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!