I asked the students from my leadership class for undergraduates at NYU last semester for the three top things they learned, the three things they valued most, and the three things they’d improve. The responses were all anonymous.
I collected the information to know what to keep and what to improve for next year. Some parts might not make sense if you weren’t in the class, but I thought I’d share them to show the results of how I teach leadership. I’d love to read your impressions.
Not all the students responded. Each set of three responses is from a different student.
- I learned that people aren’t necessarily born leaders, that leadership (more importantly, good leadership) can be learned, practiced, and mastered.
- I learned that I can be my biggest roadblock to my own success as well as the biggest positive influence.
- I learned that no matter rank, position, status, anyone can lead anyone else.
- I really valued how the Professor allowed us to apply course techniques / exercises to our personal everyday lives.
- I really valued getting to practice exercises in class and do any necessary troubleshooting.
- I actually liked having public journals—I learned a lot from reading my peers’ posts.
- Regular feedback on blog posts from Professor
- More group interactions in class
- Present overall class project to class—curious to know what other people did for their projects.
- Become more introspective about my current leadership roles and the tweaks I could make to communicate more effectively and be a “better” leader
- The assignments made me diligently practice where I otherwise would not have.
- I liked the historical context in the final class. Bringing that in earlier in the semester would be useful to help contextualize our exercises.
- Learning the most from real life practice
- To better understand the beliefs of others
- To better understand how what you do can impact others
- The group work
- The historical examples
- The leadership project
- More group discussions
- More videos
- More guest speakers
- Real-world application of exercises
- Useful tools and exercises to develop self, other, and team leadership
- Meaningful connections!!!
- Guest speakers
- Professor’s knowledge / experience
- Input from class’s peers
- Group work between entire class
- More concentrated final project
- More video and interview content?
- Self-awareness is a huge part of leadership.
- Motivating others requires making others feel understood.
- Leadership is not just a cliche about “leading by example” or other vague tenet—it involves more interaction and engagement.
- Opportunity to learn from guest speakers.
- Opportunity to learn from others not in Stern about their leadership applications at school.
- Opportunity to engage in small group discussion.
- Professor should maintain objectivity, see others’ arguments through and acknowledge when an exercise is not working as it should
- More organization, course planning, clarity in deadlines/timelines for exercises in assignment descriptions posted on NYU Classes
- More open classroom
- Our attitudes / beliefs determine our emotions
- You can easily change your emotions
- You need to be able to effectively lead yourself before you can lead others
- Learning how to lead myself
- The environment to share our experiences
- Improving my leadership skills
- More meetings
- More readings
- More discussions in class
- I learned a lot about myself. How to be self-reflective.
- I learned how to empathize with others.
- I learned how to communicate with others in a confident way.
- I valued the exercises.
- I value the connections I made with others from the exercises.
- I value the type of learning (experiential)
- I would improve how much time we put into the exercises. Give more time to each exercise.
- I would improve the class setup.
- I would improve classroom engagement.
- Leadership isn’t only about leading others.
- How to connect effectively with others.
- Changing beliefs.
- Learning to lead others.
- Learning about my inner monologue.
- Group project.
- More speakers
- More group activities /in and out/ [not sure what that means]
- Implementing video and other material
- I think the most important thing that I learned was how to understand my own motivations / emotions and how to find the beliefs / emotions / passions of others. The understanding of the Human Emotional System was very important in developing my leadership.
- I valued the opportunity to generally think critically about my leadership skills.
- I would improve the class by scheduling it as two sessions per week so that it’s easier to maintain focus on the week’s exercises.
- Having others discuss their passions is a great way to get to know and understand them
- Leadership is about aligning passions and emotions with tasks
- We must learn to lead ourselves before we can lead others
- Real world examples of difficult decision-making / leadership
- Discussions among students about how they are or want to overcome problems in their lives
- Homework that focused on applying skills
- Utilize the Socratic method
- Have more in-class discussion
- Use case studies to demonstrate successful or poor leadership
- Importance of leaders to be able to listen to his or her people (ex. JFK)
- Application of leadership due to the overlap of leadership and management
- Communicating with others (How to avoid imposing one’s beliefs or shutting them down)
- Doing things we learned in the class for our leadership project. Gives us purpose and meaning to the exercises.
- The exercises! (3 raisins and feedforward were the best)
- Self-evaluation. Nice way to take responsibility for one’s work
- Less long group work / exercises. I felt that there was too much chatting.
- A lot of the lectures were off of the slides. Makes it a little less engaging.
- Make the class pass/fail.
- The meaning of leadership
- How to understand myself
- How to motivate people
- The willingness to give
To improve (I think this person interpreted improved to mean where they improved the most)
- Connect people’s passion to my needs
- Change myself
- Importance of understanding and showing [sharing?]
- Understanding myself
- How to make immediate connections
- Different models of leadership
- Different understandings of leading
- Understanding self
- More interactions
- Acknowledge emotions
- Think about what your desired outcome is
- The models—specifically the last one
- People need to talk in class.
- Class discussions. We should go around in a circle
- Emotional reflection
- Behaviors—internal vs. external
- Allocating passions to task
- Learning from within first
- Networking skills
- How inner passions drive it
- Make more small group discussions
- Love guest speakers
- More application to leadership skills
- Learned about understanding others / asking questions to make people feel understood
- Learned about Feedforward
- Learned about experiential leadership
- I value learning about making people feel understood
- I value learning about values
- I value learning about leadership in general
- Class should meet twice a week rather than once
- There should be more students involved in the class conversation (rather than just a lecture)
- You should do the grading rather than the students
- About negotiation
- How to empower people
- The activities
- The autonomy
- The real-life lessons from it
- More theory-based lessons
- More group activities
- Better relevance of the course material
- Understand yourself first
- There’s always a way
- Other people matter. Their motivations / passions matter
- Guest speakers
- Applicable tools
- Your passion
- Group work
- Consistent exemplars
- More Josh cards! [I think this means the cards I made that described two exercises]
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book