Leadership in Action Resources

Overview  //  What we will be doing

What we will be discussing

The guiding assumption of this workshop is that leadership is a collaborative process concerned not with power but empowerment.  As such, leadership begins in self-reflection and ends in collective action.  Seminar participants should purchase StrengthsFinders 2.0, which provides access to the online self-assessment used in the second workshop.  The readings below will help you understand related theories and research but are not required for the workshop.

Introduction: Adaptive Leadership in Learning Organizations (9-10:15)

Theories of adaptive leadership are summarized in Becoming an Adaptive Leader, which provides an accessible introduction to leadership as a collaborative process (though the middle section is focused on congregational leadership).  Adaptive leadership models have particular relevance in thinking about “learning organizations,” as discussed in "Peter Senge and the Learning Organization."  For further reading, you may wish to consider “Looking Both Ways Through the Windows of Senge's Five Disciplines”  and The Practice of Adaptive Leadership.

Workshop 1: Leading with Your Strengths (10:30-11:30)

The dynamic interplay of observation, reflection, and action is formalized in the heuristics included in the StrengthsFinders 2.0 text and test.  The StrengthsFinders self-assessment focuses on four skillsets: Strategic Thinking, Executing, Influencing and Relationship Building.  These models connect with adaptive theories of leadership and Senge’s emphasis on the interplay of personal reflection and “systems thinking.”  For further reading, you may wish to consider how strengths-based models and Senge’s ideas have contributed to the development of educational programs and “inside-out leadership” models in the academy.

Workshop 2: Building Teams to Advance Projects (11:45-12:30, with discussions continuing over lunch)

To be effective collaborators, leaders need to understand the management and interpersonal skills involving in building teams and advancing complex long-term projects.  As with other aspects of collaborative leadership, models of collaborative project management can help compositionists build on their strengths in working with writing as a collaborative, staged and recursive process for solving complex problems.  Rhetoric and composition specialists also understand how personal reflections help to advance persuasive communications.  To help you build on your work, this session will focus on the project that you have brought to the workshop.

Workshop 3: Building Coalitions to Advance Change (1:30-3:00)

Process models can also help us with change management.  Heuristics for “systems thinking” can help us build on our expertise, including ecological and ethnographic models of rhetorical analysis.  Those models can help with the environmental scanning that is vital to aligning strategic projects with broader institutional changes.  Our discussions will draw on A Social Change Model of Leadership.  For further reading, you may also wish to consult this article on reimaginging universities as complex adaptive systems.  We will apply these readings to exploring how you can expand the impact of the project you have brought to the table.

Concluding Session: Onward, Outward and Upward (3:15-4:30)

Using the frame of "Inside-Out Leadership," we will conclude by using Boyer’s category of “the scholarship of engagement” to bring together our discussions of change management and leadership as a reflective practice.  Engagement provides a focal point for considering broader trends in higher education and practical strategies for representing your leadership as applied research. For further reading, you may also wish to examine  Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public, which is an interdisciplinary effort to connect engaged scholarship with broader social movements, and the Engaged University, which provides a comparativist perspective on how those movements are redefining higher education.  We will also note resources for mid-career faculty and those for post-docs (which are also useful for nontenure-track and assistant professors, though you will need to extrapolate from the focus on the sciences).