Some two weeks ago, Senator John McCain died. While some saw him as a maverick, someone with a strong independent streak, he was also determined to do what he believed right, even at a high personal cost. He is an American hero – for his five and a half years as a prisoner in a Vietnamese war prison, for his many years of service in Congress, and for the leadership principles he embodied.
The MOR Leaders Program, as the name implies, is about leadership. Just what is it that leaders do and how do they go about doing it? Two weeks ago, we focused on the humble leader. There we wrote about what makes a leader humble1 and how a leader can cultivate those characteristics in his or her leadership style.
Leadership style has to do with the way a leader provides direction, implements plans, and motivates people. The literature on leadership discusses many different styles.
… conjunction (joining two words, phrases, or clauses) as in “Rachel plays the piano and sings.” (macmillandictionary.com)
At least with my family, preparation for Thanksgiving dinner began several weeks ago as decisions were made about where we would gather and who would prepare and bring what food to share. It’s always a wonderful time to get as many family members as can come together to express our thanks for another year and for the support of each other.
Last week, during the closing session’s CIO Panel at one of the MOR Leaders Programs, every CIO on the panel commented on the importance of trust. Earlier in the session in a similar vein, I had noted that followers want leaders who are credible, trustworthy, leaders who do what they say they will do. Max De Pree, the former CEO of Herman Miller Inc., wrote in his book Leadership Jazz: “Followers cannot afford leaders who make casual promises; someone may take them seriously!”
… Hunting, Fishing, Trawling
Every organization has hidden leaders. They’re everywhere. They consistently step up to deal with client problems, with intractable issues, with extra effort to meet an unusual request from a key client, etc. We often don’t think of such individuals as leaders, after all they don’t have a positional title that would signify that they are a leader. However, they are key to the success of the organization.
Today’s Tuesday Reading, It Began with Curiosity, is an essay by Jill Purdy, Director of Finance at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. [She may be reached at email@example.com.]
Her essay first appeared as a program reflection earlier this year.
One of the central tenets of leadership is that you put your leadership skills to work wherever you are. This follows from a strong belief that leadership is not about a position or a title but rather the simple idea that leadership is more about a set of skills that you can develop and make use of no matter where you are. Yes, in your place of employment. And, also in every other part of your life! Anyone can choose to be a leader wherever she or he is. And in doing so, he or she can make a crucial difference.
As young children, one of the first things we began to do after we had learned to talk is to ask questions. Our brains thirst for information, for knowledge, to understand. Paul Sloane, author of the Innovative Leader, tells us that asking questions is the simplest and most effective way of learning.
Only look back if that is where you want to be.
Today’s Tuesday Reading, Don’t Look Back, is an essay by Scott Orr, Manager, Research and Infrastructure Computing, Dean’s Office, School of Science, Indiana University. The essay first appeared as a program reflection earlier this year.