Biscuits and Bananas

After a 14 hour flight, an overnight stay at the YWCA, and a 8 hour bus ride up to the foothills of the Himalayas, I made it to Mussoorie, India. Driving through the cities of Delhi and Dehradun was an eye opening experience. Although there were some similarities, the culture and mannerisms of those in the local areas were vastly different from the place I call home. Driving up the mountain side, along the switchback roads which zig-zag up the mountain, so small that we had to stop every time a car drove past the opposite way, was quite the journey. An exciting one to say the least. The best part was the views that were so gorgeous and the roadside dropping off to a cliff at almost every twist or turn. The second best part, the snacks! We had biscuits and bananas to eat the entire way there, and they definitely gave us some energy during our journey.

Thinking about some of the cultural norms that I have experienced so far and how they correlate to my own learning experience, I think of communication. I think this is one thing that will be a challenge in regards to learning about leadership during the trip. I have noticed that unlike those who live in the United States, the communication here between individuals is much less blunt and more passive in a way. Statements or conversations often need to be interpreted. There is a different way of communicating here which may be a challenge when trying to understand the concepts being taught about leadership. I think that although this may sometimes make learning a bit more tricky, asking questions is key! Especially asking for clarification on feedback or constructive criticism when working on a task or activity.

During our past discussions of leadership we have looked at many leadership theories that will hopefully build a base for our time here in Mussoorie. I believe that leaders are made and not born. Many of the old leadership theories revolved around the fact that leaders were born due to family bloodline or because they were deemed a “leader” at birth. The newer theories are what show that great leaders are not born but made. Through experience and learning an individual can become a leader in their own way. There are all different types of leaders because there are all different types of people. One person may lead one way but another may not, they may lead a different way. One is not just born a leader, but they can be shaped into one through their own experiences and by learning their own strengths which help them to lead their own way. Learning is the biggest part of becoming a leader and strengthening your leadership skills. Your ability to become a leader, your leadership style, and leadership philosophy is something that continues to develop constantly as you grow, learn, and have more and more experiences in your life. This is why leaders are made and not born.

When looking at leadership and being a leader and leading others, there comes some challenges. I believe one of the biggest challenges of leadership is trust. I think this is one of the building blocks and holds the foundation of a great leader. Without trust, a leader can not lead. They are there to guild and to work along side others but without gaining the trust of those they lead or having trust in their group leadership is lost. This can be challenging because if those you are trying to lead are not familiar you or are lacking the trust, you have to figure out ways to build it. Even building back trust that is lost due to a certain factor can be incredibly hard. As human beings we make mistakes and sometimes this can cost us. We lose the trust between one another. So forming and building trust first and foremost is one of the most important parts of leadership and may very well be the most challenging.

After much traveling and many learning experiences along the way, we were able to end our day with a nice dinner at the Hanifl Center and a small walk around the area thereafter. The view was beyond beautiful and I am very excited to spend the next month in this amazing place.