Winter Break

Thursday, November 20, 2008
Well, I got my final paper back from my professor yesterday for my Nations, Cultures and Peoples class.

I thoroughly enjoyed this class, and the professor was as interesting and demanding as he was for my Law, Politics and Policy class. Yay, higher education!

So I'm on winter break until January 8th, where I will be attending a course simply entitled Leadership. From the catalog:
What is leadership and how do leaders lead? Can leadership be learned? What skills do 21st century leaders need? This course provides an opportunity to examine leadership theories, to develop a personal understanding of leadership, and to explore the relations of leaders and followers. The essential skills of effective leaders are explored, such as elaborating a vision, facilitating communication, working with groups and teams, overseeing finances, and facilitating change. Students will be encouraged to examine systematically their own leadership potential as they reflect on historical and contemporary examples of effective business and political leaders as well as leaders of causes and social movements.
Why, you may ask, would I take such a course after enjoying 140 hours of leadership training at the hands of the U.S. Navy? Answer: I wouldn't. It's required for my degree program, and the University will not take my Navy leadership training in lieu of this class. The two textbooks required for this class are The Leadership (LPI): Self Instrument, and The Leadership Experience.

Yeah.

I am hopeful the class won't make me want to stab my carotid artery with a butter knife, but don't place any bets on my continued mental health.

15 comments:

Random Michelle K said...

Perhaps you should let your instructor know before the class begins about your previous experience. If you're luck and the instructor is good, maybe she'll have your share your experience with the class, to make things a little more interesting.

John the Scientist said...

Uh, Michelle, instructors like that in classes like this are few and far between. I mean, come on, what does the average academic siloed in their own head know about group interactions? Sure, they may study those group interactions, but they have no BS filter borne of experience when it comes to forumlating hypotheses. And they don't like it when the real world intrudes on those hypotheses.

About 20% of the stuff in this class will be good. 70% will be useless or fluff. And the other 10% will have Janiece reaching for the butter knife. I speak from sad experience, here. She's probably going to have a whole unit on Meyers-Briggs. At least she can amuse herself by changing answers on the more ambiguous questions back and forth to make herself come out as a different personality type if they take the test multiple times. Sometimes it's to your advantage to be seen as the class schizo. :D

Do tell me if they use Killman's stuff. I'll tell you why at the other place.

Eric said...

Pah! I can tell you everything you need to know about leadership:

*It helps to have a gimmick. A gimmick can be as simple as a sinister stare, but add an eyepatch to it and you have something special! Shaving your head or growing a goatee can also make for a simple but effective gimmick. A pet can work as an acceptable gimmick (especially something like a trained wolf or a tiger), but even something as simple as a parrot or purebred white cat can work as a gimmick if you're menacing enough to radiate a sense of "I'm secure enough in my force of personality to always have a kitten in my lap."

*Let 'em know who's boss. A flunkie who thinks he can turn something in late or that it's acceptable to miss and you'll just forgive him is useless and a threat to the health of your organization. A flunkie who thinks a simple mistake will result in his being fed to sharks or pushed out of an airplane with no parachute is a flunkie who will plant the explosives in a hard-to-get-at part of the automobile.

*Let 'em know who has the brains. Followers who don't know about your laser cannon or don't have a grasp of the remarkable mind-control properties of your nanites are followers who may wonder "who made you boss?" That's why it's important for an effective leader to lecture everybody about what he or she is doing at any available opportunity. Don't be afraid to show off your superior intellect to rivals, either: it might seem like a bad idea to tell a British intelligence operative where the launch codes are stored, but in doing so you display your superiority to your followers--and it's not like the spy is going anywhere!

*Lasers. I cannot emphasize this point enough. A good leader has laser motion detection systems in important storage locations and airvents, laser facial-recognition scanners guarding secure areas, defensive lasers in vital hallways, gigantic lasers for destroying airplanes and buildings, orbital lasers for altering the weather. You cannot have too many lasers. I suggest even carrying one of those laser pointer-pens in your pocket, so that you have a laser on you at all times. Laser.

*Simple plans are easier to foil. An effective leader always utilizes the most complicated mission planning possible. Think of it this way: if your plan is as simple as going in with guns and holding up a bank, well the only thing that needs to happen to cause your plan to fail is for someone to find out where the bank is and surround it with police. But if your plan involves having five "dummy" teams robbing banks as a diversion while your top operative is stealing the crown jewels as part of an elaborate trade of gems for climate-changing-laser parts involving a former Soviet scientist who is working for the North Koreans in the guise of a dead French florist--that's a lot for someone less intelligent than yourself to keep track of, and there's a good chance you'll be happily launching your weather-control satellite while some yahoo from a major intelligence agency is still standing in a florist's shop in Nice trying to figure out why the backroom is full of back issues of Pravda.

And I think that about covers it! Tell your school you have it down already, and go ahead and tell them about the smuggled reactor plans (it will be a good chance to practice "letting 'em know who has the brains).

Glad to help.

Konstantin said...

Interesting. In my MBA program Leadership class was one of the first ones.

Unfortunately, for the life of me, I can not remember what was it about.

One of those, take and forget courses.

Janiece Murphy said...

I'm sure I'll get through it - it just irks me that I have to take the class at all.

And I may just steal Eric's ideas for my final paper and justify it as the "Butter Knife Defense."

Welcome, Konstantin.

This isn't an MBA program (heaven forfend!). It's just a required class. I typically take one interesting class, followed by a required snooze-fest, repeat. The winter quarter is of the snooze-fest variety.

The Mechanicky Gal said...

Weeellll, having shared those inane Navy Leadership courses (although I DID, ahem, createa completion certificate for many years) I can agree - snoozefest.
Just hide another book in your textbook, load some movies on your iPod, or listen to another book. Not having your head explode will be all the thanks I need for these handy hints.

Janiece Murphy said...

Amy, it's an on-line class, so I think I can B.S. my way through it pretty effectively.

Tania said...

Crap. My sympathies. My HR class was like that.

Maybe you can use the time to study your classmates and get insights into their thought processes?

John the Scientist said...

"This isn't an MBA program (heaven forfend!)."

Hey, hey, hey! I resemble that remark. :D

Karl said...

I welcome students to bring their experiences to class - it brings the lessons home in a real way - like the "what would I ever use algebra for in real life?" questions/answers. I hope you get to share. The eyepatch wouldn't have the same effect (live class v. online), though it has some merit. ;)

Amy (The Mechanicky Gal), is that a Viking ship I see behind you?

Janiece Murphy said...

Welcome, Karl.

I'm happy to share my experiences if it seems appropriate to do so.

I'm just being pissy because I don't think I should have to take this class...

Jim Wright said...

Bawhahaha, have fun with that, Senior Chief.

Especially with the fishbone diagrams and Gnatt charts. yeah.

Also, the answer on the test is not: Because I said so, Numbnuts.

Bawahahahahaha!

Jim Wright said...

Prof: "Miiiiz Murphy, will you please stop grinding your teeth and making that 'TONG!' noise? You're scaring the other students."

Jim Wright said...

"Put the shovel down, Murphy"

"Help! Security!"

Janiece Murphy said...

They'll need more than security to keep me down.

Being kept down by the Man.

Yeah, that's me.