By Desirae Acosta , Global Ambassador, AYLP.
Today the students were presented with four different types of leadership using characteristics of birds as examples. The dove is a peaceful leader who often puts others before themselves. The owl is analytical and puts a lot of thought before taking action. The peacock is a performing leader who is very outgoing. Lastly, there is the eagle. The eagle takes action quickly and usually dominates in a group setting,
The students were able to choose which bird/type of leader they believed they were. When each group presented their strengths and advice for other birds there was a bit of an uproar. The students began to become competitive which led to each group being defensive. I was overwhelmed by the emotion in the room and was anxious to see if students were going to see beyond their own groups.
Thanks to Dr. Geller she was able to calm down the scene. She explained that there is no “right” type of leader. An eagle can benefit from working with a dove and every successful group has a diverse group of leaders. One thing I noticed was that although some groups were louder than others, there was a pretty even amount of students in each category. This proved Dr. Geller’s point perfectly because all of these students are leaders, successful leaders who are already making differences in their lives as well as others. The students began to show respect and started asking questions to truly understand each different leadership type.
I was impressed with how quickly the students were able to change the mood of the activity and take away a valuable lesson in appreciating differences. The students’ passions for learning and ability to be so resilient to strong emotions have actually impressed me throughout this whole process. I’ve participated in similar exercises in groups with students my age and they were not willing to genuinely learn the lesson and kept the competitive mentality afterwards.
Each day these students are inspiring me to become a better person–to love more, learn more and do more. Once the program is over all the leaders will fly back to their nests, but we will always remember that leaders who flock together will always soar toward success.