Zombies and a guide to leadership skills
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Barely anyone is left on Earth. The zombies are hungry for human flesh. The survivors have to find a way to survive long enough to see the sunrise. They need to bring the group to safety.
“The End of Days: Leadership Skills for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse,” a student workshop hosted by the Center for Student Leadership & Community Engagement, taught listeners the basics for bringing the group of surviving humans to safety. The workshop was created and presented by Jude Butch, the leadership programming coordinator for the organization.
“There’s been a lot of talk in the news about zombies and the Mayan calendars, so I thought why don’t I just do something tongue and cheek on that,” Butch said. “I thought it would be interesting to tie it into leadership skills.”
To start off the workshop, Butch presented some background of the overall consensus of zombies is as a whole and what official organizations say about them. According to Butch, the Center for Disease and Control made a statement on their official website saying zombies do not exist.
Butch knows this but continues to use the idea of Zombies to provide a framework for teaching leadership skills.
Butch explained whether in a zombie apocalypse, being chased as food by undead creatures or in a regular work setting, leadership is essential to identifying groups’ goals and fulfilling them. She also stated it is effective for a group not only to identify it strengths, but also its weaknesses and be open to improvement.
Students in the workshop shared whatever leadership experience they have exhibited in the past and how they have used the concept of leadership to make decisions and promote changes across different organizations.
Butch also presents, through the workshop, the importance of group consensus – as oppose to majority voting – and the notion of complete honesty within a group in their critiques of one another.
Students such as Brian Zylinski, a biological sciences graduate student, illustrated how instrumental the workshop was in identifying key factors of leadership and how to apply them to specific situations.
“Some of the things that were mentioned I can apply to some real world situations,” Zylinski said. “Definitely the things he mentioned about working in a team and consensus and building that trust among your team members to get the best result are very applicable.”
Butch also gave insight as to exactly how he presented leadership skills through the workshop and how it might be different from any other workshop on leadership skills.
“I tried to think of something creative to get people to come and to engage students in different leadership skills, while also keeping it fun and relevant, and I think the way I’m delivering it is unique.” Butch said.
Butch showed a clip from the film Zombieland to exemplify how and why planning can help navigate situations whether in an office or an abandoned city with zombies lurking around for human flesh.
Popular culture can make the learning process more fluid instead of boring and concrete concepts that won’t teach students why leadership skills could be important to them in the near future, according to Butch
“Right after Steve Jobs had passed away, I did a life learning workshop called iLead, which dealt with Steve Jobs ideas about leadership because students have a foremost interest in current events,” Butch said.
The event finished with an activity on a zombie apocalypse situation where students had to rank 10 items. They chose which items they would take first, then as a group ranked the top five items (such as water and shotgun shells).
Through “The End of Days: Leadership Skills for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse” workshop, students were shown how leadership could make or break a group. They also discovered how well one group of students might survive in a zombie apocalypse.