Leadership Johnson County Class of 2016 2-Day Retreat


On Friday, Sept. 11, instead of heading to school like I usually do, I headed to Franklin College to attend my first Leadership Johnson County meeting, which was the opening two-day retreat. Leadership Johnson County is an educational program for citizens of Johnson County. The goal of the program is to develop participants’ leadership abilities and increase their awareness and knowledge of issues facing Johnson County. The program started in 1994 and they now have over 550 graduates from the program. I am currently a member of cohort #22. Earlier this year, I was encouraged to apply for Leadership Johnson County by my former superintendent. A few months after applying, I received my acceptance letter in the mail. I was excited about the opportunity because I love learning about leadership. I can’t begin to tell you how many books on leadership I have read. The opening retreat was packed full of great learning activities and information.

I must say, being back on Franklin College’s campus brought back some memories from when I attended school there (graduated with a degree in elementary education in 2004). In fact, it was a weird feeling to be back at FC on September 11. It was the first time since graduation that I was back on campus on that specific date. Of course, everyone who is old enough to remember the events in 2001 remember exactly where they were and what they were doing during the attacks on the Twin Towers. I remember vividly being in my dorm room in Hoover Hall preparing for a world history class when I heard about the news of the first plane running into one of towers. I still attended my class, but all of the students were a buzz with what was going on. As soon as my class was over, I went back and turned on the news and was just in shock at what was taking place. For days and weeks, you would see students all over campus huddled around televisions watching the news and updates on the search and rescue process. To start out our retreat, we held a moment of silence for the victims, their families, and all of the people who were affected by the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

One of the main purposes of the two-day retreat was to get to know our new cohort members. We have about 35 people in the class of 2016. All of the cohort members either live and/or work in Johnson County. Besides that, the group is very diverse. We have students who were born and raised in different states, are in many different careers and who have vastly different backgrounds. One way we were able to get to know more about each other was by participating in experiential learning activities. We were given tasks in which we had to quickly figure out how to work with one another towards a common goal. During these activities, we learned how our cohort members interact with one another and we learned a lot about the art of working in teams. When we work in teams, it isn’t always about what “I” want or think is best, it is about getting input from all members and coming to an agreement on how to reach the goal. These activities weren’t just fun, they were educational! Getting to learn about different leaders within our community was a great opportunity. Making connections I feel is one of the most important aspects of this program. They want us to reach out to other community members and start forming relationships so that we can work together to start addressing key issues facing Johnson County.

One of my favorite sessions over the two-day retreat was the one on the different leadership styles. To start the session, we had to do a gallery walk and select our favorite leadership quotes from the ones which were posted. After getting an idea of which quotes were the most and least popular, as indicated with small stars, big stars and “Mr. Yuck” stickers, we discussed where the quote came from and what time period the quote came from. Knowing who said the statements and what was going on in the world during that time period really gave us an understanding as to the context of the quotes. My favorite quote was from Robert Greenleaf, who coined the “Servant Leadership” phrase or philosophy. The quote was, “The best test as a leader is: Do those served grow as persons; do they become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become leaders?” Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/648249. This quote spoke to me more than any of the others because I want the people I lead to know that I care for them and that I am there to help them grow themselves.

One of the last activities we did on day two of the retreat was to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality inventory. This is a test that helps you find out about yourself. After taking the test, you find out insights into how you operate, work with others and how your perceive things. It also lets you know areas you can improve on in order to work more effectively with others. I found out that I am an ISFJ. What does that mean? Well, I added a table below to show you my strengths and weaknesses. If you want to know more about my personality or if you want to learn about yours, you can go here: http://www.16personalities.com/isfj-personality. Once we knew about our personalities, we discussed our differences as a group and talked about how to work with those who have different personalities. Of course, this is something that everyone has to be comfortable with in the job world.

Supportive Humble and Shy
Reliable and Patient Take Things Too Personally
Imaginative and Observant Repress Their Feelings
Enthusiastic Overload Themselves
Loyal and Hard Working Reluctant to Change
Good Practical Skills Too Altruistic

Overall, the weekend retreat was great. It was both fun and educational. I learned more about myself, leadership and working with others. I was able to meet new leaders within the Johnson County community and make connections that I would never have been able to make if it weren’t for this program. I’m looking forward to our monthly meetings, our community project and most importantly, improving as a leader.


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