Teen Leadership Revolution: How Ordinary Teens Become Extraordinary Leaders
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If you wish to expand your understanding of leadership beyond corporate policy, and you believe, as I do, that literature is our best source for understanding humanity and that leadership is responsible for how well a business intersects with humanity both within and outside of the company, then this book will provide you with an astoundingly wide education.
It is a beautifully envisioned and organized collection. Of course, one thing you learn from literature and a study of social science, is that human beings take comfort in our ability to organize. Siloing responsibility and tasks can gives us false sense of security that we can guarantee results, but Gillian Tett disagrees in The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers , a multi-layered and well-written exploration of how specialization limits our innovation and creative potential, and can create unhealthy competition between company divisions.
So why do we humans resist expanding our baoundaries? Simple, Tett says. Staying in a silo, or just accepting the boundaries we inherit, often appears a lot easier. This past month, our company has had immediate experience with expanding our physical boundaries we we moved into our new, much bigger office building which has forced us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
In other words, this new location will enable us to add to our services, and with addition, no matter how welcome, comes adjustment. Now, we had the space to allocate, and it felt… self-indulgent. Or at least it did when our friends and family would come and tour our new building and ooh and ahh over our more tangible benefits. Wagner explains how things have changed in terms of who holds the power between companies and their employees.
Sure there are many companies out there who still hold tightly to the reins, but Wagner makes a strong, statistics-based case for how this new age of work benefits from the creativity, flexibility, and adaptability that comes easier for employees who are treated well as human beings and, as a result, become more fully engaged. In addition to her General Manager duties ensuring collaboration, integration, and quality, she reads, writes, reviews, curates, and edits for the company.
Outside of work, she is most likely to be found hitting a tennis ball around or hanging out with her boys husband, child, dog at home. Why do some people have it? Why is that compounded? Within any specific context or situation, power can be defined, identified, described, and traced through mapping.
Groups benefit when leadership education pushes them to consider the flow of power as it plays out in their efforts toward social and political change. This can be done by first engaging with the prompt questions and then creating visual representations that capture power dynamics. For commu- nities engaging in social change efforts, a power map of an organization or of the greater community can be instrumental in instilling individual and collective agency through learning the systematic practices and flow of power.
Raising power consciousness offers a tool to deconstruct limitations associated with the social change model of leadership development. De- spite a clear focus on social justice and recognition of community and so- cietal systems, writing on the social change model often fails to address the reality of systematic power and authority dynamics inherent to all social change processes explicitly.
Educators working with the model are encour- aged to engage individuals and collectives in the process of self-exploration associated with raising power consciousness. The social change model benefits when it is described as unfolding within multiple, overlapping systems of power. Additionally, educators should consider adding a value to the model focus- ing on individual and group capacity for power literacy. Centering Collective Movements. This contributes to a leadership dynamic in which indi- vidual capacities are transformed into collective capacities greater than the sum of their parts.
History is replete with examples of communities working together to create social and polit- ical change. The year embodied collective leadership with commu- nities across the nation and internationally, standing in solidarity as their interests converged to combat oppressive rules, policies, and behaviors. Thus, we share the list of barriers to col- lective leadership not to contribute to fatalism, but to highlight how despite such significant odds, collective leadership continues to work.
Understand- ing the barriers also provides specific points of entry from which educators can design leadership development interventions that move beyond day- to-day stakes and focus on the work of social and political change. Each form of resistance is an opportunity to create learning experiences that de- construct commonly held beliefs.
Advancing collective leadership necessitates pragmatic approaches that center collective movements within leadership development curricula. First, educators must help youth clearly distinguish leader and leadership development and understand the roles of each in contributing to social and political change.
Second, curricula must be stripped away of the overre- liance on overly theoretical or heroic leader figures used to illustrate and teach leadership development. Therefore, educational interventions should similarly leverage community, relation- ships, and everyday lived experiences as the primary mechanisms of col- lective leadership to avoid dehumanizing this work through the over use of theory. This also means avoiding the perpetuation of heroic myths that undermine collective movements and centering the community and social system first.
This shift divests from the hyperindividualism of the American dream meritocracy pipe dream to allow for the many voices of the movement to surface, positioning King as a key movement architect engaged in collective leadership. One way to approach the centering of collective movements is through the use of contemporary examples for which history has yet to ascribe individual heroes.
By exposing students to real-world movements, they gain a window into collective leadership for social and political change. The award-winning documentary The Square, directed by Jehane Noujaim , follows multiple movement architects and participants alike as it tracks multiple stages of the Egyptian Revolution. The film offers deep in- sights into how those involved with the revolution navigated shared de- cision making, struggled to build and maintain solidarity, nurtured inter- est convergence, and evolved their abilities to engage in social perspective- taking, all while navigating multiple, complex social power structures.
It is an ideal movie to show students at the start of leadership development efforts, as it disrupts both heroic myths and utopian views of how social and political changes are achieved. It also establishes a common frame of reference for shared learning. The centering of collective movements also presents an opportunity for reconstructing how educators employ the social change model. Recall that the model offers both a developmental perspective related to build- ing capacity and a process perspective.
The latter is often neglected. The analysis of collective movements offers a means to stay focused on how the process of collective leadership unfolds. This also affords an opportunity for students to reconstruct the social change model itself, with the collective movement used as validation for the addition, alteration, or adaptation of elements. This is at the heart of leadership develop- ment focused on social and political change. An overemphasis on leader development risks exacerbating this.
This chapter provides a framework to support educators in advancing the goals of critical and collective leadership development. References Boggs, G. The next American revolution: Sustainable activism for the twenty-first century 2nd ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California.
Day, D. Dialogue: A dialogue on theorizing relational leadership. Ospina Eds. An integrative approach to leader development: Connecting adult development, identity, and expertise. New York, NY: Routledge. Dugan, J. Watt Ed. Sterling, VA: Stylus. Freire, P. Pedagogy of the oppressed. Gross, J. Education and hegemony: The influence of Antonio Gramsci. Levinson Ed. Boulder, CO: Paradigm. There are members of the community devoted to helping students become exposed to leadership at earlier ages and, as a result, perhaps changing their futures forever. And consider this…there is Leadership Challenge work being done in the Middle East, which with time and its accumulating, visible results could actually become a factor for future peace and interdependence.
It is a privilege to be part of a community that makes such a difference for so many people. We extend a hearty welcome to all who want to join in on this wild and rewarding adventure. Visit www. For all those familiar with The Leadership Challenge, we know that the most important starting point for values-driven leadership or any leadership, for that matter is to have an awareness of self: the values that guide us as individuals which, ultimately, impact our organizations, our communities, our world.
And it is that focus and learning that participants in a recent workshop, sponsored by the Hamilton County Leadership Academy HCLA , experienced in a unique way. HCLA is a community leadership development program dedicated to helping those in leadership positions continue to develop their capabilities as leaders. Representing a variety of organizations from Hamilton County in Indiana, participants come to the program from various backgrounds—all seeking education and information about the Hamilton County community as well as opportunities to build on their leadership skills.
Here, leaders return to the HCLA community to share their experiences, and spend a morning focusing on ways to more fully develop their leadership skills, both personally and professionally. While this Values-Driven Leadership Workshop, in many settings, may have focused only on organizational values, HCLA has always recognized the importance of individual leaders exploring their own personal values. For example, during the most recent workshop held earlier this year, leaders spent the first several hours exploring personal values with an exercise adapted from the Values Card Sort provided in The Leadership Challenge Values Cards Facilitator Guide.
Leaders identified the personal values that mattered most to them and created definitions for each that would help guide them in their daily leadership. This exploration was both illuminating and reflective. And when participants shared their values with each other, the room was abuzz! To our surprise, this first exercise went more quickly than we had planned—perhaps because these leaders were so committed to the community they were already very in tune to the values that truly mattered to them and were quick to narrow down their values.
As many of us within the TLC community understand, having a leadership philosophy—one that arises from our values—often has more impact than we ever expect. This was the case with attendee Chris Owens, Director of Indiana Parks and Recreation Association, who was surprised that this simple process of exploring personal values and using those to create his leadership philosophy made such an impact. In fact, he was so excited that he posted about his leadership philosophy on Facebook, writing:. Still needs some polishing, but happy with draft 1.
Workshop participants also shared their leadership philosophies with others in the group before being treated to a panel discussion that included executives from Hamilton and nearby Marion counties who told stories and provided insight into the personal values that drive their behavior and actions as leaders, as well as how their organizations use values to positively impact results.
During the extreme cold of the Polar Vortex in January, on the coldest night of the year when the wind chill was degrees, a valve broke on one of the liquefied natural gas tanks that provide gas into our system which, of course, is used to heat homes. And as employees from various divisions gather together to come up with a solution, the values of quality and teamwork were very evident.
Each member of the team that night came in during off hours, bringing specific skills to collaborate on a solution that, ultimately, ended with three people climbing to the top of the 80 foot tank in the coldest hour of the coldest day to implement a fix. It was all hands on deck and, in fact, a temporary worker was brought into the conversation because he had an idea for fixing the broken valve based on an observation earlier in the day.
This truly demonstrated the value of teamwork and illustrates the great lengths our employees went to in order to ensure customers had gas to heat their homes. I know it sounds hokey, but we really took it to heart. This means making our clients better, making each other better, making life better for our families, making the technical field better and, finally, making our community better.
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We live these values out every day through our client training sessions, mentoring, wellness initiatives, technical community involvement and events, and our community involvement plan. A concrete example is our Pay It Forward Month. We provide a small stipend for each employee and ask them to help others in the community in some small, but meaningful way. Involvement in our community has become ingrained in who we are. I see our people taking it to heart and going above and beyond. Leaders left the session energized about their personal leadership, and eager to help others explore their own personal values and help them make the link to their organizational values.
Lisa Wissman of Community Health put it this way:. I have applied what I learned, shared examples from the panel and networked with two new individuals who are assisting me with helping a young engineer build a professional network for his job search. I truly hit the jackpot! Thank you for creating the opportunity. This most recent Values-Driven Leadership Workshop again confirmed the importance of the contribution that HCLA makes to the community by helping leaders further their development.
Hearing stories from panel members, having the space and time to reflect on their own values, and getting an unexpected opportunity to reflect on their leadership philosophies, HCLA participants and alumnae are in an even better position to make a positive impact on the communities in which they live and work.
The Gift of Leadership program, begun in , is not just an annual workshop. It is a cause. Our Gift of Leadership program was held in March, and for two full days ILA and our other collaborative partners hosted a dynamic group of managers and directors from such Greater Cincinnati area nonprofits as The Council on Aging, Girl Scouts, St.
Vincent de Paul, and the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, among others. The venue was once again provided by our partner, Camp Joy, a nonprofit organization devoted to experiential learning for over 75 years. They generously provided scholarships for the program, and are deeply committed to providing more nonprofit members with ongoing, high - quality leadership development opportunities, such as The Leadership Challenge.
Collectively, we have been working on a vision of making the Cincinnati community better by building up our nonprofit leadership. We have developed a plan and are already in the process of rolling out a strategy to seek ongoing funding from businesses and other donors, to make the gift of The Leadership Challenge the foundation of leadership for area nonprofits. Certified Master Facilitator Valarie Willis is also part of this endeavor.
She offers The Leadership Challenge for additional members of this nonprofit community, and has played an important role in developing the strategy for keeping the Gift of Leadership moving forward in Cincinnati. New friendships were made and participants have begun sharing best practices—already raising their leadership capacity to better serve people in need throughout the Greater Cincinnati community.
As one Gift of Leadership participant wrote:. I have made some commitments to myself that I intend to accomplish in the next 30 days that will benefit me and the organization. Thanks again for thinking of me for this opportunity. Every day, people working with human services agencies must confront circumstances which seem virtually impossible, and often deeply heart wrenching.
Their work is hard and tireless, yet their passion and commitment remains unswerving. It is a privilege to be able to contribute to their efforts in some small way. We thank them for their devotion to their work and for accepting the challenge to become better leaders for their organizations and the people they serve. For 25 years, Steve has taught, coached, and consulted with executives and all levels of managers around the world in leadership development, team development, personal growth, change, and business strategy. Can you share your thoughts on why that is and some examples that illustrate the value of telling stories?
Through stories, leaders pass on lessons about shared values and the norms about how people should work together. In a business climate obsessed with PowerPoint presentations, complex graphs and charts, and lengthy reports, storytelling may seem to some like a soft way of getting hard stuff done. Research shows that telling more positive stories than negative stories enables individuals, groups, and organizations to recover more quickly from adversity and trauma. In fact, research indicates that when leaders want to communicate standards, stories are a much more effective means of communication than are corporate policy statements, data about performance, and even a story plus the data.
His dad was a great storyteller, and he used stories especially effectively to teach lessons. Phillip has carried the family tradition into his business life at Goodyear. When Phillip was named to head up a large team with previously poor engagement scores for communication, he needed to find a way to be more proactive about connecting with employees. He carried the practice with him when he was appointed president of Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems, a 2,person wholly owned subsidiary of Goodyear.
Storytelling, Phillip says, accomplishes two things.
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It offers a framework for relating to the message—something that people encounter in their own lives that can bridge to the main point. It also offers him the chance to lead through an example rather than to come across simply as preaching. Telling stories forces you to pay close attention to what your constituents are doing. Peers generally make better role models for what to do at work than famous people or ones several levels up in the hierarchy. When others hear or read a story about someone with whom they can identify, they are much more likely to see themselves doing the same thing.
People seldom tire of hearing stories about themselves and the people they know. These stories get repeated, and the lessons of the stories get spread far and wide. Storytelling is how people pass along lessons from generation to generation, culture to culture. Together with Barry Posner, he is author of The Leadership Challenge —now in its fifth edition—and over a thirty other books and workbooks on leadership and leadership development.
Using a proven, evidence-based approach to leadership—in the form of The Leadership Challenge—Presence Health is inspiring its nursing leaders to strengthen partnerships, value contributions, and create innovative solutions that are transforming the culture of the entire organization. What began in with the merger of two single ministries, Provena Health and Resurrection Health Care, is now a fully integrated health system consisting of five congregations:.
Collectively, these congregations represent a unified passion, capturing the essence of the Presence Health name: to be present with others. And it was through this desire for unified connection that Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center wanted to ignite change within its nursing staff. Presence Saint Joseph had a historical baseline turnover of To achieve this, Jackie began working with her team to create a new leadership initiative: Every Nurse a Leader , a program that would establish a new philosophy and mindset for emerging nurse leaders at the point of care and fundamentally transform the culture long-term.
They started by looking for the root cause of the high turnover rate among RNs. What they found was a lack of structure—a framework that could provide guidance for new graduate nurses and help them understand more clearly what it would take to be successful in their work. They also emphasized developing inter-organizational relationships and holistic teams to focus on the common mission of patient care.
At the heart of the Every Nurse a Leader program is a two-year Transition into Practice residency, set up in stages to allow everyone to grow and become a leader within the organization. Focusing on clinical, technical, interpersonal, and leadership skills, each participant is involved in a series of projects and roles throughout their residency. The first LPI is administered during their orientation period, after their cohort begins.
A follow-up assessment is completed at the end of the first year of practice and, again, at the end of the second year—and beyond. Residents in the program Model the Way with hands-on clinical training in a Simulation Lab where they receive real-time feedback on their clinical and critical thinking skills as well as a full debrief to help analyze and reflect on their performance. Taking the challenge one step further, each cohort spends a full day at an outdoor teamwork facility where they learn how to take risks, to overcome fears, and to trust each other as they work as a unified team.
Jackie and her team at Presence Saint Joseph have found that Enabling Others to Act through these collaborations creates a supportive infrastructure that encourages key stakeholders to make a meaningful investment in the process and strengthens engagement and shared decision-making. More experienced Nurse Managers actively participate in interviewing, onboarding, and providing transitional support during the residency period for new RNs. In addition, interdisciplinary partners, including the nursing leadership team and executives, are involved in the Transition into Practice Program through cohort educational sessions.
Presence Saint Joseph has seen an increased commitment to goals and those involved in the program have also reported an increased capacity to attain goals. Every Nurse a Leader has already produced stellar results through six program cohorts. Presence Saint Joseph has decreased its turnover rate for RNs in their first year: down to 9. The Every Nurse a Leader program at Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center continues to grow and reach more and more aspiring leaders within the organization.
We, at Integris Performance Advisors, are proud to have played a part in their success. We congratulate Jackie Medland and her team for leading the charge and showing so clearly what it truly means to liberate the leader within. Helping Integris clients succeed using innovative thinking, delivering meaningful results, and fostering personal growth, he can be reached at KJ. Jenison IntegrisPA. Make sure that people are creatively rewarded for their contributions to the success of your projects. Write down something that each of your constituents personally enjoys.
Author and consultant Jennifer Robin has spent years studying, observing, working with—and in—great workplaces. Be ready for some surprises! Learn more about Jennifer Robin at www. While the best leaders are self-aware, they are careful not to let their feelings manage them.
Instead, they manage their feelings. Self-control is important. One way to respond would be to yell at them and put them down in front of the group. But would that be the best way to handle the situation for the sake of your credibility and your relationship with your constituents? The same is true in learning. There will be times when you become frustrated and when you become upset at the feedback that you receive.
Upon the retirement of long-time CEO Steve Ballmer, Nadella is only the third chief executive to head the mega-giant founded and led by Bill Gates for so many years. But in his first email to employees, Nadella clearly set the tone for what is to come. Leadership takes courage: the courage to go first, be open and vulnerable, ask for feedback , speak out on issues of values and conscience, navigate difficult situations and make tough choices. Earning and sustaining personal credibility—the very foundation of exemplary leadership—demands it.
And who better to help us understand how to develop courage than Bill Treasurer, former captain of the U. K eynoting at The Leadership Challenge Forum , Bill will take the stage to engage participants in learning how to become more personally courageous and discover how to inspire more courageous behavior among those we lead. A daredevil athlete who, for seven years, traveled the world performing over high dives from heights that scaled to over feet—sometimes on fire! Department of Veterans Affairs. A high-spirited keynote speaker who has shared his risk-taking experiences and courageous insights with groups across the country, Bill is the author of several books, including the international best-seller Courage Goes to Work , and the off-the-shelf facilitator training program published by Wiley , Courageous Leadership: A Program for Using Courage to Transform the Workplace.
Honesty with yourself and others produces a level of humility that earns you credibility. People like people who show they are human. Admitting mistakes and being open to accepting new ideas and new learning communicates that you are willing to grow. It does something else as well. It promotes a culture of honesty and openness. Hubris is the killer disease in leadership. All evil leaders have been infected with the disease of hubris, becoming bloated with an exaggerated sense of self and pursuing their own sinister ends. How then to avoid it?
Humility is the way to resolve the conflicts and contradictions of leadership. Leadership is also a performing art, and the best leaders also have coaches. The coach might be someone from inside or outside of the organization. This person might be a peer, a manager, a trainer, or someone with specific expertise in what you are trying to learn. Coaches can play a number of roles.
The most obvious is to watch you perform, give you feedback, and offer suggestions for improvement. But effective coaches can also be a very valuable source of social support, which is essential to resilience and persistence. Support is especially important when people are being asked to change their behavior. When you return to work after training, your initial enthusiasm can be quickly crushed if there is no one around to offer words of encouragement.
Every leader needs someone to lean on from time to time. Your coach should be able to offer you not only advice but also attention and caring. The best coaches are good listeners. In fact, they watch and listen about twice as much as they teach and tell. Many organizations have an honest desire to develop more and better leaders.
Yet despite the noblest of intentions many, if not most, also fall short. While some individuals may show improvement, the collective effort either never takes hold or fizzles out after a relatively short time. And as you read along, consider from your experience what the biggest culprits you have found that get in the way of leaders developing to their full potential.
There are typically a few other categories, e. Finally, there may be an add-on category about leadership development, frequently embedded somewhere in the self-development objectives. This, unfortunately, is how too many managers rationalize that they are, in fact, clarifying their expectations around leadership. But the communicated message is clear: make your numbers and, in your spare time, continue to improve yourself and work on becoming a better leader.
Everything is a high priority these days. And everyone is expected to meet ever-growing expectations. Otherwise, those development efforts will inevitably slip between the cracks. Assuming the expectation to lead is clearly made, there is a great deal of confusion about what it actually means.
The reason? Because many organizations have not adopted a clear, concise, definable, model of leadership. Despite what some organizational leaders seem to believe—that leadership is an esoteric, philosophical list of academic concepts—a well-grounded leadership model allows everyone, in any position throughout the organization, to know exactly what leadership looks like, what people do when they are leading, and how it differs from other activities.
While some competencies are more directly tied to leadership than others, they generally cover broad knowledge areas such as financial acumen, strategic agility, business savvy, and communications. But having a competency model in place is just a starting point. For example, being competent at people development and having a cross-boundary mindset will no doubt be tremendous assets to rising leaders.
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However, those descriptors fail to explain what the leader must be doing on a day-to-day basis to fully develop these competencies. With its evidenced-based research and its immediate, hands-on applicability, the model is like an instruction manual for creating higher performing teams, increasing employee engagement, and inspiring people to do their very best work — all key outcomes of leadership. And with constantly changing circumstances, it must be reinforced time and time again.
One ILA client organization has done a remarkable job emphasizing the importance of leadership. Like many, they suffered financially during the downturn. But they weathered the storm and learned an invaluable lesson: in order for them to be a great company—especially in our constantly chaotic, unmanageable world—they would need to have great leaders in every department, at every level of the business. This meant developing leaders, regardless of title or position, who were willing and able to tackle tough problems, proactively respond to uncontrollable changes, and develop innovative solutions or breakthroughs ideas.
They now view leadership development as a key strategy that will help ensure continued prosperity and future success. Fatal Flaw 4 - the last of the culprits impeding leadership development efforts is the most obvious—and the one receiving the most attention. It is the lack of ongoing follow-through. To ensure that people grow and develop as effective leaders, there must be an intentional, purposeful, and sustained effort that is a key organizational strategy. It has to be more than an annual self-development objective to read a book or attend a workshop on the subject.
It has to be something for which people are held accountable every single day. Many organizations have invested heavily in systems and processes designed to keep people constantly focused on financial or project performance objectives. Formal meetings or casual drop-ins throughout the day focus on project status and problems, new opportunities to increase sales, or innovative steps to overcome obstacles.
But can the same be said about the focus on leadership? Yet, the movement of up and coming leaders or other key talent through the development funnel might be discussed once or twice a year. So in much the same way organizations keep everyone mindful of the importance of financial and operational essentials, it is equally important to help everyone remain mindful of some of the most important aspects of leadership.
In order that strategic leadership development efforts take hold, organizations must be thoughtful and intentional about the systems and support mechanisms needed to reinforce its value. Of course, individuals are still responsible for continuing to learn and practice more effective leadership behaviors. But organizational support is essential. Setting clear expectations about leadership, clearly defining it, establishing context, and providing ongoing support are the fundamentals for a successful organization-wide leadership development process. Holding others accountable means that you hold yourself accountable first.
Take one specific week to work on just this skill. At the end of each day, use your scheduler or your to-do notes to remind yourself of what you did. Create four columns on a page of paper. Understanding your own behavior makes you more aware of opportunities to hold others accountable for adhering to the standards. Take this activity one step further.
Share it with your employees and ask them to repeat the same thing you did. Meet with each of them to learn about their results. Kouzes, Barry Z. What is this leadership? It was the 27 th of December and we were camped under the corrugated roof of a derelict house in the tiny village of Paso Marcos, in the Cartago Province of Costa Rica. Cartago lies in the Central Eastern belt of the country, running from the central mountainous spine toward the Caribbean and the Province of Limon.
For this adventure, I had put together a team of four people including Urbano and myself, Martin Veregas, a local farmer, and Henrietta Stavely from England. At this time, our team had trekked kilometres through rain and cloud forest, crossing the Talamanca mountains at an altitude of 3, metres whilst often staying in Cabecar settlements and hunting camps along the way. As the rain beat a thunderous rhythm, I explored with Urbano the values and concepts at the core of the Cabecar, a population of around 20, whose culture has remained little changed for years. Despite knowing Urbano for a decade, I had made assumptions about Cabecar leadership that my friend quickly dispelled.
He explained that there was no word for leadership in the Cabecar language, and no word for love either. This described the relationship between Caciques chiefs and their communities, husbands and wives, as well as parents and children alike. The more we chatted, it became clear that there was little, if any, conceptual understanding of leadership and I became even more intrigued.
Every spare moment for the rest of the trip Urbano and I discussed the values and structure of the Cabecar.
Loading my gear onto the horse Urbano and Jami had brought, we were soon striding through the rainforest on the way to the area of the Pacuare Valley in which the Jameikari community live. Soon we were sitting by his palenque  , discussing the days ahead that were to include my real first-hand introduction to important aspects of Cabecar traditions. The next day passed quickly as I attended a community gathering before packing the few things I was allowed to take with me for my tribal initiation.
In order to understand the fabric of the Cabecar culture, I had asked to experience elements of the initiation that teenage boys complete for a month at a time as part of their transition to manhood. This tradition centres on living in the forest, within clearly defined rules, whilst being guided by a mentor. Urbano would be my mentor for my truncated initiation. The only food we could bring was coffee and bananas and I must leave all modern conveniences and pleasures behind, even books.
In fact, I had to be given express permission to bring a mosquito net as I had contracted malaria on a previous trip. Urbano showed me places special to his father and the Jameikari and began to explain the traditions, beliefs and structures that have supported the Cabecar over the centuries. It was during this walk that he introduced me to the core values of Madre Tierra, fuego, agua y ninos Mother Earth, fire, water, and children.
And later on, whenever I asked any Cabecar about the valores of the Cabecar, everyone gave me the same answer, whether child or elder. During this time, I was taught to hunt and fish, and to identify edible and medicinal plants and fruits--important technical skills but seen as secondary to understanding the relationship of self and the Cabecar to the forest. Through the blackness of night, we sang Cabecar songs to the forest around us and I was strongly encouraged to reflect upon my identity, my relationship with the forest and the ecological web that wound through it and what that relationship might be in the future.
Although highly rational and non-spiritual by nature, I found the process deeply affecting and effective in bringing clarity around my motives and values. While my mentoring during this brief initiation may have been informal and unstructured, I reached a profound understanding that I believe other forms of inquiry could not have delivered. It was a gentle but lively affair with dustbins full of fermented banana or maize alcohol, called chicha , being consumed.
Finally, after some very ragged dancing and singing, virtually every man was asleep around the fire in the large palenque. The next morning I began my interviews with members of the Jameikari and two neighbouring communities. By way of example, she shared the story of the Cabecar of the Peje Valley. When considering whether to accept a government offer to provide electricity within their reserve, the community asked the children and young adults to make the decision as they would be the ones who would be living with the consequences.
In the end, they asked for a pylon line to be run to the school but no further, explaining that if they were to treat this resource as infinite then they might treat their environment and its resources in the same way, leading to erosion in the natural web of which they are part. This sense of sustainability and clarity of understanding remains an exceptional example of Inspiring a Shared Vision in practice.
The Cabecar vision is informed by their values and the more I spoke with members of the community, the more compelling these values became. Mother Earth , for example, represents the environment in which the Cabecar operate and the requirement for sustainability. Fire is both security and comfort, while Water is the element that connects all communities and the ecosystem of which they are part.
Children are central to all aspects of Cabecar life, making succession planning of paramount importance. Every Cabecar I met intuitively Modelled the Way , a discipline that has been shaped by the forest as much as by the tribe itself. And I found a concentrated effort in each community to develop every person within it through individual and group coaching and by encouraging learning through a sense of exploration, adventure, and experimentation—fully embracing Challenging the Process, Enabling Others to Act, and Encouraging the Heart.
For the Cabecar people, there is no need for the use of terms such as leadership or followership as these behaviours are the responsibility of all Cabecar, not just their Caciques. Not just within, and between the communities and clans but also to other indigenous people , Ticos  , Siboh  and the environment. Leaders teach and show but do not dictate. They create frameworks for learning through experimentation. They encourage children and adults alike to make their own decisions and understand the nature of responsibility but they are always there as the final safety net and to dispense wisdom when asked.
There are no Cabecar words for leadership or love. Justin Featherstone MC, FRGS, delivers leadership development programmes, leads expeditions to the mountains, rainforests and whitewater rivers of the world and is an occasional academic lecturer, documentary presenter, and public speaker. He can be reached at denaliuk yahoo. One of the reasons the best leaders are highly self-aware is that they ask for feedback from others.
They want to know the negative as well as the positive. But that also explains why being able to manage your emotions is so important. The more specific you can be with your request, the more likely that others will have something to share with you. When people are learning, others tend to be very forgiving. Then say thanks. Behavior change is one of the most difficult and challenging endeavors any of us ever takes on, yet this is precisely what the Technology Group of an international oilfield services company has accomplished.
Realizing the importance of effective leadership behavior in affecting performance, the company engaged Leadership Mechanics to work with the Technology Group and implement a month-long development strategy—using The Leadership Challenge as a foundation. Beginning with all those at the director level, we eventually engaged managers, supervisors, and high potentials as well. Using these baseline LPI indications, each participant in the program then set about developing specific actions and personal development plans that would guide them in improving their effectiveness as leaders.
At the month mark, positive results were achieved in each of The Five Practices—between 10 to 20 percent! Elevated leadership levels have been documented within the entire group, which has inspired them to begin working toward a complete leadership culture change. In addition to continuing to develop current and future leaders, the group is now using The Leadership Challenge with individual contributors.
The goal is to begin to develop a common leadership language that will, ultimately, create a better communication bridge between leaders and their teams. And because frontline employees know and understand The Leadership Challenge, at least at a basic level, leaders will be able to make an even bigger impact. Plus, these individual contributors are learning how they, too, can develop their own leadership thumbprint. An experienced and results—oriented speaker and coach whose corporate career has included positions with Southwest Airlines and The Tom Peters Company, he can be reached at www.
Exemplary leaders and exemplary learners create a system that enables them to monitor and measure progress on a regular basis. The best measurement systems are ones that are visible and instant—like the speedometer on your dashboard or the watch on your wrist. The best measurement systems are also ones that you can check yourself, without having to wait for someone else to tell you.
For instance, you can count how many thank-you notes you send out by keeping a log. A self-monitoring system can include asking for feedback. Another way to monitor your progress is to repeat the administration of the Leadership Practices Inventory at least once a year, and preferably every six to nine months. The horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, may have occurred 12 years ago, but the memory of those events remain emblazoned on our minds and hearts to this day.
Welcoming over , visitors annually, these dedicated volunteers contribute hundreds of hours of their time and their deepest emotions to fulfill the mission of the organization:. To support victims of terrorism through communication, representation and peer support… to unite the September 11th community, present evolving issues, and share resources for long-term recovery. Just this year, on October 21st, members of the Loeb Consulting Group were honored to have an opportunity to dedicate our time and resources to lead their management team through a customized half-day introduction to The Leadership Challenge and experience, first-hand, the spirit and passion of this group of dedicated professionals.
As they discussed the courage and dedication it requires for the team to come to work and contribute with enthusiasm each and every day at this special place, Lee asked Natalie to choose one of the stones for herself. Honored and grateful, she chose a rough stone with a crack as a memento of her first visit. It reminds her that life is not perfect; yet, at the same time, it is beautiful. He made the experience special with his gift. Unlike many other organizations Loeb Consulting Group works with, the September 11th Families Association confronts challenges that are unique.
And the emotions they confront almost daily are far more dramatic than what we would typically deal with in a more traditional for-profit or non-profit environment. In addition to volunteers, the September 11th Families Association itself enjoys great stability among its employees with an average tenure of five years.
With COO Gordon Loeb as co-facilitator for this event, participants wasted no time in sharing personal stories of those who had significantly influenced their careers and lives. For example, the awareness of how their daily interactions impact others, in some cases for years to come, was immediately realized. As the program progressed and participants explored how to live out the Practices, they consistently, either obviously or subtly, referred back to the essential principles of Encourage the Heart.
We also employed the Leadership Practices Inventory LPI with the group and, true to form, they quite naturally received feedback in the appropriate spirit—as a gift. Without defensiveness, there was an openness to address the feedback they were given and a real commitment to leverage their strengths in order to improve their effectiveness as leaders and to help develop the leadership capacity of their volunteers as well.
As is always the case, the power of The Leadership Challenge to help the September 11th Families Association increase its capacity to serve is just beginning.