Everyone can identify someone who they feel is a great leader. But what is it about this person that makes such a good leader? What in their character or communication has created this characteristic?
This lesson explores what you know about leaders and leadership. The concepts in this lesson will help you become the leader you are meant to be. This involves communication, courage, casting vision, planning, and commitment—many of the skills you have already developed. Pay attention as you read and reflect to see where you have strengths and where you have opportunities for continued development.
Essential Reading: Getting to Authenticity
Recall from the conversation meter that authenticity is genuinely appreciating various views and factors to create new insights and opportunities. It is a key part of high-value conversations.
Leaders get to authenticity by clearly explaining and taking responsibility for their feelings, empathizing with others, seeing universal needs, motivating others, and finding the intersection of their own and others’ needs, purposes, and concerns. In doing so, they arrive at a shared purpose.
Essential Reading: Effective Leadership and Bioreactions
Effective leaders are aware of their bioreactions. Bioreactions are the root of the pretense and sincerity, which keeps people from fully engaging in a conversation. Effective leaders learn to be mindful of their needs and the needs of others, which enables them to make conscious, deliberate choices to avoid pretense and sincerity and work instead in accuracy and authenticity.
Essential Reading: Courage and Competence
Naturally, being an effective leader requires courage and competence. Competence is about using the conversation meter approach. Your future success as a student and in life depends on your strength in these two attributes.
You will experience disappointment as you develop the skills to communicate effectively. When that happens, you have a choice: to let that diminish your courage to keep learning the communication methods, or to keep learning the communication method to become more competent.
Reflection: Courage and Competence
Examine the following courage and competence matrix:
“Courage and Competence matrix” ©2021 Western Governors University – WGU. All Rights Reserved.
Record your answers to the following questions on a piece of paper or download and save the “Reflection: Courage and Competence” document to record your thoughts.
• Where do you see yourself on the matrix? Why?
• Where do you want to go on the matrix? How do you plan to do that?
After you have assessed where you are on the matrix, consider how that applies to your education.
• As you prepare for college, what do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses?
Essential Reading: Ways to Envision Your Future
There are different ways to envision your future. In fiction, futures are generally told within the constructs of one of the themes that follow. The consequence wheel (described later in this unit) does not subscribe to any of the three following storylines (utopian, dystopian, and retro-utopian). Instead, it seeks to envision the future as a result of basic cause-and-effect steps. All three storylines could, however, be outcomes of the consequence wheel.
Utopian: A utopia is a place of future perfection, especially in terms of law, government, art, and social conditions. This story describes the ideal place to live. The original utopian literature from Plato’s Republic to Thomas More’s Utopia explores the promise of an idealized society.
Dystopian: A dystopia is an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and fearful lives. This is the worst of all possible worlds—a place in which you do not want to live. An example is the book 1984, written by George Orwell, in which the despotic government controls everything.
Retro-utopian: A retro-utopia is a place where reverting to an imaginary past is proposed as the ideal future. An example of this could be the future that President Reagan described. It was the vision of the 1950s with a homemaker mother, a working father, and nice kids. This view is exemplified by the TV program Leave It to Beaver.
Essential Reading: Strategic Planning
To see the future as a result of cause and effect, you need to do some strategic planning. Strategic planning is the process of defining strategy or direction and making decisions about how you will use your time and energy to pursue that strategy. To determine the right strategy or direction, you must first understand where you are now and what the possible paths available to you are.
Take a moment to think about the following quote from Gandhi and what it means for planning your future. As you plan for your future at WGU and beyond, you will make decisions today that will have consequences that continue into the future.
Part of strategic planning involves anticipating the consequences of your decisions. The consequence wheel is a tool that will help you anticipate different paths and consequences.
“The future depends on what you do today.”
Essential Reading: Consequence Wheel
In choosing a direction, you need to study how your present actions or habits will have a long-term effect. The consequence wheel is a tool that will help you see the possible outcomes of an action by looking at the immediate effect and how that effect leads to future outcomes (like a possible future chain reaction). On the consequence wheel, each circle and line represent a different consequence or action and its interaction.
“Consequence Wheel matrix” ©2021 Western Governors University – WGU. All Rights Reserved.
The consequence wheel works by mapping how different outcomes may result in different futures. First, identify an action, and then write down the possible consequences (good and bad) of that action. Moving to the right, write down the consequences of those possible outcomes, and so on.
For example, what might happen if you continue to worry about money, schoolwork, or other things (i.e., mental preoccupation)?
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