The best lessons from leadership mistakes

The Best Lessons I Learned From Leadership Gone Wrong

It may be difficult, but learning what to avoid myself is valuable.


We've all experienced it; whether in a group project in class or in an organization from our childhood, the chances are we've all felt the repercussions of leadership gone wrong. The principle that everyone rises to their level of incompetency assures that at some point, we're likely to be under the instruction of someone who has reached that point – they might have a wealth of knowledge, but that doesn't qualify them to lead some else. This is always challenging, but an interesting thing I have found is that I've learned some of the best leadership lessons that way. It's been great to observe the leaders I most admire, yet the starkest examples come when I see what I don't want to do. So I've certainly learned what to avoid, and the best way to see firsthand the repercussions of those things has been to have them happen to me; the goal, then, is that I can keep them from happening to others.

1. Not admitting what they don't know.


When a leader thinks they know everything, they don't ask for help. But the fact is, no one is an expert in every area. The key is less of memorizing everything you might need to know, and more of realizing where to find it when you need it. You can always tell someone you'll get back to them later, or that you don't know but you'll find out.

2. Not giving credit where credit is due.


This is big in the way I've learned to lead: if something goes wrong, you take responsibility, yet if something is right, you credit your people. That's something I never fully understood until I had to do it – but after leading an amazing team for one week, at the end I realized I fully did want them to share in the credit; they were more on the front lines than I was, and their hard work deserved recognition even if they were following the instructions I gave.

3. Putting up a front.


There are very few things I dislike more than fake people, and when someone acts perfect for all the world to see and then acts completely different when working with their people, I'm less apt to want to genuinely help them. You have to be real and honest. Nobody is perfect, so no one can expect that of you. In fact, you're not only doing your team a disservice, but you're doing yourself one, too. You have a unique personality, and gifts that will equip you in your work; if you cover that up to appear a certain way, you're not living up to your full potential.

4. Being patronizing


Just because you're a leader, you don't always know more than the most experienced person on your team. Some people can accept that, and with good team dynamic they use everyone's skills and have no qualms with it. But others are less secure and feel that would be threatening. Instead, they patronize their team. Those with immense knowledge might not be consulted, and those with potential aren't given the opportunity to try it out.

5. Not taking risks.


Yes, I know it's risky… but if you always play it safe, you'll never know. Sometimes the mistakes you make will prevent worse ones later, or everything could turn out more fabulously than expected! Or, yes, you might fail - but you will learn. Either way, if you do it the way it's 'always been done,' nothing will change for the worse; but nothing will change for the better, either. You have to take risks because that's what leading is for. It's not for maintaining the status quo, or for everyone to have a perfect opinion of you.

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.


My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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The One Thing Everyone Should Do Before They Graduate

Why I wish everyone could have shared in my end of school adventure.


The end of freshman year was filled with the abundant stress of final exams, teary-eyed goodbyes, and last looks at my dorm room on South Campus. The academic year was overwhelmingly busy, and I tried my best to soak in every single moment as a first-year college student. But as I'm sure many of you can understand, it's not always possible to make time for the adventures we so desperately desire. I found myself saying "I want to do that!" all year long, and here it was the last week of the year and my bucket list had barely been touched. All those Philadelphia excursions, dreamy coffee shop dates, and campus explorations that I looked forward to never ended up panning out…

… until last Thursday night.

With about half the freshman class moved out of South Campus, everything felt a little strange. There was barely a dinner rush at all in Donahue Dining Hall, and my room looked so empty it almost made me sad. Naturally, I called up a couple of friends. Within minutes, we met in the lounge, and we were off for our adventure.

Every single day on the way to labs in Mendel Hall, I walked past the beloved Falvey Fountain. It had become such a consistent part of my routine that walking past it felt like it was a necessary daily occurrence. But this time, we didn't walk past. In fact, we stopped dead in our tracks and admired its color changing beauty for a brief moment.

And then we dove in!

Yes, we jumped right into the fountain. First the daring adventurer of the group, then his sidekick, then the skeptic, and finally myself. This was definitely not allowed, but no one was around, and more importantly, no one cared. Being knee deep was freezing, but the adrenaline rush was too much to suppress. So we submerged further, dunking each other and splashing the icy water literally everywhere. My wet hair made way for the most epic hair flip of all time, and we all laughed joyously.

All the stress of looming final grades and the completion of projects, the bittersweet goodbyes to our newfound families, and the hassles of packing up for the year were washed away in that fountain, drowned in the euphoria of the moment. We were officially baptized in summer as it dubbed us the kings and queens of adventure.

Afterward, we wrung out our soaking clothes and snapped a quick pic of our drenched selves. Trying to escape the scene hastily, I dropped my bag of M&M;'s. They spilled everywhere, leaving streams of melty chocolate and food coloring running through the aftermath of our fountain dive. The scene looked like a bit of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory had exploded from the fountain and into the night.

I am far from kidding when I say that adventure is a must for everyone, at any stage of life. Whether it's fountain diving at Nova, or sky diving in New Mexico, something about us as human beings needs the unusual, exciting, and even hazardous experiences. This one was particularly cleansing and absolutely unforgettable.

So I implore you: go forth this summer and be adventurous! Explore hidden places, try new eats, shuffle a stranger's playlist, introduce yourself to someone on a whim, or just get in the car and drive with no destination in mind. This summer is for the bold; this summer's for you.

Happy adventuring!


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