Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

My first course taught me that Leadership is fluff; they may be right ;-P

So my first course was Leadership, and I've conflicting feelings about it.  As it's officially complete, I can now post this ;). The course itself was good - interesting and current collection of sources, good facilitated discussion, multiple perspectives of different issues, touched on cultural diversity and how the role of the leader (and followers) change depending on where you are in the world, etc.  As it's an area I'm very interested in, I really enjoyed all of this.

What I really did *not* enjoy was the writing.  I can see the question marks in your eyes from here ;).  As some of you may know, I *love* to write.  And by the end of my academic career, I was picking courses somewhat based those that have you write papers rather than exams.  So my first paper I wrote a reasonably strong academic paper, and, because the requirements were somewhat ambiguous, threw in a paragraph of what I deemed to be "fluff".   I got an atrocious grade and the comment was basically the fluff was excellent and the rest all academic.  Uh - yeah, it's a masters program.  *sigh*.  But no, it was clear they wanted fluff.

So at this point, I'd already finished my second paper, but with that feedback went back and rewrote it all to be fluff.   One of the hardest things I've done in recent times was to turn in this paper, that I considered crap -- especially knowing that I'd also written a good one.  But I was reasonably certain they wanted fluff - and, well, I can write for my audience.

Sure enough, that paper did much better, albeit still not the grades I'm used to getting.   So then paper three.  Bring on the fluff.  There was *nothing* redeemable in that paper.  Honestly, I'd be embarrassed to share it.  It was a combination of fluff and fiction.  And it did well enough to significantly improve my final grade.  *sigh*

I do recognize and acknowledge that what they're trying to ensure we can apply the academics - which, fair enough.  But the approach was the opposite of useful for me and just turned into an act of frustration.  Although admittedly very real-life business scenario.  I can't imagine there are too many of us who haven't had to write, say, or do something we know is wrong to stroke the ego of someone who didn't read the leadership textbook ;)

So yeah, while I liked the learnings of the course, I was very frustrated with the assessment process.  I would've learned and internalized a lot more by writing about the academics rather than how it applies to my little world.  I'm taking this program to expand my world, not be stuck in it.

That being said, now I'm into Marketing and Operations.  Which both claim to be the most critical process to any business ;).  Onward and upward.


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