December 14, 2005

FISH

As an Office Assistant at the University of Minnesota, we are required to attend training every summer. During the training, we watch the FISH! video and discuss the importance of the contents in the video. It was interesting to hear that some of the students did not like the video and felt that they could never relate the video to their lives or their job as an Office Assistant. How is this possible? I can think of so many ways that you can relate this to any job and honestly I think that the video was self explanatory – choose your attitude, play, make their day, and be there.

Basically you have to choose the right attitude to accomplish anything - even if it is for class. When you are enthusiastic about being in a particular place, your energy shows. In some cases, others also become enthusiastic about their work. Have fun, you only have one life. If you sit back and never do things with others, or laugh here and there, you will be unhappy and bring down the spirits of others. It is important to have good customer service. You want to make sure that people come back to you for your services. By simply being there for the customer you may be able to brighten someone’s day.

I try to follow this method daily at work and in class. At work, I apply these concepts through my customer service at Bailey Hall by basically being there for the residents. So many of the residents walk up the desk just to talk (I think it’s because they think I am very friendly and I am willing to listen if they are having a bad day). Every time I watch the FISH! video, I get more and more ideas on how to improve my business. Although I won't be throwing around any children in my day care there are many ways in which I can play, make the day of individuals, be there and I will definitely be willing to choose my attitude.

When I thought about this video, I thought about myself. I don’t usually get so personal about my life, but I feel that this really relates. There was a time when I was always depressed and at times even didn’t want to be on this earth. I thought that things were so terrible and that there was no way to make things better. You never know what is going through the head's of individuals. By choosing your attitude you can make someones day and maybe even preventing something as serious as a suicide from occurring.

Posted by at at 7:15 PM

December 9, 2005

Class Overview

Where should I begin?

This class was awesome! I really enjoyed being able to do the Teach the Class assignment and final presentation on leaders in the world. I think that these two assignments were most exciting to me because it allowed me to be in my comfort zone. I also like the assignment on logical fallacies. I never really thought about how much people use them every day and probably don’t even realize it. I actually enjoyed writing these blogs and found them very helpful to relieve stress sometimes – just to be able to just sit down and talk about whatever was on my mind (even though I had difficulty setting aside time to do them).

I like your style of teaching. Aimee, you make sure that you consider the students and things that are going on in their lives. You are fair in grading and make sure that the students understand why they got the grades they received. Something else that I noticed about your grading, you were very thorough in telling me what I did well and need to improve on in the future. I think this class is a great class to take to understand how to work in teams and discover our strengths and weaknesses. The only thing I would suggest would be to maybe have smaller group discussions first then big group discussion, but overall, I think the class went well.

The assignments were useful in many ways. Being able to relate the readings and information in class to our own lives made this class more interesting, in my opinion. Of the four years that I have been at the University of Minnesota, I can honestly say that you are one of the few teachers that actually took the time to listen to what we had to say. I think that is a great quality in a leader. I think that I will always remember you and your style of teaching and will be able to apply many of your methods to my future career.


Thank you for everything,

-Jenn-

Posted by at at 1:52 PM

December 6, 2005

Mary Jane (Hem and Haw)

Have you been in a rut like Mary Jane (or Hem and Haw)? What strategies do you use or could you use to be more creative, be more adaptable to change, and improve your overall attitude and outlook?

I’m pretty sure that everyone has been in a situation similar to that of Mary Jane. There are many ways that you can get out of stressful situations. First, you must understand the issue that is stressing you out in the first place. I’m mean, if you don’t know what the problem is, how can you solve it? Stress can interfere with you ability to perform effectively. Having good stress management skills can make your life more enjoyable and healthy.

Once you discover the issue, you should surround yourself in a different atmosphere. Don’t just stay there and be stressed, find something more enjoyable. In cases when others are not motivated, do something about it. Try every technique in the book. Let them know that you are enjoying what you do. If you follow the FISH philosophy, honestly I think that you could actually overcome a lot of the stress that you are encountering. Just by going out of your way to help someone else, you can get away from the stress in your life and in the process, make someone else’s life a little bit easier (at least for that moment).

I think for the most part, I am adaptable to change. I think that I can pretty much go along with the flow but change things when I see necessary. This is a skill that you need in most job or careers as a matter of fact. It is important to get new experiences and think of creative ways to get things done successfully. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Just make sure that you learn from them and not continue to do the same thing over and over again.

In order to improve your overall attitude and outlook, you can take some time to write out your goals. If you made goals in the past, look at where you are now and determine if you are satisfied. Ask yourself, what you have accomplished. If you write out things you will have a better outlook on your future and will be more likely to stick to you goals you want to accomplish.

Posted by at at 8:04 AM

November 29, 2005

Defining Leadership

There are many characteristics that define effective leaders. Today in class, we had a discussion on leadership and listed some characteristics of effective leaders This list included, but was not limited to, being able to motivate, communicate effectively, make changes through people, create a vision, lead by example, being charismatic, proactive, fun, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, actively engaged, respected, trustworthy, optimistic, diplomatic, and grounded. I think that these are good descriptive characteristics of an effective leader. As I was leaving, I began thinking about the question that I asked during class - "is a hands off approach a method of trying to make future leaders?" Well, I was given the quick answer of NO and thought this was very interesting.

After I thought about it for awhile, I was actually able to come up with an example of when this is true - that it is not an approach to create future leaders, but rather an attempt to get the incentive involved (money, benefits, and job security). This summer I had an opportunity to work at the Super Target in Shoreview, Minnesota. It was an awesome experience, but I do not think that the leadership was that great. Yes, I realize that there are various styles of leadership but this seemed to be more of an attempt of the supervisor just wanting to basically get through the day and as stated in class "just come around when there were issues or problems in the department".

In this case, the individual did not have to have the knowledge to lead because he had team members who were more knowledgeable, he was unable to give direction and although the department did well in sales, I would never say that it was based on his leadership abilities. So, I guess the question is, was his inability to lead because of the fact that he was uninterested in the position and was in it for the money? You know, it seems strange that he is even in this position, because of the many people at Target in the Grocery Department; he was one of few with a 4 year degree.

Easy task, for easy money, and a lot of money at that!!

Posted by at at 2:28 PM

Tipping Point Week 11

The Tipping Point was an interesting book and I really got a lot out of reading the chapter on the Stickiness Factor. It was shocking how much people put time and energy into determining what works best for different situations. Blues Clues vs. Sesame Street was an awesome example used to describe the stickiness factor. I never thought about the differences in the show until after I read the book. Knowing that children are still watching these shows proves that they have a certain stickiness to them. Unfortunately, not all shows have the same effect on all children.

As far as the maven and connector, I still don’t know where I fit. I guess that is the only thing that really worries me. Maybe in a way I have a little bit of both, but I don’t really see myself as either.

Posted by at at 2:25 PM

November 10, 2005

Teach the Class

After the "Teach the Class" Presentation, what are you discovering about yourself in the group process (e.g., roles, communication process, social compentencies, motivation level, strengths, weaknesses, attitudes, critiques of others, regrets) and based on what you discovered, what will you do differently in future team projects?

This was an interesting approach to learning how to work in a group. The "Teach the Class" Presentations went well for all of the groups. Everyone seemed prepared and the material was directed toward informing the audience (our class) on various topics. This was a great opportunity to discover our leadership abilities and weaknesses. Overall, I feel that I am an effective leader when it relates to tasks on the job. I think when you know a lot about a particular subject you are better able to show your leadership abilities. I really enjoyed presenting on the topic of Total Quality Management, not only because it is a great topic, but doing the presentation in general.

I love making presentations, and trying to get people to learn. I believe that this is the reason that I want to teach or own my day care in the future. I think that I have a way of getting my point across to people and especially children. Children can see my excitement and become excited to learn the material. It is also very exciting to be able to show your presentation skills and at the same time develop new skills. I enjoy being able to think of new ways to learn. Besides, if you don't like what you are doing, and show that you don't like what you are doing, no one else will be interested.

As far as being a leader in this group, I think that in a way I was a leader. I was able to keep our team on task in many instances. We all contributed leadership qualities which made getting this project together a lot easier. There were times when I didn't know how well this would go, but it all worked in the end. I guess my strengths are being able to present in front of people and take information in a different direction based on past experience. For example, I decided at the last minute to go to the board and draw out a picture so that people could better understand what I was talking about in the presentation. I think that this was because I could read the faces of people either not understanding or getting bored. Being able to just think of this on the spot is a characteristic that a good leader should have.

As far as weaknesses, I was very nevous about presenting. My nervousness keeps me from making sure that things are said in an organized manner. Although, I must say I think I was a bit organized this time even though I was nervous. Other weaknesses include waiting to the last minute and not realizing that one of our group members was not present during the meetings. For the next presentation on webquest, I feel that we will be well prepared and I will make sure that I continue to remind everyone to stay focus even though I am not the official group leader this time around.

Knowing my strengths and weakness will better prepare me for the future. In order to stregthen myself, I must be able to see the whole picture and understand that everyone makes mistakes....No one is perfect. In the future, I will have to work on teams. Stepping up to various leadership positions now will make it a lot easier to take on more leadership roles in the future.

Posted by at at 1:23 PM

Breeze

What did you learn about virtual teams and/or working with breeze?

Today's society has become bombarded with technological advances. From video games to hybrid cars, the world is full of so many different types of technology. The purpose of these new inventions…..to make life easier. Don't get me wrong, I like things that make life easier. My apartment is full of gadgets that I thought would be useful but may be off in the corner sitting in a box (not ever to be used again).

I love computers. I even taught adults and children how to use computers at the library one summer. That doesn't mean that navigating through software and finding information on the internet (for that paper that may be due the next day!) is always that simple. To get to the point, technology can be very difficult and I found that this is especially true when you don't know how to operate the devise, or you just do not have enough equipment to get the ball rollin'.

I finally get onto the Breeze program (30-45 minutes after my team has already left) and low and behold I can't get into the chat room. Well, I discovered that it wasn't my fault and that the computer that I was working on did not have the program needed to run this operation in Breeze. I felt so bad about it but what could I do? I tried emailing everyone to set up a new time to meet, but no response. We were able to talk in class about the assignment so I don't think the group was as motivated to try to get onto the Breeze program again.

Forming virtual groups can have its "up and downs." Well, if you are working on the computer in your home (or apartment), you can just get up and start talking online without getting out of your pjs. Unless of course your computer breaks down and you have to go out in the pouring rain to find another computer to talk online! Good thing this didn't happen to me...well the pouring rain part at least. I was having a bad week anyways so I wasn't too surprised. Back to the point. Virtual groups can be extremely beneficial if you have an international team member. It saves you money from having to call internationally and it also saves money from not having to fly all the way to their destination. You can however, fall into the trap of many people when working on the computer…. you get side tracked (playing games, answering the house/cell phone, or cats rubbing at your feet wanting some attention). You could always lock yourself away in your office or private space and conduct business, but you have to be focused to get things accomplished.

Overall, I learned that there are a lot of pros and cons to having a virtual group. You just have to be in the right frame of mind to make sure that things get done. As far as the future, I am sure that I will encounter having to work with group members via breeze (or a similar program). Someday, if I work for a huge corporation, I am sure that I will remain in contact with people in various areas of the world. Having virtual groups or online connection with people so far away, will save on telephone bills and is more convenient.

Posted by at at 1:21 PM

Dysfunctional Roles (Chapter 3)

Oh my God. I am by far the biggest Pleaser ever. I don’t like to argument and I don’t like to see people disappointed. It makes me sad so I try to please everyone. It can be very stressful though. Every time I turn around, I hear that I let everyone walk all over me. It’s tough when you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’ve a lot better at not trying to please so much. I don’t even know if I was trying to please people or if it was just what came naturally. As I look back over the years, I can think of many times that I was a trying to please someone and things got thrown in my face. I think that it made me look easy to get over on and made me seem like I couldn’t make my own decision. Working in a team, I have learned that it is important not to always try to please everyone because it doesn’t get you anywhere. By the time you try to do what everyone wants, you will probably be back at step one – not knowing what you want as an outcome.

Posted by at at 1:21 PM

Goleman's Personal and Social Compentencies

Rate yourself on Goleman's Personal and Social Competencies (p. 26-27).

There are five elements in which you can rate your personal and social compentences according to Goleman. These elements include self awareness, motivation, self regulation, empathy, and adeptness to relationships. I feel that I have characteristics of each of these elements.

Self Awareness

For a longest time, I felt like I never “fit? (in school and in the world in general). Being a lesbian is not the easiest come to grips with when you are 14 years old. I never really understood it all and was afraid of where this would take me in life. I’d always hear the negative stories of how you would go to H--- when I went the church and it really depressing for me. For quite sometime I wrestle with discovering myself and don’t know if I have a full understanding of everything. I think that emotionally I have figured out who I am, what I stand for, and where I want to go in life. As far as self assessment, I’ve had no chose but to reevaluate myself over and over again. With negative views from society, I always questioned my values and beliefs (not to mention almost all the leadership professors stress values and beliefs in class so I have no choice but to revisit them). I think that taking a lot of things into consideration, I have come along way. As far as self confidence, I have come along way but I still have a long way to go. I think that this is because I was always being compared to my cousins and how well they did in school. It was tough making sure that you got good grades so that you could set a good example for younger cousins. I think that over time, I have gotten better at trusting myself more.

Self Regulation
It is important to be able to adapt to different situations. I have not mastered this yet but think that I am developing the skills necessary to adapt to situations.

Motivation
What makes me tick? I’ll tell you. I am easily motivated if I am interested, but who isn’t? I think that once I get the ball rolling, I can accomplish anything. Motivation, is one of my strengths, in my opinion.

Empathy
This is also one of my greatest strengths. I am pretty good at determining when someone needs to talk or have something on their mind. I think this is because I work at the front desk and get to witness first hand a lot of situations. These situations will help me in the future and help me overcome any obstacles I encounter.

Social Skills
Okay. Well, I am okay with this one when others begin a conversation but I don’t usually start a conversation. This is something that I need to work on in the future.

Posted by at at 1:19 PM

September 29, 2005

Personal Mission Statement

Mission Statement

To be kind, honest, and hardworking while allowing my positivity to show whenever I am encountered by others. To effectively lead others and assist in their adcancement and future sucess. To draw out the highest level of creativity among my employees and strive to educate the children of our furture. With inspiration and belief in a higher being, I know that it is possible to overcome all obstacles and fears. Through this mission statement I will strive to create the best working environment for others by using my knowlegde, skills, networking and other resources to accomplish my goals.

Was it easy to develop? What does it mean mean in regards to my future plans and/or my future?

In this case, my mission statement relates to the development of my own business and how I see myself with my employees and children. As mentioned in my last blog, I want to start my own daycare. I believe that creating my mission statement was relativily easy because I know what I want to do in the future. With some people, I think that creating a mission statement may be difficult because they do not know what they want in life or have not discovered who they really are.

I think that it is important to have a mission statement because it can be used to give yourself direction. By creating a mission statement that is specific could possibly aid in understanding where you are and maybe even help you to decide if you are where you think you should be in life.

What does it mean in regards to my role in a team?

Okay, so this is another reason why I decided to be specific. By creating a general misison statement, it is easy to come up with adjectives describing yourself and your work ethics. However, I feel that there needs to be more information that can be used to determine how you will actually accomplish your mission statement. Mission statements can change as you grow older or get into a field where you decide that you are actually not interested anymore.

As it relates to a team, I find myself to be a leader in cases where I start something....in other words, when I have an idea or some type of creation where I want others to follow, I tend to lead. I think that my mission statement directly relates to how where I see myself in the future and how I see my self managing a team. Being responsible, people and task oriented, I believe that I will be successful in the future.

Posted by at at 11:43 AM