American Author, John C. Maxwell, once said, “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” As a rising college junior, and a new intern at Global Brands Group, I found it hard to think of myself as a leader. Walking into the Center of Creative Leadership on Monday morning, I didn’t feel like a leader. I asked myself, “How is an intern supposed to lead anyone in an office where the employees know what they are doing better than I do?” However, it didn’t take long at CCL for my perspective to change. The two most influential topics I learned about at CCL were Mental Models and Fixed vs. Growth Mindsets.
Mental Models were described as how everyone might see the world or a situation differently. While I may see one thing in a situation, someone else might see the situation through a different lens. Maxwell’s quote relates to this when he says leadership isn’t about titles or positions. While the Vice President of a company might view a situation one way, another person, who many not be as high in the hierarchy, might see the situation in another way. The VP would be a leader if he respected the view of his coworker, and the coworker would be a leader if he or she spoke up to the VP about what they see. I can personally be a leader by voicing my opinion. While I may only be an intern, if I feel like what I have to say is important, I should be willing to speak my mind, no matter my title or position.
The other topic that truly influenced me was the Fixed vs. Growth Mindsets. A person with a fixed mindset might come across a challenge and give up because of the difficulty, see someone else succeeding and get down on themselves, or come across an obstacle and give in. However, a person with a growth mindset is someone that comes across a challenge and accepts to see themselves succeed, sees someone else succeeding and say, “If they can do it, so can I,” or comes across an obstacle, and rather than giving in, takes on the obstacle and uses it to strengthen them as an individual.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Leonard Kaplan Leadership Institute and have already used it in my first week here at Global Brands Group. Throughout the process, I was able to see how I can continue to use this leadership training throughout my life. For example, I will use what I learned at CCL in my Undergraduate Admissions career, or as I continue serving on the executive board in my Fraternity. I believe I speak on behalf of all thirty-six fellows when I say I am grateful for such an amazing and truly progressive experience at the Leonard Kaplan Leadership Institute.