MIT graduate and undergraduate students will get a renewed opportunity to develop as effective leaders this year through the MIT L.E.A.D. (Lead, Engage, Act, Develop) program. Now in its second year, MIT L.E.A.D. is offering new workshops, expanded online resources and a series of leadership lunches.
Sponsored by the Student Activities Office (SAO), L.E.A.D. provides intentional and easily accessible forms of leadership training for students and student organizations. The program offers workshops and online resources to help students sharpen and hone their leadership skills and learn what it takes to make a student organization successful.
Last year, more than 150 students, both undergraduate and graduate, attended the workshops. "The program has been received positively by students, especially in its second year," says Leah Flynn, assistant dean and director for student leadership and engagement programs. "Students realize these programs are available and valuable, they have heard from their peers that it has been helpful, and they are eager to get started."
Workshops such as Student Organizations 101 teach students how to balance their many responsibilities effectively, ensuring success for the student leader and the organization. "Many student leaders find that the juggling act of being involved in organizations while trying to do their best in their academic work can prove to be difficult," says Alana Hamlett, assistant director for SAO. "It can feel like they are being pulled in many different directions when both responsibilities are important and students want to put adequate time into each."
Another important aspect for students is learning how to manage interpersonal relationships while in a leadership position, a concern addressed in one of this year's new workshops, "Controversy with Civility," which will teach techniques to address differences of viewpoints.
"Whether it is working with colleagues, friends or individuals that don't share the same ideals or values, it can be hard to figure out how to disagree without being disagreeable and what to do when conflict arises within a student group," Hamlett says. "L.E.A.D. addresses these elements of the leadership experience to help students find a way to work through them."
L.E.A.D. workshops are led by staff from across the Institute and cover a variety of topics. Students can take as few or as many workshops as they like, and select which themes best address their needs.
"Leadership is not a 'one size fits all' approach; it has to be adapted based upon the organization and individuals working within it," Hamlett says.
To see the full schedule of workshops and to register, visit the MIT L.E.A.D. website.