I ran into an interesting issue recently. For one of the classes in my MBA program we had to write about leadership. Usually, I love talking about leadership because it has the power to inspire others and change the world. However, the prompt for the paper was definitely NOT inspiring: What are the five most important lessons you learned from the readings? To make matters worse, the papers were all bland scientific approaches to studying leadership that pretty much all started out with variations on the concept of leadership is not actually effective, but I am going to talk about it for 30 or so pages anyways. The only way to make this situation more ironic would be to have that prompt for inspiration rather than leadership.
Seriously, there I was sitting there trying to create a spark of something I wanted to write about for this paper and now find myself being inspired into writing this post instead with only a few hours before this paper is due. For me, leadership is a topic that I usually find very interesting. It has applications in so many different situations both personal and in the business or academic worlds. Parents have to be leaders to their children in order to raise them in the way they believe is right. CEOs must lead their organizations in order to keep them relevant in the current market. Leadership can affect how people interact on a personal level and how organizations develop their cultures. Is any of that talked about in the articles? No. Of course not. It also doesn’t even seem to be a topic that the professor cared enough about in order to create a prompt that made a difference in probably any of our lives. So, why should I care about writing this paper? Grades? Eh.
I started business school in order to be inspired and to see things a little differently. Those people we see as leaders have some of the biggest impact on our lives. Taking on a leadership role ourselves, can change the lives. Instead, I find myself on this paper backed into a corner to look at leadership from an academic side, which is another way of saying, we talk about it because we have to, not because we want to.
Whew. Ok, rant over. I needed to get that off my chest in order to actually attack this paper and start writing my monotony. Have you ever gotten frustrated with an assignment because it seemed like a throw away prompt? What do you do when you are required to write and feel no inspiration?