E2-Leadership Opportunities

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The purpose of this action guide is to challenge a few myths about leadership and connect you with opportunities that will make a difference in your own leadership development.


For many people, when they think of leadership, they may think of a CEO, an executive director for a non-profit organization, or the president of a student group. Many people think that leaders are born (not made), that leaders have to have charisma to be effective, and that leaders need to hold formal positions of power. The truth is that leadership is everywhere, and that anyone can be a leader.

In the book, "Exploring leadership: For college students who want to make a difference," Komives, Lucas, & McMahon (2007) define leadership as "a relational and ethical process of people together attempting to accomplish positive change." In other words, leadership is inclusive, empowering, purposeful, ethical, and process-oriented.


  1. What is leadership? Write your own personal definition of leadership in the form below.  If you would like to type or draw out your responses in a separate file, you may use DrawIsland (http://drawisland.com/), Word or the drawing tool of your choice; save the file and upload it below.

  2. Click on one (or more!) of the following links, read or watch, and learn about the kinds of leadership needed in the world today.
    1. How to start a movement” by Derek Sivers (video-TED)
    2. How great leaders inspire action” by Simon Sinek (video-TED)
    3. "Everyday leadership" by Drew Dudley (video-TED)
    4. The power of introverts” by Susan Cain (video-TED)
    5. "Dare to disagree" by Fields Wicker-Miurin (video-TED)

  3. Now that you have learned a little more about the kinds of leadership needed in the world today, you can think about how you acn gain the types of experiences that will help you cultivate your leadership potential. One of the best ways to gain these experiences is through co-curricular activities and experiences. Visit engage.umn.edu and read through the opportunities to become involved with student groups, volunteering, learning abroad & away, research, student employment, and internships. You can also view the Leadership section of the website where it suggests ideas to engage in leadership on campus. 

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E2: Leadership Opportunities