Where leaders are made

West Des Moines Leadership Academy

West Des Moines Leadership Academy

To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult. Friedrich Nietzsche

Is leadership a skill you develop or is it an ability that you are born with?  I was at the West Des Moines Chamber luncheon a few days ago and they featured two speakers from the West Des Moines Leadership Academy.   They spoke briefly about two major concepts that are covered at the Leadership Academy.  Dr. Anthony Paustian spoke about how we need to organize our day and reduce the clutter in our life.  This is the Leading Self component that is the first focus in the class.  Kristy Runyan who spoke on large scale problem solving and how she has done that with Agile Framework.  This is the Leading a Team component that you work on second in the Leadership Academy.

As a member of the West Des Moines Leadership Academy Class of 2013 I learned three things.

1. Leading and growing yourself.

If you want to be a great leader you must be able to lead yourself and have things together.  The Leadership Academy started with our group learning how to motivate ourselves and stay focused on our goals.  Dr. Paustian spoke to our class about the “Law of Attraction”, where depending on our thoughts that is what we attract.  If we focus on positive outcomes we will attract positive results and of course the reverse is true as well.

2. Leading and growing your team and organization.

We learned about Situational Leadership in leading a team component with Tammy Rodgers from the Meyvn Group.  The main idea behind Situational Leadership is we meet people we lead at there level.  We need to identify where our team members are in their competency level and experience.  As they gain experience we move from directing to coaching.

3. Giving back to your community.

We spent a class on why we should give back and how we could give back.  Our class started with us meeting representatives from many local social services in our community.  One that really hit us all very hard was the amount of children in West Des Moines that don’t get enough food at home and at school.  A group of our classmates created a way for the Booster Pak program to get some additional funding.

After we talked to these groups we got to participate it what was called a “Poverty Simulation.”  This was an eye opening experience that showed us all with low income and some bad luck your life can go out of control.   Classmates were put into families and given scarce resources and tried to navigate through many issues.

I would recommend the West Des Moines Leadership Academy to everyone.  I learned a lot of great skills and met some great group of people.  They are now accepting applications for next fall’s class.  Apply here!

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