Category Archives: Reading Responses

Blog response #2

The second video I watched relating to the topic of leadership discusses what the most important job of a leader is. The video states that being clear and giving your followers an easy to understand as well as see plan/vision is crucial in not only inspiring your followers. It also promotes mental health because there is no confusion or anxiety about what the goal or plan is. The video discusses constantly mentioning your vision in almost every interaction because it gives your followers a goal, as well as sense of purpose and they, are not aimlessly wandering around wondering what needs to be done. This will provide them not only with unity amongst themselves but will also make them gravitate towards the leader because he or she is clear, concise, and confident. Which are three crucial characteristics in order to be a great leader. If one is unsure of themselves or what their mission is their leaders will follow in suit and be discouraged. If you provide your followers with a clear goal and a path to get there they are much more willing to go the extra mile to get it done because it seems achievable.


Blog response #3

The second video I came upon discussed the importance of leadership in everyday life. Many people believe as though they are not leaders which then changes the definition of leadership or what a leader is. If you have the ability to influence someone or are influencing someone then you are a leader because someone is following you. However, that doesn’t make you a good leader. True leaders have the ability to develop a community of followers, a community of performers, and most importantly a community of leaders. In developing a community of leaders you inspire others to be better thus allowing them the ability to inspire others and making the people they surround themselves with better. A culture of leadership is where you grow and change that is where one becomes a true leader. Finally, the speaker delves into the difference between leadership in sports and business. He discusses how leadership is different in sports because you are playing with a set of rules and plays and whoever is better able to execute their plays will win. Whereas in business there is no such thing. People are constantly trying to undercut one another, outsell the other business, and he discusses how as a leader in a business setting one must be able to roll with the punches and be ready for change.


Blog Response #1

After looking through Ted-talk videos and searching youtube for videos on youtube I came upon a video called Derek Jeter on Leadership. Derek Jeter who is a retired professional baseball player is arguably one of if not the best leader in all of sports history. Mr. Jeter was almost unanimously voted into the Hall of Fame with a 99.7% approval rating. In his time in New York, he was extremely successful obtaining over 3,000 career hits, 14× All-Star (1998–2002, 2004, 2006–2012, 2014), 5× World Series champion (1996, 1998–2000, 2009), World Series MVP (2000), AL Rookie of the Year (1996), 5× Gold Glove Award (2004–2006, 2009–2010), 5× Silver Slugger Award (2006–2009, 2012), 2× AL Hank Aaron Award (2006, 2009), Roberto Clemente Award. Some of these awards are given to Jeter based upon his athletic abilities but others such as the Roberto Clemente award are given to the man who best represents baseball, sportsmanship, involvement within one’s community, and the contribution to the team. In his interview, he discusses the leadership qualities he used to lead the Yankees to five world series wins. He discusses how when in a position of leadership it is crucial to lead in the manner which feelest the truest to you whether that be by example, vocally, or both. Two other major takeaways I got from his interview was know who you are leading and don’t be superficial. If you stay true to one’s self people will naturally gravitate towards you and feel the authenticity in your actions and words. In addition, if you know the people in which you are leading you are better able to gauge what leadership style to use as well as how to communicate with your followers. Due to Mr. Jeter’s profound leadership skills, he was able to achieve one of the most successful careers in the history of Major League Baseball.



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The Ted talked titled “Leading with Laughter: The Power of Humor in Leadership” focuses on the direct relationship between leadership success and the ability to not take oneself too seriously. His talk begins with a story of how he believes he was able to keep a very fluid job position, and eventually get promoted in his industry. Working in a University administration, he knew that it would be necessary for him to go beyond just doing his job right, as any mistake could result in losing his position. Success at his job would require building connections in order to create benefits to himself beyond production. This simply makes coworkers more willing to accept mistakes and general humanness. To achieve this, the speaker went to a mall with many of his coworkers to spend the day. When at the mall, he claims to have accidentally used a womens bathroom before meeting back up with his coworkers. Rather than hiding what had happened, he chose to share the mistake with his coworkers, ready for them to laugh at him the remainder of the day. By building this connection with his coworkers, and simply making then laugh, he became seen as an asset simply for being well-liked.

The speaker continues to explain how  he observes an inverse relationship between how seriously leaders take themselves, and how seriously those they lead perceive them to be. Leaders often develop egos alongside certain positions, and fail to realize that feeling more important will not result in others seeing them as important. The opposite effect truly occurs, as it makes followers far more interested in criticizing even the slightest mistakes. Humor is an incredible tool for countering these effects. By making one’s followers laugh, one signals that they understand life just the same way as those they lead. Leaders don’t realize that those they lead often implicitly assume that leaders only care about the goals they set out to achieve, and don’t have an understanding of, or care for, their followers emotions. By making those one leads laugh, one also makes their followers less afraid of error, making them more creative, and generally more productive. Laughing puts everyone on the same page, and is an extremely useful tool for leaders.

Thinking of this concept, I cannot help but judge many of the political leaders of the current era, as well as many of the contradictory traits people seek out in leaders. Americans commonly like when their leaders “project strength”, yet strength often comes with the horrible side effect of an indestructible ego. Leaders often take themselves more seriously than necessary, and do not admit their true faults. If presidents were to explain their ideas through cost/benefit analysis, analyzing the pros and cons of their plans, and recognizing their human limitations, they’d receive far better responses to their messages. The ability to make the people laugh can also go an extremely long way for citizen outreach, yet many leaders criticize jokes made by politicians as a lack of seriousness. The speaker in this Ted talk suggests that this often criticized lack of seriousness could benefit the people. Leaders ought to try and make those they lead laugh more, as it seems as though it would only yield positive responses.


Outside Event – TedTalk: Tribal Leadership

This tedtalk takes a really interesting focus at low level, or tribal, leadership. The speaker David Logan makes the really interesting point that based off the tribal level you can get a far better idea of the total group is thinking. He cites a really interesting example of ‘councils’ meeting during the Super Bowl in the form of Super Bowl parties. By surveying those parties on which candidate they were going to choose in the 2008 Democratic Primary, they found despite polling saying that Hillary had a strong lead, that the people at these parties tended to rally around Obama instead. This at least suggests that by looking at the lower level and at small tribal groups, we could get a much better idea at how decisions are actually made.

The speaker than went on to describe five different stages of tribes. The first one is the most dangerous, where people severe themselves off from functional tribes and hangout with people in a similarly destressed state. The other stages are a slow position progression. This system reveals how with an effective tribal system people can become far more productive. This is very helpful especially when working in small groups. This also reveals how important it is for leaders to not just look at giant groups. They need to be able to look and understand the lower levels, whether to understand their opinions or make them more effective.

The Impossible Will Take A Little While

I thoroughly enjoyed the first section of this assigned reading. The reason being as the title states it gave me a glimmer of hope that all things are possible and that one is able to get through their darkest days and after doing so there is light at the end of the tunnel. The article begins by discussing how the author was attending a conference in which one of the audience members stated that one person is not enough to evoke positive change in the world. The author responds by describing her medical condition called Perilymph Fistula which a disease that causes temporary paralysis. She goes on to give personal anecdotes to how we do have enough power as individuals to evoke change. She gives the example with the turtles being stuck in the railway tracks and how she had enough power to save their lives. She also dives into the fact that her disability has opened her eyes to how miraculous it is to be able to simply walk across a room and within each of us we have the power to change the world for the better. As she discusses each major historical figure that brought about major change did small acts of good and then one major act propelled them to fame.

In a time where our world is being crippled by a pandemic, it is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Many people feel stuck in our homes and feel hopeless in the sense that we are disconnected from our family, friends, and loved ones. Due to this many people are not practicing social distancing properly which is increasing the spread. Many people adopt the mindset it’s just me and even if I do have it, it will only affect a small number of people when that is not the case. In addition, in a time like this people feel as though they are too insignificant to make a change with their donation. As a collective group if we adhere to the CDC’s rules, donate, and practice social distancing we can combat this disease.

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The Surprising Truth in How to Be a Great Leader


In this Ted Talk, the speaker focuses on numerous leadership attributes that individuals should practice in order to be influential, and successful. She also focuses on numerous traits that leaders ought to try to suppress as to improve the opinions of their followers on their leadership. The main characteristic this speaker recommends for successful leadership is the ability to coach those one leads to achieve their goals. This is very different from what one’s perception of leading usually is.

The tactic of coaching-focused leadership works in contrast to the act of giving advice, or instructing in any way. When individuals offer advice when anyone comes to them explaining a problem, they are likely to deter the effective production of those they lead. The speaker explains the psychology behind the “yeah, but…” response that we are all too familiar with. Though it seems obvious that when people have problems, we can help them but offering what we think is the best solution to their problem, yet problem solving is more complicated than this. People are not great at getting across their true concerns when they attempt to express them. Individuals are often well aware of the solutions others offer them, and simply do not pursue them due to other emotional responses to them. Another common tactic that is far less useful than people think is “motivational micromanagement.” This is the art of making suggestions or asking questions that have a clear goal in mind of guiding individuals towards the questioners desired act. This generally does the opposite of its perceived goal. The key to successful leadership is truly leading individuals to their own success. Providing them with useful resources, telling them of examples of how others dealt with similar issues, and generally allowing people to fight their own battles will always lead to maximize production

In the context of my own leadership experiences, and just in daily life, this made a lot of sense to me. For starters, I certainly have negative responses to motivational micromanagement, as it generally leads me to even work against my own interests sometimes. It is incredibly useful for leaders to make an effort towards making those they lead feel like they are on the same theoretical team. Offering advice can provide a connotation that individuals are ignorant if they don’t follow the instructions you provide. By understanding the emotions, as well as the reasons causing people’s problems, and providing tools for them to deal with their problems themselves, leaders can be effective.

Outside Event – Everyday Leadership

This Tedtalk touched really strongly on the one of last readings we did, and how we actually can have a really large impact. In the video he talks about how we all have inspiring moments which really impact and help others, but we often don’t realize it or remember because we didn’t view it the same way. Our impact on others and the power we hold is often far more than we initially realize, and we find that terrifying.

Another thing this video touched on that I hadn’t really thought of before is how most people are actually scared of the idea that we hold that much power. It’s a terrifying thought, so we try to ignore it. Which the speaker cites as one of the reasons people often don’t remember or realize how important what they did was. We see leadership as something we need to work for and earn, and to use the title of leader without doing so is, as Daniel Goleman puts it, arrogant. But as he also says, this ignores the huge impacts we can have, and does us a great disservice.

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This TED talk was given by Derek Sivers and is called “How to Start a Movement.”  I thought it was really interesting because he used a funny video of a man dancing which turned into a crowd dancing as his example of a movement, but the lessons that he derived from it still hold true.  First, he discusses how leaders start out with only one follower, and when they are starting out, its important to treat the small number of followers as equals because the cause that you are fighting for is more important than your role as a leader because it is something that is bigger than you.  This was my favorite message from the video because I think it is a really important part of leadership.  Leadership doesn’t just mean being in charge of others.  It’s about leading them in the fight for the cause that you are all passionate about.

He also made an interesting point about the first follower.  Sivers commented about how the very first follower was a leader of his own because he showed others that it was okay to follow and join in.  If the first follower hadn’t chosen to join in, then the crowd would not have formed because people wouldn’t have been following anyone to join in.  As followers, we can act as small leaders, so it is important to be an active and public follower for the causes that we care about.  This also reminded me about one of our most recent readings about how we can be leaders even when we don’t realize it because we have so much more impact than we give ourselves credit for.

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I’ve attached a ted talk called “Everyday Leadership.”  Drew Dudley starts off by talking about how not enough people feel comfortable calling themselves leaders because we as a society we have started celebrating really great things that only a few people can accomplish and fail to acknowledge and celebrate.  This reminded me of one of our most recent readings and how we have a much larger impact than we give ourselves credit for, sometimes.  He tells a story about a girl who was nervous about going to college and almost didn’t go because she was so nervous, but he was advertising for a student group he worked with and came over to her and her parents and joked with them and she immediately felt more comfortable and decided to stay.  Dudley comments about how he doesn’t remember this moment at all, but it was so important to this girl, that she found him before he graduated and thanked him for what he did.  Dudley had also been joking with the boy standing in line behind the girl and they ended up dating all four years of college and getting married due to how they met each other.

For Dudley, this moment was so small and normal that he didn’t even remember it, but for this girl, it meant so much more.  This shows how our smaller actions can have much larger ramifications than we expect them too and that we should take that extra moment to do a small act of kindness because it can go so much farther for the other person than we realize.  Dudley uses this example to show how leaders don’t always have to be doing these big monumental things that we tend to think they do.  Leaders can be normal people who impact other people’s lives, and it is something everyone can do.