At the culmination of each semester’s Engage Leadership Circle, students share their updated personal leadership philosophies. These philosophies are the culmination of a semester’s learning and reflection, and each is as unique as the participant themselves.
Class of 2024
“At the core of every human being lies their sense of humor, regardless of if it is good or not, and it is nearly impossible to say that laughter does not act as a natural pick-me-up. With that being said, humor not only lies in my core, but also within the way I view leadership, as well as life. An important aspect to being any type of leader is the ability to develop some sort of connection with individuals, while also opening them up to new ideas and perspectives. This idea also goes in the opposite direction, where leaders are open minded and altering their own perspectives. Humor ties into the development of connectivity between leaders and those around them by acting as a bridge, linking the two together. A sense of humor can also be thought of as a form of creativity, another other important value in my leadership ideology. A world without creativity is a world that always follows the rule of “coloring within the lines;” however, a leader that fosters an environment that goes beyond those lines often brings out passion, innovation, and most importantly the creativity of others. The act of coloring outside the lines does not necessarily mean to break the rules, whereas it means to go beyond what was considered the only way to do or view something. The final value that springs from the connection created by humor is authenticity, where the relationship between leaders and individuals is easy-going, genuine, but professional all at the same time. My leadership philosophy is characterized by these values, and by embracing the innate qualities, such as humor, creativity, and authenticity, relationships are created, regardless of if that relationship’s foundation is the laughter shared between two individuals.”
Class of 2022
“Wow, it’s getting to that time where I have to be a real adult. Man, who would’ve known that you could close your eyes one day and then wake up in a time four years later being months away from shaking good ole Barry’s hand for my diploma. Definitely not this 5 foot 4 mediocre athlete with an aspiration to become a nurse. At this point, it's not even an aspiration, it’s going to happen. I am months away from starting my first nursing class, but it doesn’t stop there. I’m probably less than 3 years away from being settled into my own place. I could never do all of this on my own, or could I? Becoming a leader isn’t just about taking on a group of people and mentoring them. Becoming a leader isn’t about being the most mature one of them all. Becoming a leader is certainly not about being the oldest and the wisest among others. Becoming a leader is about being able to step up to the plate with confidence. Becoming a leader is being able to look at something you have done and say “I did that!”, and I don’t mean the gas prices. Being a leader is the ability to have enough confidence in yourself to see that you are able to achieve something and gain the acceptance that it comes from you. Most importantly of all, being a leader is about being yourself. You don’t need to be someone like MLK to be amazing, never let a single person tell you differently.”
Class of 2022
“No two people in this room can define the term leader in the exact same way. You see, our definition to this broad term develops from our experiences, our challenges, and our perspectives on the world. While this may be true, there are so many words that one can use to differentiate it from a follower, yet all of them mean the same thing in one way or another. How is it that we know what those words mean so well, yet we cannot give the verbatim definition?
So, the question lies, what is a leader? What does it take to become a leader? Am I a leader, and if so, am I a good one? To answer this bundle of questions in one small swoop, I am a leader. I possess qualities and strengths that no other person around shares to the exact extent as mine. I persevere, I watch, I judge, and I change. I am not always the first to throw out an idea, but if it is in my field of interest I will fight to be heard. I am quiet, but my mind stays loud, throwing out ideas, information, anything of use to battle the task at hand. I am different, and that is okay. I add humor to situations that most often don’t need them, I sit back and listen to those that beg to be heard. I bring support and confidence to whoever in my team is lacking it and strive to have everybody on the same page of whichever chapter we land on. I will always stand as an ally for those around me.
So..yes, I am a leader. But I am more than that. I am a great leader, a passionate leader, and one who strives to inspire the other leaders around me, whether present or future.”
Class of 2023
“Being a leader has different meanings to every individual. As I am writing this revised version of my leadership philosophy, I took the time to reflect on my past leadership philosophy. As I was reading the paper, I highlighted the points that I wanted to relay. Key points like leaders are imperfect humans. Leaders are able to take charge of situations to solve any problems that arise. They are able to generate a positive environment that encourages growth. Ensuring that all are heard, and none are neglected. These key points are essentially the pillars to my leadership philosophy. The pillars of my leadership philosophy allow me to create a trusting relationship between by coworkers and clients. As a leader, one constantly learns, grows, end evolves to become better. Within the past semester, I can stand here and genuinely say that I have evolved past where I was when I originally wrote my first leadership philosophy. I have started to alter my attention from strictly those around me to now include myself in view. I never took into consideration how I was dealing with all my own responsibilities until this point. Everything that I normally did somehow holds additional weight within this semester forcing me to take a slight decrease on my leadership roles. If I was a leader that couldn’t adapt to new situations and environment, then I would never progress to my full potential. Within this academic year alone, I have taken a giant step in changing how I was a leader from fall semester to now. I have taken a step back from being a hands-on leader to being a leader that those can reply on when they need help. No longer being the teacher, but now more of an observer. My alterations as a leader have even caught the attention of my coworkers that know me well. Worried that I am upset with them since I was less vocal when instead I was simply giving them space to do their own thing. No longer delegating tasks like I was in training but catching the items that were overlooked. Majority of my coworkers have only been exposed to me as a hands-on as a leader, but that was only because I was placed within that position. When I had to be there to physically train people. That type of just being there to work and catch anything that may have been forgotten. I only do this with coworkers that are comfortable to take more incentive and it confused them. I had to explain that I was in no means upset and was just leading from a different aspect than normal. My leadership pillars may be different than your own. Which is amazing. There is no correct way to be a leader. Everyone and anyone can be a leader in their own way. I have been able to see this within every one of you here today. Majority of us have been together for a year and I can say that I have genuinely learned from each and every one of you. You all have your own individual way of leading whether it be right away or after trial and error. We are all leaders when we needed. Coming together to work as one and listening to one another. Knowing the best time to come forth while also knowing the best time to stand back and let someone else take control. I love being able to see everyone’s individual strengths come into play weekly. Allowing me to gain different viewpoints and learn additional strategies that I can implement into my own leadership philosophy. I plan to only have my leadership philosophy to continue to evolve just as grow as a human.”
Class of 2023
“Leadership is defined as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization and being in the state or position of being a leader.” Everyone for the most part knows what some aspect of leadership is, and if I asked, we could list off names of individuals we would consider to be leaders; the majority of that list would include individuals who have already gained their position or have already achieved or accomplished something. Personally, I think that far too often we view leadership skills as something someone either has or doesn’t; and as something that is achieved. This quote from John Maxwell encompasses what I mean by this, he said “Leadership is not about the titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” For me, impacting others and the community I am apart is the key principle of why I consider myself a leader; and I think it is also the most predominant aspect of leadership in addition to personal development.
Since I was young whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to do in the future, I would always answer “I’m not really sure but I know that I want to be in a position where I can help others.” For so long, I thought that I needed a career to live up to this purpose of positively impact others; it was not until recently where I realized that I’m already doing this in my everyday life. Living in this truth has made me realize that I am constantly impacting others even in the smallest ways that I have taken for granted in the past. In short, this improved sense of purpose and passion has not only improved my capabilities to show up as a leader, but also as a sister, friend, a student, and most importantly for myself.
So yes, I think that the leadership skills of effective communication, active listening, vulnerability, self- awareness, humility, integrity, vision, authenticity, as well as values of inclusion and diversity are all critical to be an effective leader. But like the popular saying says, “you cannot pour from an empty cup”, and when you fill up your own cup and own your greatness you impact others in the process. At the end of the day, it all starts with you.”
Class of 2023
“I wasn’t always the person you see here today. Back in High School and leading up to my first year at Worcester State, I’ve always been one of the quiet and kind of awkward guys; someone who wasn’t involved in a whole lot – only a few things here and there. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I decided to do something about this, using the skills and experiences I gained from my past and building on them to break the ice some more. In just over a year, through starting my own club, being an Orientation Leader, and being a role model for the freshman as an RA, I have grown tremendously and have put myself out there more than I have ever been before. I am not the person I was before.
Fast forward to today: Every leader faces some kind of challenge in their lives, whether it be managing your time or making tough decisions. Decision making is one of the skills that I believe a leader should possess. It really isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do depending on the situation. However, you can get a lot better at it by looking at their pros/cons, advantages/disadvantages, and at the reason for having to make the decision. What is going to benefit us in the long run? What do I feel is the right choice to make?
Peter Parker once said “It’s the choices that make us who we are, and we can always choose to do what’s right.” It doesn’t mean you have to like or agree with the choice you made. We have the ability to make the choice that we feel is the right one to make. We always have a choice.
It’s never easy making choices. While they do come with advantages that could benefit your future, there can be some consequences to them, such as losing friends. Being a leader, I always want to make sure that I am a friend first and foremost, someone you can trust and someone you can approach. There will be times where the decisions you make will lead to a loss of friendships. But then again, if your friends leave you for making the right decision, were they even your friends to begin with?
It’s not a great feeling, but I like to remember that I will never truly be alone, even if it may feel like it at that time. There’s a famous song that is played at every Liverpool FC soccer match, titled “You’ll never walk alone”. You’ll always have someone supporting you and your decisions, no matter where they are. You’ll never truly walk alone, and you’ll never truly be alone.”
Class of 2023
“In the position of a leader, the goal is to inspire others to put their best foot forward, and to bring the best out of them to achieve a common goal.
A leaders goal is to both care about their team members and helping them achieve their personal goals, While also challenging them to be the best version of themselves that they can be.
I personally believe it’s extremely important to be able to learn from the past and use it as the stepping stone for the future. As best said by Lars Fält, “Knowledge is learning from the mistakes of others, experience is learning from one’s own mistake”. Without learning from oneself own mistakes through experience how is someone supposed to evolve in their role within a team?
The biggest thing in my opinion that keeps a team strong is trust. Putting trust into your team members to accomplish tasks and being hands off on them, while focusing on your own tasks not only creates a more optimal efficiency, but shows to the team you trust them to do the right thing, and very often that trust is reciprocated back to you.”