Honing My Leadership Skills: The Adaptation Project
By Jessica Unger ’16
The Honors Program at Arcadia University has provided me with multiple opportunities to enhance my leadership skills and thus prepare me for my future career. As a Healthcare Administrative major, I hope to climb the corporate ladder in hospitals, and I know that robust leadership and networking skills will be required to achieve this goal. One such opportunity is the adaption project, where students are able to adapt one upper-level course from within their major into a leadership-focused project that counts as an Honors class. I decided to adapt my Selected Topics in Healthcare Administration course into an information gathering project based at my internship with the Abington Memorial Hospital. I interviewed several professionals on the skills their professions required, the importance of certain leadership skills and what challenges they have faced in their careers. Aside from carrying out interviews, my adaption project involved personal reflections on what I encountered through journaling.
In general, this project provided me with valuable advice on career advancement and opportunities to form professional connections for future job applications. Most importantly, it encouraged me to learn much more about myself and helped me to assess my current leadership skillset in order to identify areas for improvement so that I could succeed in these professional roles. Organization was identified by many of the professionals I interviewed as a key management skill. I feel that I am a very organized person and this trait has helped me to succeed in my studies and in leadership positions. I believe the ability to reasonably assess one’s own skills can really help yourself, help others and help to achieve personal goals. This concept of understanding yourself is important to good leadership and my project not only helped me to identify organization as a personal strength of mine, it also further improved my organization skills due to the requirements of scheduling interviews and being prepared for changes in timetables.
The interviews and conversations I was able to hold also really solidified for me how important it is for leaders to have strong listening and networking skills. In my interviews I truly wanted to know and understand the insights I was being given; to be an engaged and responsive listener instead of just following my list of questions. After completing these interviews I had a new understanding of why leaders must be good listeners. Leaders need to listen to other people’s opinions, ideas and challenges in order to better comprehend and help the people around them. Without this project I wouldn’t have been able to get to know people at the hospital as well as I did. The people I interviewed have offered me help with applying for jobs, providing references and introductions to other professionals that have mutual interests. All of these connections are inherently valuable and as communication and networking have been goals of mine approaching graduation; I am so glad I got to practice these skills.
The Honors adaption project provided me with the opportunity to grow as a person and as a leader. I was able to work on necessary leadership skills such as organization, networking and listening. I’m really happy that I was able to take the time to reflect upon my own opinions and skills, which I should take more time to do so that I can continue to better understand myself in order to become a better leader. The Arcadia Honors Program aims to increase my leadership potential, l and I believe this project certainly contributed to achieving that goal.
Jessica Unger is a Healthcare Administration major from Royersford, PA.