Leadership Lunch Teaches Students to Address Weaknesses and Improve Their Influence

Dr. Big Mountain and student Nicole Wood Collaborate on Leadership for the Student Body

Wish you were a better leader? Or were more educated on leadership traits? Dr. Marella Big Mountain and student Nicole Wood, on behalf of the Honors Program, led an engaging lunch session on Jan. 29. “It was a great opportunity for students to build their confidence and communication skills. Students had an active discussion and were able to speak openly about their struggles and how to improve them,” summarized co-presenter Nicole Wood. 

This hour-long event was tailored to the participants’ acknowledged weaknesses, based on the students’ prior survey responses. For anyone that knows Dr. Big Mountain’s teaching style, the event followed suit, with inclusivity and very active participation. At the beginning of the lunch, while eating the delicious catered food, we were requested to fill out a confidence evaluation. While the assessment was somewhat ambiguous, the results weren’t, rating the users’ overall confidence level: low, average, or high self-confidence. All around, the results were not what people expected, proving Dr. Big Mountain’s point: others don’t always see us as we see ourselves. Whenever someone asks Dr. Big Mountain, “What is the hardest leadership?’” she consistently responds, “self-leadership.”

After a bit of lecture, Wood changed the room’s pace, wanting people to practice what they learned. From a list, she read “self” statements, having people move to either side of the room based on their level of agreement. The statements included but were not limited to, “I feel a responsibility to my family and friends,” “I follow others’ expectations of me,” and “I base my decisions off my future.” Not only was it intriguing to see which way the majority drifted, but also to hear the explanations and anecdotes for their choice. “It is interesting to see how people have opposite traits, yet no one is any better or worse, because everyone uses their characteristics to their advantage in being a leader,” synthesized participant Haidee Wesala. 

As a forward-thinker, Dr. Big Mountain had participants pair up and set goals. They were “accountability partners,” with the hopes that duos would stay in touch and be present for the goals’  progression. 
For additional information, questions, or simply to have a discussion on leadership, please contact Dr. Big Mountain at [bigmounm@erau.edu] or pop in at her office in the AFROTC building. She is extremely passionate about this topic and open to sharing.

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