My name is Lauren Buchanan and I am a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder). I pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a minor in Leadership Studies. I was awarded Summa Cum Laude latin honors for my honors thesis, titled Mindfulness as a Buffer of the Associations between Stress, Neuroticism, and Relationship Satisfaction in Partnered College Students under the advisement of Mark Whisman, PhD . Throughout my career as a student, I have had various opportunities to learn about new ways to develop my leadership skills. My leadership journey began in high school when I became a part of the Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership (HOBY) program. Since I joining HOBY, I have continued my leadership studies in college through the Leadership Studies Minor at CU Boulder. Through this program, I have taken a variety of courses that have helped me to explore, understand, and practice transformative and critical leadership perspectives, as well as how to be an adaptable, holistic leader. My leadership philosophy is aligned with those of the critical and eco-leadership discourses that exist in the literature, which place value on inclusivity in leadership practice, maintaining close relationships, collaboration and networking, and promoting diversity of thought. I also strongly believe in using the best available evidence to support my leadership practice in order to be the most effective, ethical, and impactful leader I can be.
Leadership 1000: Becoming a Leader is the first required class for the Leadership Studies Minor. This course helps to:
- Raise self-awareness about your individual strengths and weaknesses as a leader.
- Demonstrate where you gained greater self-awareness about your strengths, weaknesses, and style.
- Understand multiple leadership theories and apply them to enhance leadership effectiveness.
- Recognize the value of diversity and inclusiveness in leadership.
- Explore different expressions of leadership in a variety of contexts.
- Appreciate the importance of moral courage and ethical leadership.
- Sharpen your ability to think strategically about leadership challenges.
- Connect course readings, lectures and/or discussions with real-life situations and examples.
- Build analytic and critical thinking skills to support decision making.
- Provide reflection and document knowledge gained, especially "a-ha" moments.
- Adapt your leadership practices to different individuals, cultures, and situations.
- Enhance your ability to speak and write clearly, concisely and convincingly.
- Prepare you for the next steps in developing as a leader.
Lead 1000 has taught me a lot about my own philosophy surrounding leadership. After completing the course, my current definition of leadership stems much further than just the management of other people. Leadership is about being aware of your own actions and of the needs of your followers. It is important to think not only about the end goal, but also how your actions and decisions effect your followers and the rest of the world. It is important as a leader to have the courage to do what is right, and lead others down the same ethical path. Leadership is not about control; it is about working with others to enhance their own leadership skills and living a generative lifestyle. This semester, I looked at various readings that broadened my perspective of what it takes to be a great leader. It was within these readings that I saw how I could improve my own set of leadership skills in being less of a micro-manager and more of a guidance counselor for my followers. I also learned the importance of the balanced relationship between followers and leaders. You cannot be a leader at all without followers, which makes them just as important to the concept of leadership as being a good leader or having power. In the future, I see myself using the skills I have learned in this class to be a more ethical, others-focused leader. The material from this class has showed me that I can put these leadership skills into place in any situation, not just one where I have power. Being an effective leader is also being an effective follower, and I see myself holding both roles in my future endeavors.
The Social Psychology course was not only a beneficial one to take for my psychology major, but also for my leadership studies minor. This course helped my leadership development in ethical and moral reasoning through learning about the origins of social interactions and the effects they have on individuals. Social Psychology teaches a lot about how groups of people will potentially react to situations, including challenging moral and ethical dilemmas. This course helped me understand that many people fall victim to concepts like 'Groupthink,' and that the hard decisions that require good leaders to stand out may not be intuitive to most people. Leadership involves making the hard decisions and speaking out when you see something wrong, rather than contributing to social psychological group phenomenon like 'the Bystander Effect.' I have found that my leadership strength lies in resisting Groupthink and anchoring my leadership practice to my equitable ethical and moral values. As a leader having taken this course, I now see different ways that I could lead and influence people to make the most ethical decisions in high-pressure situations. This course also helped me to better understand people's behaviors overall, and this understanding has helped me immensely in my ability to work in teams and with others.
Persuasion in Society was unlike any course I have taken. It exposed me to various shocking truths about advertising and business in the U.S., and it showed me many examples of how leadership today still tends to tell the story most often told in leadership, which often mirrors the "Great Man" theory of leadership. Many big businesses that influence the advertisement industry in the United States use this outdated and hierarchical leadership theory today. Through the critical examination of how persuasion influences our society, I have been able to more specifically refine the leadership qualities and theories that I identify with and better morph them into the kind of leader I want to be. Unlike the Great Man theory, I would like to encompass qualities of an eco-leader, which promotes open systems thinking rather than hierarchy, and holism in the leadership practice. This class also helped me to practice critically examining my strengths and weaknesses in business and my ability to motivate others to accomplish a defined goal compared to persuasive powerhouses like advertisement companies.
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The History of Psychology course really helped me to understand the history and timeline behind psychological discovery and to learn about many historical leaders in the areas of philosophy, medicine, and psychology that existed throughout time. It was interesting to critically evaluate historical leaders in the scientific field and see how the dominant leadership styes they used back then have changed or evolved over time. Many of the leaders in the field of psychology I think there is a lot to be learned from history, so it was a great class to take to see the progression of leadership in a field that I am particularly interested in. Overall, this course helped me to expand my understanding of leadership and academic development across various science and health-related settings.
Taking the leadership capstone course was an amazing experience that gave me various new opportunities to experience and practice leadership while simultaneously pushing my boundaries and broadening my world view. Whether it was in class discussing the readings for the week debating wicked problems, or out shadowing the Human Resources department at CU, I was constantly being shown new and effective leadership skills that I could add to my personal repertoire. From my experience in the leadership minor, I have also made my own realizations about the leadership values I hold. My leadership values are anchored to humanity and rooted in the moral common good. I believe in the equal value of all people and the value of diversity; especially in regard to collaborative leadership. I have noticed that these values influence much of my leadership practice and my goals of how I want to use leadership in the future and in my career. The leadership capstone course has also helped me notice where my strengths lie. In a leadership role, I tend to excel in working in teams and facilitating group conversation. I also found that I was very effective in mediating conflicts and was able to keep the group on track towards the specific goal we were working towards. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to take this course because it helped me to identify and solidify my leadership skills and helped me identify the various parts of society (i.e., wicked problems that exist) that need a critical leadership perspective to help solve them.