I recently have had the opportunity to participate in the Spark Leadership Series through Central Michigan University’s Leadership Institute. Spark was a four week long series in which we met once a week on Thursday nights for two hours. During those two hours, we were split into teams. The team that I was a part of was Team Intentional. As a group, we participated in many activities and discussions that allowed us to explore leadership, understand our personal leadership styles, and learn how to grow as leaders.
When I signed up for Spark, I was very excited because I had heard so much about it through the Leadership Institute. As a part of the Leader Advancement Scholarship, my cohort has the opportunity to participate in Spark during our Freshman year, in either the Fall or Spring Semester. Since I had chosen to attend the series in the Spring, I was able to listen to input from my friends about their experiences.
Throughout Spark, we did a variety of activities. For example, during one session titled “Challenge Day” each team completed team-building challenges that included navigating a blindfolded partner through a series of mousetraps, unhooking yourself from your partner, with whom you were tied to with rope, completing a memory map allowing all team members to pass through the course, and transferring balls from one end of the room to the other without touching the balls or the floor. Following this series of activities came a debrief session in which we learned the importance of communication, leading a team, and working together with followers and other team members.
One thing that I found very beneficial upon my completion of the Spark Leadership Series was a better understanding of myself and how I function as a leader. At one of the sessions, we each evaluated ourselves and our leadership styles. Among the styles were Direct, Spirited, Considerate, and Systematic. After evaluating each leadership style, I found that I was among the direct leaders. Direct leaders can be counted on by others to accomplish tasks during high stress times. Their strengths include the ability to quickly accomplish assignments, not hesitating to lead others through challenges, approaching tasks with energy and efficiency, and being naturally competitive.
I found my experience with Spark very beneficial to me as a leader because it helped me to gain knowledge of myself and my leadership style, as well as how to adapt that situationally while working with a team. In addition to this, Spark not only touched on personal and team leadership, but also community membership and volunteerism, effective communication, and campus leadership resources as well, all of which are crucial in the understanding, development, and growth of leaders.