In my last week of teaching organizational leadership this semester, my students were asked to make presentations to their classmates surrounding some sort of ethical leadership dilemma. The students were asked to advise the class on what decision should be made by the leaders in the case from an ethical standpoint while paying attention to what made good business, financial, and legal sense. They were then to use the leadership techniques, models, theories, ideas and perspectives from the semester to present a plan of action to address the case.
They did a remarkable job.
In fact, they did such a wonderful job in pulling together all of those pieces, that the presentations gave me new perspectives on a couple of leadership decisions currently facing one of the organizations that I serve as a member of the board of directors. Of course the presentations weren’t perfect. I questioned the accounting on a couple of proposals and some of the ethical justifications were a little weak. Others lacked detail in applying the leadership models we had discussed. All of which gave me one last opportunity to help students make connections to the material as I asked one final set of questions.
And I saw it…
While I was asking those final challenging questions, I saw a couple of final light bulbs come on.
Some were students who had excelled in gathering the information, but had not yet fully put it into practice. Others I had watched struggle to knit the pieces together all semester long. Watching it all begin to click for them is remarkably rewarding. I am so proud in those moments for the students who continue to work until the light finally dawns.
And in those moments, I’m reminded of why I teach leadership. Because they can learn. (Tweet This)
Many of them come with a great deal of leadership potential. Some are naturally influential with their peers. Others are able to speak eloquently and persuasively. Still others think critically and apply ideas readily. But they still need research and theory and practice to really begin to excel in leadership.
Hopefully, my classes give them the opportunity to gain the knowledge they need and to practice in a relatively safe environment.
Though at this point in the semester, I am weary, it is these moments where they succeed in pulling all of the pieces together, that I am inspired anew to
- Tweak a classroom exercise
- Find an even better textbook
- Edit and refine a lecture
- Try out a new teaching tool or technique
Because I’m not done learning any more than my students. (Tweet This)
So, we’re off to a summer “break” where my reading list is longer than the one I had during the semester. But maybe I’ll grab a quick nap first.