Friday, November 22, 2013

teaching leadership

Last night I had the opportunity to work with one of The Concordia MBA cohorts in San Antonio guiding them in the process of learning about leadership.  This group is in the middle of  the Leadership:Self class and I was invited to come down from Austin to "guest lecture."  I put those words in italics because I did anything but lecture as they got to talk much more than I did - and I was  learning right along with them.  By the end of the evening (which was around 10:0 PM) we had become friends and colleagues on a journey of learning about leadership together.  Here's what happened:

  • they had read some great writings about leadership characteristics, failure in leadership, and using one's strengths in leadership - the readings gave us theory and context in which to talk about deep things
  • they were a small group that allowed everyone to talk in depth about the readings and their personal experiences
  • they had been together for awhile (The Concordia MBA uses a cohort style of learning) and had developed trust in which they could go deeper in their sharing and learning
  • they had done some reflective work ahead of time, both in the form of journaling as well as their Passionography assignment, giving them something on which to base their dialogue
  • they had read about and practiced the power of DIALOGUE and how that type of interaction is so much better than mere discussion
  • they had sought feedback on themselves from others through their Passionography assignment, allowing them to more fully reflect on their personal leadership
  • they had developed trust among them, knowing that when they shared personal "stuff" it would remain with the group and there would be no judging
  • they cam from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, all of which made for a very rich conversation among them
  • I asked a lot of questions, let them talk, then guided them in thinking deeper about what they had just said by asking more questions
  • I used my experience and knowledge to merely add to their experience and knowledge
  • I allowed them to teach me - my "aha's" during the evening only added to their "aha's"
  • they were humble in their learning process, knowing that they had a long way to go in this journey of learning about leadership
As you look at that list, consider how you might help others develop their leadership potential - what kind of environment can you create so others can grow? what kind of readings can you give to them? how do you pull together a group of willing learners? do you approach the group with a learning attitude of your own? how can you help people reflect deeply so they better understand themselves? what type of work assignments can you give that help develop leadership?  do you engage in dialogue or discussion with others?  finally, what have you done to grow in your personal leadership - how are you a different/better leader today than you were last year?

Kudos to Dr. Charita Ray-Blakely for her leadership of this class and of The Concordia MBA program in San Antonio...kudos to Dr. Linda Ford who helped shape and build The Concordia MBA to include this type of class...kudos to Roger Clark, admissions specialist at the Concordia San Antonio Center for recruiting this great group of students...and kudos to each of the students in this cohort who gave of themselves for two hours last night so that they - AND I - could learn more about leadership...and about ourselves.

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