Q&A: University Honors Program executive on the nature of leadership

(Logo by Julie Freijat | Collegian Media Group)

Peter Loganbill, Collegian news editor: “When you’re overwhelmed and you have a lot to do, what are some other things you do to just like, manage it and take care of yourself?”

Kathryn Collins, University Honors Program executive board president and senior in industrial engineering: “I think that’s something I’ve definitely had to cultivate over the time that I’ve been in college. It took me a long time to learn it, I think. I think this semester, especially looking at what the rest of my life is going to look like, a lot bigger questions are at stake.

“So that exact principle has become really important. Meditation has become really important to me — and taking time for silence. So like right before this, I was just standing outside, like, looking at a tree.

“It is kind of nice sometimes, especially after hours of looking at a computer screen or reading academic articles or whatever. You can just kind of step back and live in the moment and remember your identity and your selfness and your autonomy from all these environmental things that can sometimes define you.

“I’ve gotten pretty good at scheduling my own breaks and when to walk around and how not to get osteoporosis or whatever. We actually take classes on that in industrial engineering.”

Loganbill: “What do you think are some of the best leadership styles?”

Collins: “I don’t know if I can answer ‘best leadership styles.’ I think that what I have seen succeed in my leadership experience is getting to know and value the people that you’re working with, because if they know that you value them, that you are working with them, that you recognize their skills and what they excel at. And you recognize them as a person, right? You recognize their personhood. I think that that respect, they then feel loyal to your to your organization, and that’s how you get the best work.

“So, in the Honors Program, there’s such an eclectic group of people from all these different backgrounds, and that’s what makes my team so successful is that there are all these different skills, but there’s also all these different personalities.

“So some of those personalities are really hands-off. I give them something or they can bring me an idea and they go and execute it and that’s perfect. Some people need more feedback. Some people need a lot of affirmation, which is something I struggle with giving, that I’ve had to learn to deal with. I think that the best leadership style that I can see is just getting to know and value your people and then treating them, communicating with them in the way that’s the most effective for them.”

Interested in hearing more of this conversation with Kathryn Collins? Check out the “Collegian Kultivate” podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

I'm Pete Loganbill and I'm the News Editor for the Collegian and host of the Collegian Kultivate podcast! I spent two years at Johnson County Community College, and I am now a senior in Public Relations at K-State. I believe constant communication leads to progress, no matter how difficult a comment may be for me or anyone to hear. Contact me at ploganbill@kstatecollegian.com.