Archive for Leadership

Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy

Bill Colwell shared this Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy video in a worship/inspiration today in our Leadership and Learning Group meeting. I thought you might find it interesting as well!

A leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous. But what he’s doing is so simple, it’s almost instructional. This is key. You must be easy to follow!

Now comes the first follower with a crucial role: he publicly shows everyone how to follow.


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Trickle-Up Leadership

Here’s an interesting article about leading up. I’m posting it here so I can find it again.

Trickle Up Leadership published in Fast Company

“If people are too intimidated or too reluctant to help their leaders lead, their leaders will fail,” says Michael Useem, the author of a new book about how you can take control — even when you’re not in command.

In a tough business climate — and even in boom times, for that matter — it’s only natural to want to trust the people in the executive suite. After all, they know what they’re doing, right? Not so fast, says Michael Useem in Leading Up: How to Lead Your Boss So You Both Win, due out this month from Crown Business. Sometimes, even the people upstairs need help. “If people are afraid to help their leaders lead, their leaders will fail,” says Useem, a professor of management at the Wharton School and the director of its Center for Leadership and Change Management. In an interview with Fast Company, Useem talked about how to take control even when you’re not in command.

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AU Higher Ed Study Tour

Andrews Leadership & Ed Admin students, if you didn’t get to go on the Higher Ed study tour this past spring, you might want to check out the blog from the trip to see what you missed. Great pictures and news articles about the trip!

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The Logic of Theoretical Frameworks

Last week I attended some sessions by Gary Stager at the MACUL Conference. I blogged them both: 10 Things to Do with Laptops and Digital Democracy. While listening to the closing keynote, I also skimmed some of the articles on Stager’s website: particularly his critiques of Daniel Pink and Thomas Friedman‘s popular books.

These ideas simmered in my brain over the weekend. This was my first experience hearing Stager speak, and his thoughts are challenging and require processing. I’m still processing the new ideas.

But one piece of logic really struck me. The Andrews Leadership program focuses on laying a theoretical framework for each competency and for our research. The professors keep pushing us to deeper levels of understanding and the ability to compare, synthesis and select theoretical frameworks for our work.¬† I’m still learning what that really means. But Stager helped me realize why it matters.

Theoretical frameworks ground us in the knowledge by those who have gone before. It lays the foundation. Gives us shoulders to stand on. Builds on the body of knowledge already there.

As I’ve worked on the beginnings of my literature review, I’ve realized the importance of really understanding what others have done.

Stager’s critique of those popular books showed me that often best-selling books are someone sharing their ideas, with little connection to previous works and theory. Therefore they should be viewed carefully and thoughtfully, without swallowing the whole idea hook, line, and sinker.

I understand better now, why it’s important that the books that we reference for our reflection papers for each competency need to be books of substance, grounded in research.

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Leadership Practice

Today’s inventory is the Leadership Practice Inventory. There are five areas of a good leader. The results help us know how we need to improve.

Model the Way
Book suggestion: Let My People Go Surfing

  • Find your voice by clarifying your personal values
  • Set the example by aligning actions with shared values

Inspire a Shared Vision

  • Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities
  • Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations

Enable Others to Act

  • Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust
  • Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion

Encourage the Heart

  • ¬†Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence
  • Celebrate the values and the victories by creating a spirit of community

Challenge the Process

  • Search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow, and improve
  • Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes

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Why I’m in the Leadership Program Part 2

This morning we learned about the philosophy of the Leadership and Educational Administration department. These are the main concepts and they fit my own core values very well.

  • A Christian worldview is fundamental
  • Human dignity and moral well-being must be protected
  • Knowledge is socially constructed
  • Learning is not hierarchical
  • Change is inevitable
  • Servant-leadership is the leadership concept of choice
  • Life is often ambiguous

Therefore the program is dynamic, life-related, job-embedded, builds competencies, builds a learning community, and is individualized.

This morning’s inspiration focused on the department value of human dignity.

  • God loves us.
  • We are unique.
  • God loves us uniquely.

We also thought about these rules (patterns).

  • Golden Rule: Do to others as you would have them do to you.
  • Platinum Rule (Gold Shined): Do to others what they need done to them to experience is love and meet their love needs.
  • Silver Rule: Do to others what you want.
  • Bronze Rule: Do to others what they do to you and more.
  • Iron Rule: Do to others BEFORE they to do you.

Competency, the foundation of our learning plan, is made up of knowledge, skills/performances, and beliefs/attitudes.

The professors are experts in setting up experiences that allow us to demonstrate or show our expertise. They believe that we have expertise and valuable past experiences and honor that in the learning experiences.

For these reasons and more, I know that this program is right where I belong.

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Leadership and the New Science

Here are some notes & thoughts on reading Leadership and the New Science. Google has this book in it’s Books feature, so you can skim through it if you want to check it out before buying it or getting it from your local library.

Social Networking & Blogging
It’s amazing to me how much this book made me think of the organic, non-linear, unstructured blogosphere community! Here’s some quotes to tease your brain:

A living system is a network of processes in which every process contributes to all other processes. The entire network is engaged together in producing itself. p. 20.

There are no familiar ways to think about the levels of interconnectedness that seem to characterize the quantum universe. Instead of a lonely void, with isolated particles moving through it, space appears filled with connections. p. 45

Sound like social networking and Web 2.0 to you? Flickr,, blogging, etc?

I have learned that great things are possible when we increase participation. I always want more people, from more diverse functions and places, to be there. I am always surprised by what people can create as they explore the webs of relation and caring that connect them. Finally, I no longer argue about what is real. We each construct reality, and when I become curious about this, I learn a great deal from other people. I expect them to see things differently from me, to surprise me. p. 46

Yes!! This is why I want others (in my field) blogging so I can learn from them!

We all have to learn how to support the workings of each other, to realize that intelligence is distributed and that it is our role to nourish others with truthful, meaningful information. Fed by such information, everyone can more capably deal with issues and dilemmas that appear in their area. p. 102

Yes, I have a drive to share information, and want others to also share so we can all learn together.

The organization then needs to support people to reflect on this unsettling or disconfirming information, providing them with the resources of time, colleagues, and reflection. p. 108

Do you have colleagues and time so that you can reflect on the influx of information you are bombarded with daily?

State Testing
Another thing that tickled my brain was the comments about measurement that made me think of implications for state testing and No Child Left Behind.

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle (quantum physics). We can measure the particle aspect, or the wave aspect — either location or movement — but we can never measure both at the same time.p. 36

Once the observer chooses what to perceive, “the effect of perception is immediate and dramatic. All of the wave function representing the observed system collapases, excpet the one part, which actualizes into reality” (Zukav 1979, 79). p. 37.

Since fractals resist definitive assessment by familiar tools, they require a new approach to observation and measurement. What is important in a fractal landscape is to note not quantity but quality. How complex is the system? What are its distinguishing shapes? How do it’s patterns differ from those of other systems? In a fractal world, if we ignore qualitative factors and focus on quantitative measures, we doom ourselves only to frustration. p. 125.

The 123VC workshop I’m involved in is also affectionately called “Jazz.” We probably need to think more deeply about how that metaphor truly captures the way the workshop evolved and is collaboratively presented. Listen to this….

Those who have used music metaphors to describe working together, especially jazz metaphors, are sensing the nature of this quantum world. This world demands that we be present together, and be willing to improvise. We agree on the melody, tempo, and key, and then we play. We listen carefully, we communicate constantly, and suddenly, there is music, possibilities beyond anything we imagined. The music comes from somewhere else, from a unified whole we have accessed among ourselves, a relationship that transcends our false sense of separateness. When the music appears, we can’t help but be amazed and grateful.

Maybe more thoughts later….

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