My leadership styles: an ongoing journey

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During my time in the Humphrey Seminar, I learned about myriad leadership styles, some of which resonated with me, and others that did not. I found overall that most of the styles that most struck me fell under the umbrella of servant leadership, which was also our overarching theme this semester.

Per Lewin’s leadership styles, I find myself to be walking the line between the authoritative and participative leadership styles. During our various group efforts this semester, both the films presentations and the Legacy Project, I found I walked more on the side of the authoritative style. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, in my opinion, especially when I had to serve as one of the content managers in the Legacy Project. However, as we got deeper into the project, I tried to work more on my participative leadership skills…this is not always easy, though, and the style I plan to work on the most.

As I previously said, though, so much of what I learned about leadership this semester and so much of what I know from my own life experience falls under the category of “servant leadership.” I became particularly aware of this while serving with the Fellows and attachés at various projects this semester, in particular the orange picking and farm days events that I was able to attend. At the latter event, we served children in need, who would not have been able to experience the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and all around farm experience without us. This, to me, is the true definition of servant leadership, and one that I feel ties in well with the purpose of journalism, as well. We must always strive to “give voice to the voiceless,” and serve others in a humble and genuine way. Perhaps it is my 12 plus years of Catholic education, or my dad’s example, but I find that in serving others in one way or another, we become natural leaders by filling a void.

I mentioned my dad’s theory on leadership, both in journalism and in general, in my presentation, and I want to reiterate it here. One of the questions I asked my journalism leaders was, “How do you define leadership in the industry and in your own life?” My dad responded that a leader is “any individual who strives for excellence, but more importantly is also concerned with making a difference in their community and across the nation.” I think this is a good definition of leadership to live by. It is good to have styles of leadership to follow and live up to, but ultimately we cannot study leadership and must learn it through our own actions, by trial and error.



Sansom, Graham. “Leadership Style.” Powerpoint Presentation. 19 April 2012.

Email interview with Patrick Porter.