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Students Explore Leadership Styles in Leading Creative Teams

By Nick Roman

Intelligence quotient (IQ) is always a hot topic of conversation surrounding academic pioneers of society. Heroes of groundbreaking discoveries historically have had a high IQ, but what about their emotional quotient (EQ) or emotional intelligence? Research shows that those with a high EQ tend to be successful leaders in their respective sectors. The impact of EQ was one of many leadership qualities that MSLCE students explored in Dr. Gail Berger’s “Leading Creative Teams” course this spring. Throughout the class, we explored various leadership styles through lectures, activities, improvisation, negotiations, all while working with our student teams, maintaining a team contract, interviewing senior leaders, analyzing notable leadership figures, and developing our own vision of leadership.
Each class began with a team activity that would later factor into key concepts explored through Dr. Berger’s lectures. Activities often included role play, managing hypothetical responsibilities, and constructing the process of decision-making. Overarching subjects included leadership framing styles, EQ, types of teams, using life stories to influence personal styles, communication, improvisation, and negotiations. One ongoing element was a goal tracking system through the online platform, Sprezie. Students were able to set goals and log them on an online portal to track progress. Students also selected mentors to provide virtual advice and encouragement throughout the development of these goals.

Students were also split into teams at the beginning of the quarter and completed several projects that required us to apply course concepts. We began by creating a team contract or charter, shared our life stories, interviewed leaders in various fields, analyzed their work, and presented an analysis to the class on an assigned leader. In the last class session, we wrapped up course concepts through individual presentations of our vision of leadership represented by a photo. The vision presentations had both academic and emotional impact as it was a culmination of our past and present leadership experiences.

Dr. Berger’s warm and caring personality made the class conducive to a positive growth environment. In all of the course activities, Dr. Berger was most passionate about the art of negotiation. Debunking the myth that not everyone can be a strategic negotiator, Dr. Berger implemented several valuable activities that put our negotiations tactics to the test. Any future MSLCE students would benefit from “Leading Creative Teams” because of its power to shape your overall work ethic in a leadership role.