The B.S. in O.L.

A pessimist sees the glass as half empty.
An optimist sees the glass as half full.
A leader takes initiative to flag down the barkeep and order another round.

To recap from last post, this is the blonde leading the blonde, a blog attempt I have finally decided to pursue after years of contemplation and one that will address topics in organizational leadership and beyond, I’m in my last semester of my undergrad with .83 “free elective” credits taunting my expected Spring graduation, suckness is the confirmed proper spelling, and Bambi’s mother is dead. Excellent, we’re ready to move on.

I was taught at a young age that the key to successful writing is to engage your audience. So, let’s engage shall we.

I want you to pretend you’re holding a quarter between the bottom edge of your left brow bone and the uppermost crest of your left cheek. Now, holding tight to that quarter, smile as big as you can without exposing any teeth while simultaneously cocking your right eyebrow as if you’ve just been beguiled or possibly received rather confusing information. That face is the exact response from those with whom I discuss my major. It’s a strange combination of intrigue yet perplexity conveyed in one facial reaction. Though thoroughly entertaining, I am never sure how to properly respond to it, if a proper response to such a face can even exist.

After my initial super inept attempt to respond with a charming and endearing chuckle, pretending their much-needed detailed explanation does not spike my social awkwardness, I go on to say something like, “Yeah, no one is quite sure what it means,” which, actually, is not an inaccurate statement. It’s one of those all-encompassing majors that does not confine you to one specific field while, at the same time, is so all-encompassing that it does not seem to give any direction to potential use. It’s a major that allows you to think, “Wow, just imagine everything I could do with this after I graduate!” as you also cry yourself to sleep questioning, “What the hell am I even going to do with this after I graduate?!”

(or so I hear this can happen)

Have I persuaded you to pursue your B.S. in organizational leadership?

Yeah, yeah, yeah

This post is not intended to hype organizational leadership nor act as some promotional push so I can play teacher’s pet to my independent study advisor; although, I am definitely not above a little kissing up, so, Brenda, if you want to drop some hints how I can do that, the comment section follows this post. If I am going to blog about organizational leadership, however, it seemed appropriate to spend some time addressing what it even is. But if you so happen to pursue OL after this, then mention that I referred you and you will receive no special treatment.

By the way, we students and staff refer to organizational leadership as OL to save time and syllables so I’m going to enforce that here, too.

OL is defined as a multidisciplinary focused program that studies communication and administrative skills complemented by the analysis of leadership theory and practice. Inherently, it is a business and communication hybrid with an emphasis on managerial proficiencies.

We can all agree it has a very pretty definition. Pretty doesn’t always mean coherent though, so, what does it mean? Leadership is a term we often throw out there with an assumption it’s a simplistic concept, but, when it is applied intently, it has a much greater depth.

OL is the study of the people side of organizations, the side that is responsible for managing others and assuring the people are running as smoothly as the business. Those who are adept for such a program often exhibit strengths in taking initiative, problem solving, teamwork, critical thinking, sound judgment and decision-making, listening and conflict management. They are the driving forces behind employee morale. They are concerned with attaining an environment that works to achieve progress of individuals while also achieving progress of the business at large. They are the Mufasas of the real world, if you will, to keep to our Disney-themed references.

(also, can we take a second to mourn the fact that it was recently revealed Mufasa and Scar aren’t actually brothers and our childhoods have all been a lie?)

On a lighter note, let’s breakdown OL one step further using an analogy with the beloved childhood game of capture the flag. If you’ve never played, we’ll go over a quick rundown. Players form two teams and designate their own “territory.” Each team then positions their flag on their respective territories. The flags can be in plain sight, or if you’re feeling fancy, they can be hidden. The objective of the game is for players to capture the opposing team’s flag and race it back to their home territory without being tagged by an opponent. At any time a player is tagged during play, that player is then confined to the designated jail of the other team until tagged “free” by a teammate. The game ends when a team has stolen the other’s flag and successfully transferred it to their territory.

Capture the Flag DRAMATIC.jpg

Now, there are many variations to capture the flag so don’t quote me on these being exact rules. Please always consult your friends and/or foes before playing to clarify what version you will be employing during play.

So, why capture the flag? Trust me, there is a point. Well, if you are a diehard enthusiast such as I, you know it is as much mental as it is physical. One does not simply run willy nilly with no prior thought and assume they’ll reign dominant.

The expert flaggers assign team leaders and that leader implements a strategy in which each remaining player is assigned a position that utilizes their strengths. Such positions include the attacker- a player whose sole purpose is seizing the opposing flag-, the diverters- players whose sole purposes are pretending they are after the flag when, in reality, they are drawing attention away from the true attacker-, and the taggers- players whose sole purposes are to tag the opposing team members. The leader typically floats between positions depending on what need is most present; however, they are often the ones responsible for freeing their jailed teammates. Each job may be separate, but they are, by far, all equal.

Now, I either just greatly impressed you or you’re asking yourself how much my friends are paid hourly to hang out with me.

Seriously, trust me, I do have a point to such an elaborate narrative regarding a child’s game. And the point is this in the most simplistic of terms (that shall be elaborated upon in future posts): the teams that more often succeed are the ones with strong leaders.  Even more so, the teams that succeed have a leader that knows their team, respects their strengths and works toward the goal of their team as a whole. A game that could seem so simplistic from an outside perspective has an undeniable depth and, when you devote the effort to see the depth, it becomes something greater.

Have I persuaded you to pursue OL now? Regardless if I have, at the very least, I hope the concept of OL (but more importantly capture the flag) has been made clear and every subsequent post will have a foundation from which we can build.

So, this is the blonde explaining organizational leadership. And a few concepts in-between.

2 Replies to “The B.S. in O.L.”

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