taken it last semester and told me that Feinberg was an interesting character and the class was somewhat difficult. The second day of lecture, Feinberg sat in the very back of the room the entire hour and with great amusement watched all of us try to figure out what the task was that he wanted us to complete. Did I mention that he was tweeting about his thoughts the entire time?! That was an experience in itself.
As the weeks go on, I have found myself respecting Dr. Feinberg more and more as a professor. I’m not just saying that because he’ll be reading this blog, I’m just being honest. I’ve learned more from this class in just these short few weeks than I feel like I’ve ever learned in a classroom setting. CSR309 has made me more aware of my actions and has given me motivation to go above and beyond in everything that I do.
Feinberg’s strategy for teaching this course is to start as a TERRIBLE leader. It is our duty as students to figure out how to make him a better leader. A very unique way of teaching I must say…
Structure. That is what the class needs in order to help Feinberg become a better leader. Structure is extremely important in leadership because without it, what do you do next? Every successful business and company in the world is made up of structure. There are the working employees, then department managers, store managers, CEO, etc. In order to be a great leader for someone else, you have to first know how to lead yourself and also know what your goal is in leading them. Without followers, there are no leaders. CSR309 is considered a business establishment . Until we establish who our leaders and president are, the CEO (Feinberg) is unable to help us (working employees) succeed.
Many students think that Feinberg is a terrible professor. Those students don’t get it. As he always says, “THIS IS A LEADERSHIP COURSE” and “STOP WHINING AND FIGURE IT OUT”. Its true though. How do you expect to learn how to be a leader if you get everything handed to you? A leader figures things out one way or the other. You wouldn’t go up to the CEO of a large corporation and complain to them that you were unaware of the due date for something. HELL NO! So why would Feinberg let you complain to him? If he did, then you’d learn nothing.
You can’t be taught leadership. You have to figure it out for yourself.