Student Reflections: USNA Leadership Conference, Part 2

In Leadership, Student Stories, Undergraduate Students, Wharton on April 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Our latest series of student reflections focuses on a group of undergraduates who attended the US Naval Academy conference, Leadership Development: The Cycle of Success in February 2011.  Students from over 20 different schools, military and civilian, gathered in Annapolis, MD for three days of leadership development workshops and experiences.

Three Wharton undergrads, Colin Lee (W’11), Patrick Glover (W’11) and Christian Hoogerheyde (W’11) reflected on the lessons learned from the conference that they hope to share with their successors in undergraduate Wharton Leadership Ventures and with the Wharton community broadly.  This is Part 2 of a 3-part series.

Part 2: Patrick Glover, W’11
Patrick GloverFor me, the biggest takeaway was that the most effective leaders are those that know themselves best. Introspection is key. The conference has taught me the importance of identifying my own personal leadership strengths and weaknesses. Colonel Arthur Athens, US Naval Academy’s Director of the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership, really impacted me when he spoke about identifying your “sweet spot”.  The “sweet spot” is the situation and environment in which we lead at our best. Identifying this can help us all become better leaders across a range of different situations. We should strive to put ourselves in “sweet spot” situations and take action once we identify such situations. But perhaps even more importantly, we need to recognize when we are outside of our “sweet spot”; in these cases we can look to others for leadership. I had never thought about leadership from a “sweet spot”, but it makes complete sense to me now.

I’ve been inspired to identify my own personal sweet spot to help me become a better leader. Personality tests (such as the Myers-Briggs and Strengthsfinder) were helpful tools but Colonel Athens was right when he said that the most valuable tool is talking to those who have seen me as a leader: my teammates, my friends, my coworkers, and my family.

I really enjoyed hearing from the breadth of speakers at the conference, each one had a valuable lesson. Following are some of my other favorite takeaways:

  • Set clear goals for yourself and for your leadership development
  • Leadership starts with strong virtues, morals, and character
  • Surround yourself with people that complement your strengths/weaknesses
  • Dedicate time for leadership development by reflecting, reading, or learning
  • Spend your time studying people and how they think.
  • Learn a wide variety of things – dabble in your interests.
  • Always be on time. It will create a culture of efficiency, punctuality, and respect.
  • Listen to people. The cheapest investment you will ever make.
  • The call to service does not always come at a convenient time – be prepared to act.

Patrick Glover is a senior at Wharton concentrating in Marketing and Finance, and is an outgoing WLV Advisory Board member. He loves dogs and learning new languages, and studied abroad in Hong Kong.  After Wharton, he will join Google as a product marketing manager in San Francisco, CA.


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