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Business Students Design Leadership Strategy

Imagine a class of 28 students ages 19-47, who hail from 16 countries, speak six different languages and practice three different religions. Now imagine designing a leadership strategy to meet the needs of all class members.Said diversity exists in Dr. Michele Simms’ Business Communication class, and the students were challenged to elect one team of students to lead the class for a day.

The Cameron School of Business educates students of diverse backgrounds, teaching professional skills necessary for a changing global economy. This class exercise puts into practice the University’s mission to educate leaders of faith and character to think critically, communicate effectively, lead ethically and succeed professionally.

Business Communication (MGMT 3320) is an experienced-based class that focuses on working in teams, leadership and diversity.This lesson in leadership was based on an article, “Why Should Anyone Be Led By You?,”published in the Harvard Business Review September 2000.   Simms continues to use this exercise every semester.

“The title alone of this article is riveting;it creates healthy competition between teams and challenges students to think about what it means to be a leader,” Simms said. “Students grow as a result of this exercise, which is often a turning point in the class.”

After reading the article, students get into six self-selected groups to create a presentationto persuade their peers that they were the team to lead the class.The winning group, as voted by their peers, was Anthony Ableman, Cindy Castillo, Jose Garcia, Karmen Rouhana and Elisabet Salinas. Group Double 1-7 will lead the class on Wednesday April 20th.

Read what students in the class learned from the exercise about professional communication, leadership and diversity:

Matthew Gaston
“The diversity in the class became evident because no two groups came up with similar presentations. Everyone had their own style or own ideas when it came to persuading the class that they were the best suited to lead.

“Professional communication involves more than just putting across your view in a way that you think is best, it is more about listening, rather than just hearing. It is about being wise in what you say so that the person listening will not misperceive your intended message.”

AngelaAndrea Varela
“My group and I learned that the best ideas are those derived from a multiplicity of persons, each unique from the other.The best leaders are those whose thought processes and methods of thinking are not restrictive, but open and whose background is diverse and reflective-or at least understanding- of others.

Amorée Walker
Leadership is important to drive results and hold people accountable.  Sometimes groups do have people that get distracted and too much chit-chat may result instead of getting work done.  A leader helps the team stay on track.

Anthony Ableman
“The class has taught me that mutual agreements, group consensus, and lucid communication can be the difference between a great group and a mediocre group. Personally, this class has taught me about leadership. Good leadership is not a position that is appointed or given. Good leaders are not those with only their title to show for it. Good leaders have to go beyond normal duty. Good leaders must bring talents, abilities, cohesiveness, insight, or some other ability which draws more from the group. The correlation here is also that good leaders must be great communicators. This has been the most valuable insight I have personally taken from this class.