Samantha Wildi is a student at Bridge of Don Academy who chose to study for a Higher in Leadership in the last academic year. In this blog written for the Chamber, she tells us what the experience was like, and what she learned. WHEN I started leadership, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I had needed another subject to take and I thought that the course sounded interesting. The class was nothing like I had imagined. They ranged from more traditional lesson plans that were conducted from Powerpoints, to more interactive lessons where we played team building games. Some lessons were also left completely to us to plan an activity. Class time on Tuesdays was reserved for “Pressure Tuesdays”. This meant that when we walked into the classroom, we knew that we would be doing an activity “blind”, without any preparation. The activities ranged from learning and presenting a pre-written speech within the period to working as a group to pick a charity and plan fundraising for it. This got us out of our comfort zone and leading on the spot. Every few weeks we had presentations and talks from real world leaders including an ex-pupil of our teacher, Gemma Maclean, and an ex-army officer turned business owner, Keith McDougall. These leaders helped us to understand how leadership can be applied to real life situations outside of school. As well as learning about all of the practical uses for leadership and developing our own skills in practical ways, we also learnt about some of the theory. We learned about the four Cs - compassion, courage, confidence and communication - and how important they are to leadership, as well as the qualities that a good leader should have. When we were thinking about our own skills, we each carried out a personal SWOT analysis to identify what our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats were in the terms of being a leader. One of the main things that we did as a leadership class was carry out our leadership event at Elevator UK in November 2015. This event was open to students our own age and stakeholders from business. It gave us an opportunity to build on our existing skills while also using what we had learned to teach all of the participants about what makes a good leader. It also showed the business representatives the potential that young people have and showed them that young people are fit for work. The class all worked together to plan, organise and run the event which, from the feedback we received, was a huge success. Personally, I have learned a lot from taking part in the leadership course. I had always pictured that a leader was just the person who was in charge and telling everyone else what to do. However, I now know that is not true. A leader is not just the person in charge, everyone is a leader. I also learned more about the kind of leader that I am. Through the course, I have discovered that I am not always suited to being the one in charge of an event or activity but I am good at organising and getting things done. The leadership course has also given me a lot of opportunities to do extra activities like attending a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce and speaking to everyone there about leadership, which was a fantastic experience. The Business Bulletin in June features an interview with Hayley Barr, the teacher at Bridge of Don Academy who delivers the Leadership course. It’s out with members on June 3.