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How to Bring Who You Are to What You Do in Leadership and Ethics

Approaches to the Paper

This assignment asks you to respond to one simple question: "How will you bring who you are to what you do?" What is implied in that question is that we are talking about *what you do* in the context of organizational life.' For our purposes, this paper spans both leadership and ethics. Since students vary widely in terms of their perspectives on life, work, leadership, ethics, etc., expect that each project will reflect that diversity. Thus, there is *no* hard-and-fast outline can provide you for this project as I can with the research project. I can share with you a couple of the ways past students have approached this paper:

1. Describe your own framework for leading and acting with character (i.e., ethically) at work. Analyze your framework, explain it, and trace its origins. What are the implications of your framework? What does your framework tell you, and why?

2. Start at the beginning (this is a popular approach). What values were you taught and what lessons did you learn early in your life, formative to who you are (or that you have rejected outright)? How do those values inform your approach to work and to leadership? How do you incorporate those values in how you do your work? What challenges have you faced in your career so far that has tested those values? What do you anticipate might test your values in the future?

3. Pose - and answer - a number of the questions any of our authors (explicity or implicitly) ask you to consider in their writing. e.g.: What are your values? What are you intolerant of? What do you stand for (and why)?

4. (Purely thought-starter here) What you do believe about leadership and ethics so deeply that you would want to pass those beliefs on to a mentee, a child, or a niece or nephew?

 a. For any approach you take, think of this paper as a living document that you plan on revisiting every year or two to see if your perspective on leadership and ethics have changed. 

b. The PLEP is *not* graded on how much you reveal, it is graded on how extensively you work with that which you are comfortable sharing. Example: A couple of years ago, two papers (by students in the same section) started with nearly the same first sentence (loosely paraphrased as), "The Holy Bible provides the guiding values in my personal and professional life." From that point, the two papers diverged nearly ioo%. One paper explained what "guiding values" meant in specific terms, and related those values to concepts and examples we discussed in class. The second one merely skimmed across the top of the idea, as if the writer was singing "because the Bible tells me so." The latter was relatively unsubstantial; the former was a terrific (I dare say riveting) paper.

c. One student opened their paper with (again, loose paraphrase), "This assignment comes at an interesting time for me, because for the past year and a half my spouse and I have engaged in a self-directed program of spiritual exercises and retreats. Thus, most of what I will write about in this paper reflects conclusions about life and values I have identified prior to the start of this course." I should add that the author did a terrific job of connecting those experiences and values with a number of things we discussed in the class. 

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