OPINION | Students should be required to take a leadership class

I can’t say any of the classes in the college of business have encouraged me to look at things from a different perspective, given me the time to self-reflect or positively changed me in a lasting way. Until now.

As a senior at UCCS who has taken many different business classes, I will never forget what I learned in my Management and Leadership course taught by Dustin Bluhm.

From previous work experience, I could easily determine if my past bosses were leaders or managers. My reflection during this class showed me that I am a good leader, but there was so much missing preventing me from being a great one.

This course is offered as an elective and is not required for any student, not even in the College of Business. I chose it on a recommendation from a friend and didn’t have one regret.

I learned that being a leader means being vulnerable with your team, coaching them instead of taking control and establishing inclusion to ensure everyone is on the same page and that they understand why you are leading them the way you are.

Many students, regardless of their major, could be required to lead a team. You don’t have to be a business major to be a boss, and I believe that gets overlooked. Engineering majors could run their own company of engineers, and teachers are leaders in the classroom. All students should be prepared and comfortable leading a team in the best way they know how. The answer is understanding the difference between a manager and a leader.

Plenty of businesses have failed due to poor management, and it has led to companies being bought out or no longer existing. E-careers lays out a list of 10 major businesses that have failed because of their management team. K-mart ranks at seven, which is no surprise, as the company has gone bankrupt twice.

If students aren’t given the tools or skills to learn how to be a leader, they can fail their workers because they think they know how to manage a team, but not as a leader. A required leadership course would teach students skills that will enable them to lead a team successfully.

Even if a class isn’t offered or required, talk to a professional you trust to show you what it means to be a leader or speak with an advisor and see if it’s possible to find a leadership course. It will change the outcome of many careers for students.

Photo from UCCS Photography Database.