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Leadership Story Podcast

Leadership Story Podcast

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Final Leadership Story Podcast

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Zoe Nielsen, a senior studying Advertising and Communications at the University of Illinois, discusses her experience in a leadership class. She learned about different leadership theories and approaches, with a focus on transformational leadership. Zoe reflects on how she has changed and grown as a leader throughout her college years. She believes that learning about leadership is important because it is a learned skill, and it will be valuable in her future career in advertising. Zoe advises other students to get involved in leadership opportunities on campus. My guest today on the Leadership Story podcast is Zoe Nielsen, who is a senior studying Advertising and Communications at the University of Illinois. I understand that you are taking a course on the foundation of leadership. What have you learned in this leadership class? In this class, I think I've learned a lot about what it means to be a leader in more of an academic sense, where obviously in a class you're not really having as much hands-on experience just because it is a classroom setting. But I think it's been really interesting, especially as someone who's held several leadership positions in registered student organizations on campus, to kind of see what these tactics that I've seen work and maybe not work are actually called and how they're studied, why they're proven to not work. One of the biggest ones I think I've seen be continuously successful is transformational leadership. So this one has four different perspectives, or four different important aspects. That's idealized influence, intellectual simulation, inspirational motivation, and individualized consideration, which really puts the followers of an organization ahead of what the leader's maybe personal goals are. I think that's been probably the biggest takeaway that I've had and something that I think I've consistently seen in my personal life, and now in an academic sense, be considered one of the best forms of leadership. How have you changed since the beginning of the leadership class? I think, honestly, in a leadership class, I think it's been really interesting for me, especially because I am a little bit older, I'm a senior, where I think a lot of my peers in this class, or maybe sophomores, maybe some freshmen, I think it's been interesting for me to kind of see how I, myself, have changed looking at maybe throughout my four years of college, like looking at where I was kind of a little bit more timid my first year of college, where I've really watched myself grow in a leadership sense and a personal sense in a lot of different ways. But I think that's been kind of the most interesting part of this leadership class is watching myself, watching how I've changed in more of an academic sense, with regards to what we've been learning and how I've seen that play out in my real life. OK, why do you think it's important to learn about the different leadership theories and approaches? And along with that, is it leadership something people just do naturally without studying about it? I think it's really important to learn about leadership for several different ways, for several different reasons, mainly because I personally do think that leadership is much so more of a learned skill, where I think that some people, yes, there are natural abilities, like being able to take charge, being a little bit more naturally friendlier, bubblier. But lots of things that have to do with leadership are actually learned skills where you're going to be looking at things like how to get certain groups to respond to you, how to, you know, make followers feel heard in groups and out groups, different types of things like that. And I think that that is something that I found really interesting throughout this course is, you know, how can we engage the people that we're leading? OK, what are your future plans, career plans, and how does learning about leadership apply to those career or life goals? So in my in my career, I think I want to work in the creative side of advertising. So what exactly that means for me can be a little bit different depending on, you know, kind of where I get a job, how I end up. But eventually I want to be doing a lot of I think I want to start out copywriting, but eventually I want to make my way up to be a creative director, which means that eventually I'd be in charge of a creative team. And I don't know if you know a lot about creatives and advertising, but they tend to be a little bit hard headed and a little bit stubborn. So I think that learning about leadership, especially in more of an academic sense, is going to be really helpful to know how to manage people and how to make sure that, you know, you can make sure that people's ideas are heard and things like that, but also kind of make sure that the team is still doing what it needs to do and functioning as it should be and not really losing track of maybe the main goals. OK, and what advice do you have for other students who want to learn more about leadership? My best advice for students who want to learn more about leadership is honestly to kind of get involved. I think there on this campus especially are several different ways to get involved with leadership and whether that means, you know, taking an academic course. Obviously, that's a little bit more of a commitment, but the Illinois Leadership Center has several different opportunities to get involved with leadership, whether that's just a Saturday I program where you kind of can go learn a little bit about a specific topic, whether that's like inclusion. Ignite is another really great one that I did a while back where it kind of teaches you how to like re-spark your followers. But whether that means, you know, you have a few hours or you have a whole semester dedicated for it, there are lots of different ways to get involved in leadership on this campus for sure. OK, great. Thank you so much, Zoe Nielsen, for stopping by today for this episode of the Leadership Stories podcast.

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