So, in my Organizational Behavior class we had to do a "Personal Development Project" at the end of the semester. It was pretty open-ended...anything we wanted to do just so long as it involved what we learned from the semester.

I liked mine. Haha...that sounds conceited. But it's something I wrote, and normally the things I write mean something to me. We actually presented these, and I think it's better if you hear it. But I did write mine out, so I may as well share it.


Through this class, I kept realizing how a lot of the theories include things that my parents applied with me all the time when I was growing up without either of us realizing they were doing it. Here's some of those concepts.

People like compliments. People like being recognized for the work they've done -- and they're willing to work harder when they know that someone's paying attention. Kids LOVE compliments, love being able to show you what they've accomplished. I know of a little girl who was coloring a picture for her sister, and she wrote on the top, "I love my sister, she is beautiful." She spelled the word beautiful right, and her mom was proud of her so she called her grandma to brag about the little girl's accomplishments. Later the little girl came home from school yelling to her mom about how she learned to pump her legs to swing and asking if they could call Grandma to tell her about it. People of all ages need to know that someone else cares and someone believes in them.

It's good to know what's going on. When my aunt and uncle were going through a divorce, one of the things the child advocate for my cousin stressed was getting him into a routine so he'd know what to expect and when he'd be with mom and when he'd be with dad. I remember when I was little, like 4 or 5, before we went anywhere my mom would say, "okay, remember, we're going to leave at this time, so no whining when it's time to go, okay?" And when it was getting close to being time to leave my mom would remind me I had about ten minutes left to play. I didn't feel like my mom was pulling me away from my friends because I knew what to expect.

Granted, as adults, we've gotten a little better at adapting to change -- but no matter what age we are, knowing expectations makes things easier. I've switched my major twice, and during those times when I realized what I was going to school for wasn't right and that I needed to change I felt lost until I sat down and figured out a new route and new expectations. Which leads to...

Goals are important. I started setting New Year's Resolutions when I was in grade school. I've known what goals are for years -- but their importance is so much greater at this point in my life than it was when my goals were to beat the next level in Mario Kart. Knowing how goals should be specific and measurable and attainable helps me create goals to get me where I want to be in five years when there isn't a clear path from one grade to the next for me to follow.

Often, when we're little, our parents are the coolest people alive. And then we reach our teenage years and our parents fall off that pedestal and become frustrating when they're trying to help us learn harder life lessons than learning to pump our legs to swing or spell the word beautiful. We don't understand why we can't do something we want to because we don't have the knowledge to, or because we're upset with them, and sometimes we don't understand because our parents might actually be at fault. But they're doing the best they can at the hardest job they'll ever have because they love us. When we're bratty teenagers who give nothing back, they're still giving for us.

Remembering that about parents gave me greater respect for leaders. Leaders aren't comparable to parents in all ways -- but leading is a lot of giving and not always a lot of getting. It's dealing with everyone's frustrations in addition to their own, it's motivating everyone around them without having anyone behind them to keep them motivated, it's doing the best they can for the organization and it's making mistakes without knowing how to fix them.

This class helped remind me that whether I'm in a leading position or not, I should remember that leading is hard and honorable, and a job worthy of respecting.

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