Olson outlines leadership qualities

Deborah Olson, professor of management and leadership, discusses leadership improvement through developmental activities Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room. Her discussion focused on ways employees can improve their own capacity to take more active leadership roles. / photo by Terrence Lewis

Joshua Bay
Staff Writer

Deborah Olson, professor of management and leadership, looked at leadership development steps in her lecture “Leadership Emergence: Development Activities that Impact Growth and Performance” Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room.

Olson presented three qualities for success as a leader including interpersonal versatility, quick-wittedness and the ability to adapt.

Building relationships and finding mentors are important to grow as a leader, Olson said.

“Meaningful outcomes depend on the use of a leader’s talent,” Olson said. “Leaders will optimize their performance by linking their strengths to their activities.”

Olson explained how adaptation and building resilience are important skills to have as a leader. She said gaining insight through internships or job experiences would not only build a leader’s credibility, but also facilitate growth.

Olson showed a video of TED Talk speaker Drew Dudley, who discussed the significance of the small things people do that make them successful leaders. In the video, Dudley explained how he gave a lollipop to a distressed woman he did not know.

The woman was so appreciative of his generosity that she invited him to her wedding several years later. This demonstrated how people do not realize they make other people’s lives better every day.

Olson used Dudley’s speech to redefine leadership through lollipop moments and celebrate everyday acts that improve the lives of those around us.

Professor of Business and Public Management Jack Meek said he believes having someone assess a person’s work will increase leadership capabilities.

“We can bring out leadership in students by recognizing their own interests and zeroing in on them in relationship with what we’re trying to achieve in the classroom,” Meek said.

Freshman chemistry major Amy Loebs agreed with the different points Olson made in the lecture.

“When we’re in a work environment, we need to notice our strengths and what we want to work on instead of trying to improve something we aren’t very good at,” Loebs said.

Loebs particularly enjoyed this part of Olson’s faculty lecture because she said she believes leaders need to focus on positive outcomes to be successful.

“Embracing positivity in both your work and others’ work will help you become a better leader in the long run,” said Loebs.

Joshua Bay can be reached at joshua.bay@laverne.edu.

Terrence Lewis

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