LDP Blog

Exemplary Leader Spotlight


There is no one-size-fits-all leadership style. Leadership is a process of social influence and given the variation of individuals we seek to influence, there is not one ideal leadership style to accommodate those we lead. Often people equate successful leaders to those that are outgoing, charismatic, and extroverted. However, sometimes the greatest leaders are those who are quiet with an unassuming style. Quiet leaders are not afraid to embrace solitude and dig deep into problems, they consistently look to challenge themselves, and expect little recognition for their accomplishments. The humility, determination, self-discipline, and patience of a quite leader can inspire a team in unique ways that maybe charismatic leaders cannot accomplish.  

There is one LDP member who embodies what an introspective, yet impactful leader should be. Since joining the LDP Tyler Harrell has been a strong but often quiet leader. His leadership style has gained him the respect of many people within and outside the program. He seeks to improve processes and people’s lives, whether it is through his leadership on campus or through lending a helping-hand no matter the sacrifice required. The Exemplary Leader Spotlight highlights Tyler for his leadership in the SIU ATMAE Robotics Drone Team and the Amateur Radio Club.  

As leader of the Robotics Drone, Team Tyler has made learning and collaboration a priority for the team this year. He has enabled others to utilize their strengths and practice leadership as “sub-leads” for various components of the drone project. This structure has allowed senior members (including Raymond Smothers and Nelson Fernandes) of the team to teach and mentor new members, in turn, creating a culture of success through experience. This year, Tyler has implemented drone flight days where team members are trained on how to properly fly a drone, giving the drone team another opportunity to become proficient in their skills. With their dedication to building a better drone, the SIU Robotics Drone Team hopes to have a competitive advantage over other teams at the Midwest Robotics Design Competition in the spring.  

Along with the drone team, Tyler has been practicing leadership in the Amateur Radio Club, an organization where students learn how to operate radio equipment and become certified radio operators. While this organization is more “recreational” in nature than technical, he has still seized opportunities to inspire and motivate his team. This year he facilitated the licensure of all club members to ensure they understand key concepts and federal radio regulations. Additionally, the Radio Club made sure to celebrate their semester successes by having a team camping trip.  

Tyler reminds us that extroversion is not a requirement for leadership. Great leaders represent many different personality traits and leadership styles. Leadership is a human endeavor, that above all requires seeking the best for the people you lead. No matter the project or organization, he seeks to do the best for the people he leads. Great work Tyler! 

Exemplary Leader Spotlight

October 2019

Madison Wilderman

By: Breanna Whitley

The month of October brings about many welcome seasonal changes such as autumn colors and cooler temperatures. Watching the leaves transform in autumn serves as a natural reminder of the transformations we go through as leaders. A leader’s journey begins “green” and immature as they develop and grow through mentorship and guidance. Just as a tree needs a suitable environment to grow, so do aspiring leaders. Eventually, after growing in a nourishing environment, a tree is mature enough to develop fruits and continue its species. The same is true for aspiring leaders! Through guidance, practice, mentorship, and good culture, leaders grow and begin to flourish; all so that they can begin to create more leaders. This month’s exemplary leader is well on her way to developing future leaders.  

The Exemplary Leader Spotlight highlights Madison Wilderman for her leadership on campus and in the Carbondale community. Madison has been a member of SIUC Math Club since transferring to SIU in 2018 and has recently accepted a leadership position as their Special Outreach Chair. With her unique talent of inspiring others and bringing positivity and innovation to any situation, Madison has implemented many new programs in Math Club. Her vision is to create a more engaged and inclusive club, and she is achieving this vision through volunteer events at the Science Center, Math Mondays, and unique recruitment activities. Additionally, Madison has been working with Raymond Smothers to mentor other LDP members such as Devon Cantrell and Daniel Davidson to sustain the important changes they have implemented this year. 

Madison’s leadership reaches beyond the SIU Campus through her involvement and contributions to the community. Through her role as the lead researcher for the first Saluki Analytics Research Team, Madison and her team are working with data to improve funding opportunities for the Southern Illinois Women’s Center. Most recently, Madison accepted a position as an Assistant Scout Leader for Scouts BSA Troop 77G, a brand-new scout troop for girls in the Carterville and Carbondale area. It is hard to imagine a better role model for this troop of young girls than Madison. With her optimism, encouragement, and willingness to accept any challenge, she will serve as an ideal role model to the next generation of future leaders.  

The best leaders create more leaders, and Madison serves as a model example of an aspiring leader. She is always seeking opportunities to influence and inspire others to be their best. The LDP team and those in Madison’s social circles are grateful for her WOO (Win Others Over) and authentic desire to help others. Keep up the good work Madison!

Exemplary Leader Spotlight 

September 2019

Kayla Stuthers

This month, the Exemplary Leader Spotlight highlights Kayla Stuthers for her exceptional leadership in the Microbiology Student Organization (MSO). In her first semester as MSO President, Kayla, with the help of her executive team, increased active membership from 7 to 22 members. With microbiology being one of the smallest majors on campus, increasing membership that significantly is an even more extraordinary feat. Kayla’s vision for MSO is, “to transform the organization from a resume building group to a group that imparts fulfillment.”  

“I want to create an environment in which people can learn and grow, and I want to ensure that MSO has the opportunity to make an impact on our community. The goal is for every member to find something value-adding within the program and build better relationships with each other,” says Kayla. Only four weeks into the semester and Kayla is well on her way to bringing that vision to reality.  

So far MSO has hosted new events such as microbiology study nights and student lead educational programs at the Science Center. In the future, Kayla and the MSO team hope to improve their Science Center volunteering program even more by mentoring new members through the process of program planning. They have also created a “High School Recruitment Chair,” a position held by LDP member Sam Ramirez, to help recruit more students into the microbiology field.  

Leaders like Kayla remind us of the authentic principles guiding servant leadership – that one pursues leadership to enrich the lives of individuals, build better organizations, and ultimately, create global change. Servant leaders are never preoccupied by their title or influence, rather their focus is concentrated on the well-being and growth of people and their communities. Thank-you Kayla for portraying authentic servant leadership and serving as a model of exemplary leadership. Job well done!   

Reflecting on Spring Orientation

By Samuel Ramirez

It is not uncommon for us to go throughout our daily lives and hear stories of privileged millennials who lack work ethic and basic communications skills. It comes from all areas, including industry, the retired sector, and even sometimes from our peers. This sad fact undermines an entire generation, but it does not give the whole story. This last weekend, a group of more than 50 students from both SIU and various community colleges joined together to explore leadership at the Leadership Development Program’s Spring Orientation (SO).

This was a two-day event that gave an overview of the program and allowed for all of the new members to get a feeling for leadership. For some, this was their first experience in such an area. As you can imagine, meeting a group of 50 people you don’t know is a bit nerve racking, Add on the task of being asked to step out of your comfort zone by leading activities with these people? Now that is a challenge!

This weekend, the members of the LDP taught the new recruits how leading can be broken down into a system that is applicable anywhere. By using a system called the “SOLVE” method, many of the new recruits were able to lead a team in completing a challenge through the Touch of Natures team course.

Working in teams is never easy, but these college students made it look like a breeze! They were committed to challenging themselves to be better leaders. Our second motto in the LDP is “Challenge yourself, change the world.” While there may be some jokes going around about our generation, there are still many young people who want to equip themselves with everything they need to be the change they want to see in this world!

Our Team-Bonding Experiences

By: Madeleine Meyer

“The LDP gave us the opportunity to compete at the Collegiate Leadership Competition (CLC) and grow as leaders and team members. However, we did not just compete, but we grew stronger as a team. We came up with innovative ways to complete challenges and worked towards a common goal. On the ride there, the Brown Dawgs Team used karaoke songs to memorize the CLC terms we would need. Big thanks to Shania Twain! Throughout the competition, we kept our spirits and energy high as our two teams entered as one big family each time. When a team can work through obstacles and know when to use their strengths and rely on one another, success is achievable. This year’s CLC was a success for LDP, in point value and personal value.”

By: Nelson Fernandes

“I believe there are two parts to life: mind and body. When competing, one will not only need to be able to find solutions to problems but be able to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal. Trust is crucial to working with others. Our CLC teams were able to be successful not just because we were intelligent and knew how to solve the problems, but because we had bonded with and trusted one another. Spending time outside of practice and interacting outside the organization allowed us to develop a sense of community within the team. I can safely say that my team’s ability to recognize my non-verbal cues during a silent activity can be attributed to the trust we built. I can firmly say that our team was able to achieve as much as we did is solely because of the trust we had in one another to make the best choices.”

By: Olivia Hood

“As the year comes to a close and I reflect on all my LDP memories, the Collegiate Leadership Competition was one of my favorite experiences as a team. We made the long road trip to Oxford, Ohio, playing car karaoke, “guess that song”, and had an Amish style family buffet. Although I am extremely proud of how well the team performed, it is the fun moments bonding with one another that I will remember forever. Sonic milkshakes, singing along to Shania Twain, and the countless laughs are what makes us not only a great team, but great friends. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have competed against incredible schools across the nation and for the memories that will last a lifetime.”

By: Zach Boehl

“I have always loved being part of a team. It does not matter what sport or activity because I excel when working with others. However, every team that I have been with, needed to bond before truly becoming a team. As an example, last semester, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the LDPlayaz volleyball team. I had just joined the LDP, so I did not quite know everyone yet. The entire team seemed to be nice and inviting, but we had never worked together. As a result, we lost our first few games. After those games, we decided to go out for ice cream and spent time together. We ended up staying at the restaurant for over an hour, having fun with one another. Our team started to click and improved at an impressive rate as we started to win. We may not have won the championship, but the bonding off the court gave us the best results we could have achieved.”

Teamwork: The Difference Between Success and Failure


Madison Wilderman

Teamwork helped me graduate from my community college. I know that sounds like a bold statement, but it is true. Part of my general requirements for an Associate Degree was taking a physics course on electromagnetism. At the time, it was the hardest content I had ever seen, and other students in the class agreed. Luckily everyone in the class was friendly and we all got along well. Our teacher assigned us a take-home portion of the final, and we all knew that was our chance to succeed. This take-home portion was extremely difficult, so we all decided to meet up and work on it together. Though it took over 7 hours, we got it done and learned a little bit more about the subject while doing it. Reviewing that take-home portion with the rest of the class helped to better prepare us for the final the following week. I give all credit to my classmates for helping me fully understand electromagnetism and passing the class, because I know that if it was not for teamwork, I would have gotten a lower grade.

Nelson Fernandes

Last January, I led an LDP team to paint the Carbondale Science Center. It was a daunting task. However, because of detailed planning and encouraging my team to go above and beyond, we achieved our goal. Painting those walls was a long and tiring process. Everyone had a positive mindset, however, and we had fun while working. Time flew by as we progressed step by step. With every problem we encountered, I took a step back and utilized my team to help solve the problem. We all worked hard and helped one another, which eliminated any stress and sped up the completion of the task. This once-daunting project turned into an awesome experience where strong teamwork accomplished the most incredible tasks.


Last February, I joined a three-week basketball tournament with a group of friends. Basketball is a team sport, as anyone with knowledge of the game will tell you. Unfortunately, our team did not practice before the tournament began. We were winning games, but we had poor teamwork. The results do not always reflect the journey made. Once we faced a difficult team, our isolation play style exposed our faults, and we fell apart. Having reflected on what we did wrong, I realize that building a stronger team-based offense would have helped us utilize everyone’s strengths and lead to success, as compared to just one player dictating the offense. This made me realize how teamwork would have made for dream work.

Joao Vitor Bacco Facciotti

I work in the STEM Education Center at the SIU campus, and I was tasked with updating our website. It was a simple task that only required me to upload a few videos, update the “events” sidebar, and update the “staff” page on the website. At first, I thought that the task would be very simple and not take me long to finish, so I decided that I didn’t need to rely on my coworkers- that I could do everything by myself. Sadly, that didn’t happen. As I started doing the task, I noticed that there were many details that I had overlooked. This includes many questions that I did not know the answer to. The problems created by my lack of teamwork could easily have been fixed if I had just relied on my team earlier.

What Rules Should We Be Breaking?

By Team Elektra

By Jessica Higginbotham

Breaking rules is an ethical conundrum. Each person must decide for themselves if they are willing to go against the status quo and own the repercussions of their actions. No one rule should go without scrutiny, and some rules, while perceived as good, create limitations for progress. Some of the most profound figures in history broke the rules to bring about real change, but they had to fight in order to reach their goals. The Sons of Liberty, who dumped tea into the Boston Harbor, Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat, and so many others have impacted the world by breaking rules.

These days, we can still break rules, just not as many. Perhaps one of the only rules we might consider breaking is the use of professionalism in the workplace. To break a rule, you must believe it is unjust, inaccurate, or against the benefit of those it affects such as using formality to divide office employees. You must recognize the change that you want to make. In this example, it is to improve employee relations by bringing everyone to the same level and providing some sense of community. The hardest part of rule breaking is acting on it and owning the consequences of your actions.

Overall, it is the small steps we have taken and the beliefs that we each have that lead us to break rules or initiate change. Benjamin Franklin once said, “it is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what it is for which you stand.


By Connor Eigelberger

Personally, I have my own rules for just about every aspect of my life. Rules for me are my most basic guide to life, but that in no way means I never cross the line just to test the water. One of my favorite sayings is “trust but verify.” This is something I do daily. Whenever I am given a rule, I will immediately question it.

Ben Franklin said that we should question authority. This does not mean that I disrespect rules or those who make them. Rather, I must find the why behind the rules, otherwise I will likely never believe in them. One rule I often question is that of professionality within my job. Once again, professionality is very important, but not so much that days should become monotonous.

My favorite time in which I broke the rules was in my last panel interview. Being a behavioral interview, many would see this as a place to be as professional as possible. The two interviewees who were interviewed alongside me did exactly that when asked, “Now that you know what the four of us (the interviewers) do at Anheuser Busch, who would you choose to fire and why?” The two girls were very formal and professional in their answers, but I laughed and said, “I would fire Jim, as he is a mechanical engineer, which would therefore open up the position for me”. They loved it. In this case, there was no wrong answer, but my personality came shining through, which is what the interviewers were wanting. 

I can happily confirm this joke left the interviewers raving about my confident, yet fun demeanor, and they offered me a Co-op the following week. While I love professionalism, this is one place where I believe it is may have held me back, so I take a moderate to professional approach for my career. Being sure to take certain rules with a grain of salt and not being afraid to break them has helped me get outside my comfort zone and push further in my pursuit of success.

By Zachary Boehl 

I break rules. If you think less of me for doing so, I can live with that. I will tell anyone without a hint of shame: I know the rules, I understand why they were made, and sometimes, I ignore them. 

Rules are designed to help us, but many people forget one thing: rules are not facts, but theories (and working theories at that). These theories were created with the knowledge available in the past and constantly need to be reevaluated. This is because they can inhibit what’s possible. I choose to break rules, not for the sake of breaking them, but for the sake of progress. 

One such rule is also a cliché: “You cannot do it all.” While I understand I am not omniscient and would be conceited to take blame for the troubles of the world, I do task myself to help everyone around me in whatever way I see possible. I have skipped meals, lost sleep, and missed out on enjoying free time for the sake of helping others. I have been pushed to my limits and worn to exhaustion because I would not tell somebody no, and I cannot name a time when I felt more accomplished. I break rules, and many of the people around me are thankful for it. 

Measuring Success

Imagine you need to construct a desk for your new office. What would you do? First, you may determine how to allocate space for the desk to set parameters for the proceeding steps. Next, one would likely create blueprints for how the desk will look when construction is complete. Finally, once the materials have been obtained, you would construct the desk. Simple! Now, how would you determine the appropriate size of the desk? Well, given that you have already outlined your parameters and illustrated your expectations for the desk, you would simply make precise measurements. You would measure the length of the desk legs, the width the desk, and the height of the desk. Again, simple! Early mathematicians and innovative thinkers produced tools that made tasks, such as taking measurements, quick and easy. Innovations like the ruler and the metric system allow us to measure almost anything with ease and precision

Now imagine that you need to measure your success? What would you do? This task, while certainly achievable, cannot be approached with only a ruler in hand. The problem is that measuring success in not universal. How would a business measure success? Maybe by increased profit margins and customer satisfaction. How would a mother measure her success in raising her children? Potentially by the ability of her children to reach their dreams? Since measuring success is qualitative, defining those metrics can be challenging. However, if you approach measurement of success in the same manner you approached construction of your new desk, it may not be as intimidating! Let us go back to the desk scenario.  

First, set parameters! What are your goals? Are these goals relevant? Are these goals realistic? By setting parameters to define your success, you provide clear expectations for yourself, as well as provide opportunities to generate small wins as you accomplish your goals.  

Next, illustrate your success! How do you envision your success? Where will you be in life when you meet this success? Illustrating your success is crucial! Humans are inherently visual creatures. We need to design the vision of our success. Create a mental image, draw a picture, create a collage, or describe in vivid detail how your success will look.  

Finally, obtain the materials you need to create the vision of your success! What do you need to achieve this success? What changes do you need to make in your life? What people need to be in your circle of influence to allow this success to come to fruition? Without defining your goals, envisioning your future, and surrounding yourself with support and resources, you will fail to measure success. 

Breanna Whitley, President of Leadership Development Program

As the end of the semester approaches, Team Zatana wanted to take an opportunity to interview their mentor and retiring LDP president, Breanna Whitley, to reflect on how we measure success in the LDP.

What is the most important factor when measuring success?

“Whether it is an individual, organization, or business, success must be measured according to the specific parameters and goals of the person/organization defining success. The perception of success is not ubiquitous. In my experience, especially in the LDP, we often measure success by the lessons we learn. Whether it is a failed project or a special occasion, we seek opportunities to learn so we can make improvements for the future.”

How has measuring success helped you with planning in the LDP?

“You cannot measure success without first defining your parameters and goals. Thinking ahead, outlining objectives, and setting goals has allowed me to make the most out of every plan. In contrast, there have been times in which I neglected to set goals and parameters which resulted in failure. The biggest take away I can share is that setting goals and outlining parameters is much easier when you involve others. As a leader, it is not our task to do all the work, but to see that the work gets done.”

What was your most inspiring moment as president?

“During Team Week, we had an amazing experience rock climbing at Giant City. As each member took on the challenge of climbing the rock face, the rest of the team helped by encouraging them. In this moment, I realized that climbing the rock face was the perfect metaphor for how I hoped our team would approach the semester – no matter what challenges we may face as a team or as individuals, we would always encourage and support one another.”

How has that moment helped you measure success?

“This moment honestly defined my expectations for the rest of the semester. It enabled me to make a conscious decision that in every LDP project and experience, we would always support each other. Because I defined my expectations, I had a metric to help me measure success!”

How would you measure your success as president?

“One of the greatest lessons I have learned in the LDP is that great leaders create more leaders. My success in the LDP is intimately intertwined with the success of our members. I feel accomplished when our team reflects on their leadership lessons, accomplish their personal goals, or seek opportunities to get out of their comfort zones. I can confidently say that the team has completely exceeded my expectations of success!”


“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

– Oscar Wilde

By Team Flash

Natural optimism is difficult to maintain for most people. Usually, the rush of everyday life keeps us too pre-occupied to consider our outlook. So, most of the time we do not get to experience the gains made from a positive attitude. That is why it is so critical to celebrate the small everyday victories. These are the little bits of emotional fuel that will keep us running at our best throughout the day. A perfect example of this is from Samuel Ramirez’s experience when faced with the choice of getting a higher education.

Samuel Ramirez

“My optimistic journey started the first time someone started to develop and invest in me. My advisor at my local community college took a serious interest in my success and continuing education. She would always celebrate the small wins, such as a completed assignment, good grades, or even my moderate success with a class speech. One day she asked me about my life goals. Up until that point, I had never considered a long-term plan for my life, and she was the one who started me out on that path.”

The attitude we carry into unknown critical moments determines the rest of our lives and the quality with which we live them. How we view and treat failure is a good indication of how we treat almost anything in life. It is easy to be optimistic when you win, but failure is often viewed as the worst thing that can happen. When you lose, your personal drive can also be lost. If that happens, you will become like a car that only moves in reverse: only useful and effective in ideal circumstances. Being optimistic makes you tough. Someone who can take the good and the bad without breaking stride is someone who will succeed in the long run. Tyler Sons is a good example of this mental toughness and persistence who often finds himself juggling incredible workloads.

Tyler Sons

“It was so easy to let the stress of assignments and exams get the best of me and I would panic and procrastinate. Everything would pile up to the ceiling and my chances of success felt long gone. It just takes that one inspiring moment to be empowered with the magic of optimism. When I learn something new that I have never known before, I get excited, which helps me to push forward. I have learned that my attitude towards my responsibilities plays a crucial role in my performance.”

Being able to survive the tough times is a great skill, but if the tough times never stop, then getting through a couple of days does not amount to much. Changing the situation to your advantage is necessary if there is any hope for improvement in your situation. Otherwise, stagnation and constant stress will become the norm. Abhishek is a man determined to succeed and advance in every aspect of his life, and the LDP has helped him to do it.

Abhishek Chitti

“Last semester was challenging for me, as I was working on two research projects apart from my regular courses. At one point during the semester I was stressed and having an extremely difficult time managing two projects at once. I considered leaving one. One of the greatest lessons I have learned from LDP is to challenge the process. Instead of looking towards both projects as a burden, I started treating them as an opportunity to increase the proficiency of my time management skills. I gradually became better at managing my time for those projects, and was able to deliver both while meeting their deadlines.”

A more perfect example of turning a potentially disastrous situation into a complete victory could not be asked for. Now, everything we have talked about so far is all well and good in the classroom and in our personal lives, but do such examples hold up to scrutiny in the workplace? In keeping with the LDP’s focus on the STEM fields there is significant data and research that says “Yes.” Effectiveness and initiative are the major qualities that make a difference between positive and negative attitudes. Either of these attitudes are infectious and will color an organization in every aspect. That is why it is critical that the leader of any group has a good attitude and practices optimism.

Summary by Team Flash

Optimism in the work place is all about encouraging small wins and strengthening relationships. An optimist in a workplace or classroom will support their team by recognizing everybody’s effort and celebrating the small wins. This kind of encouragement will help in boosting the team’s performance and, in turn, increases the productivity of the group. In a 2009 review published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 83 studies on optimism were analyzed and it showed that the more optimistic a person was, the healthier they tended to be. It is well known that healthier people are more productive and tend to be more creative. Many other researches have proven that optimism can help in increasing social connections and prevent depression. Strong bonding among team members and positive attitudes would bring tremendous increases in productivity and unit cohesion.

It is easy to dismiss optimism as a silly quirk of young children and starry-eyed college students, but I hope that we have shown, through our personal experiences, that optimism is a life-long corner stone to a firm foundation in school, business, and life.

Leading vs. Managing

“Managers light a fire under people; leaders light a fire in people.”

– Kathy Austin

By Team Phoenix

Managers are found around every corner, but true leaders are few and far between. Managers rely heavily on authority, only care about the finished product, and want complete control of what is going on. However, leaders want to inspire, trust, and develop followers. This is done by inspiring a shared vision within your team and creating a productive environment to solve the issue at hand. Leading vs. managing is something that is brought up frequently in our program, and we are constantly reminded that leaders are inspiring and empowering, not bossy and controlling.

Olivia Hood

The line between leading and managing is one that I used to walk quite often. I have always been the type of person who loves to set others up for success. Before I joined LDP, that looked a lot like giving someone a list of things to do and telling them exactly how to do it. I always assumed that this was the best and easiest way to get things done right.

Since the second I became a member of the LDP, however, my perspective on that has changed immensely. A true leader doesn’t need to tell their followers exactly what to do and how to do it. What I have learned is that a true leader should approach their followers with a problem and be able to guide them along the process of solving it as a team. Not only does this approach inspire better outcomes, but it also inspires growth and trust within the team.

I used this approach during my project this year, which was MLK Day. I designated four subleaders and had them come up with plans of action for each of their projects with their teams. Not only did this approach provide better outcomes than I could’ve ever done on my own, but it was also a great learning experience for the whole group. As the leader of that project, I didn’t boss them around and give them a “to do” list, but inspired them to work together to improve the Science Center and work together as a team. At the end of the day, our team went above and beyond what was expected. That never would’ve happened if I would have managed the project.

Garrett Murry

A manager is someone who has a quota to fill and workers they need to make fill it. A leader is a member of a team who seeks to help push their teammates to be and do the best that they can. We’ve all heard the phrase “Whatever you say, boss.” and this is the type of response a manager will get. A leader aims to inspire the team to share their goals. They get the team excited about being able to accomplish the task at hand and to do it well. I have always been one to be given a task and assume that those around me are going to automatically be as committed to this task as I am.

While leading the LDP workouts, this quickly became very apparent. I couldn’t stand in front of the team and bark orders at them expecting to immediately be given 100%. I had to show the team that I was committed to their success 110% before I could ask them to do the same. I had to show my team how excited I was to watch them succeed, so that they knew I valued their time and effort and so that they could find motivation through my motivation. While struggling to keep my team motivated, I realized that a leader is a part of the team and that meant standing and working with them instead of just watching over them.

Devon Cantrell

Getting people to listen to me has always been tough. It is not always clear how one should convince someone to do something when they do not hold any power over that someone. This is the most difficult form of leadership, but I believe it is the most organic. It does not rely on someone’s power over others to ensure tasks are done, but rather on persuading them to help realize a shared vision.

This is an area that the LDP has really allowed me to grow. The program regularly puts us in positions where we cannot simply demand that things be done, but rather that we inspire people to help get things done. This has required me to improve my social skills when interacting with my fellow LDP members, to boost my confidence within the group, and to practice my public speaking skills. The bottom line is this: if there is one thing that LDP has taught me it is that a good leader does not need to rely on their title to lead, they just need to inspire everyone around them.