Leadership in Action Resources

Handout for 4Cs Workshop

Our workshop is guided by the assumption that leadership begins with reflections on what we are working to achieve and how we are perceived by others.  To translate such reflections into action, we need to develop collaborative networks that reach across and beyond the university.  Mapping these networks is a vital step in planning how to advance projects to engage stakeholders and negotiate institutional constraints and priorities.  The processes of self-reflection, mapping networks, and action planning do not unfold in a linear manner, but this resource page will review them sequentially to parallel the discussions in our sessions on reflective leadership, leadership networks, and planning projects to engage community stakeholders.

Crossing the Intersections

Our opening session will use the metaphor of “Inside-Out Leadership” to foreground reflection as fundamental to leadership development, and also the strategic process of assessing how we can position ourselves within the broader contexts of outreach and community.  A related resource on mindfulness and leadership is “The Inside-Out Leader” from the website mindful: taking time for what matters.  As we will discuss, the Johari window is a useful heuristic for considering blind spots where feedback from others is needed to complement our self-reflections, as discussed in What Is Reflective Leadership? 

In such exercises, leaders are often encouraged to consider their own self-reflections against others’ perceptions of their leadership.  This transactional mode of validating our sense of our leadership can be problematic for women, ethnic minorities and others who may be viewed through masculinist assumptions about leadership, as discussed in sources such as The Double-Bind Dilemma for Women in Leadership: Damned if You Do, Doomed if You Don’t.  Practical strategies for an intersectional approach to self-assessment are considered in Latino’s “Leadership at the Intersection: A Developmental Framework for Inclusive Leaders,” from Barnett and Felton’s Intersectionality in Action: A Guide for Faculty and Campus Leaders (2016).

Surveying Leadership Networks

Networking can seem like careerist  self-promotion, but developing robust learning networks is vital to distributed forms of leadership that are exercised through collaborative relationships.  A useful handout and lecture by Hermina Ibarra are available on the Lean In organization’s website, including resources to help women leaders build collaborative learning Lean In CirclesRelated resources on building networks are available on the website for the Center for Women’s Leadership at Stanford.

Networking has taken on new meaning in the era of social networks.  Humans are distinguished from the smart machines that are poised to replace us by our power to listen and reflect together according to Humility is the New Smart by Hess and Ludwig.  The importance of stopping to listen and reflect together will provide us with a bridge from our discussions of reflective leadership to our explorations of how to develop inclusive leadership networks that reach beyond our working relationships to help us connect with groups beyond the academy, as we will discuss using the Discussion Guide from Ibarra’s online lecture.

Action Planning

Paulo Freire has been a major theoretical source for activist modes of engaging in collaborations with communities aimed at developing their collective leadership capacities, as discussed Miller, Brown, and Hopson’s “Centering Love, Hope, and Trust in the Community: Transformative Urban Leadership Informed by Paulo Freire” and Bouwen’s “Relational Practices for Generative Communal Organizing” from Steyaert and Looy’s Relational Practices, Participative Organizing (2010).  Complex long-term collaborations require the sort of project management skills that we will discuss in our third session.  A short accessible overview of those skills is provided by this site on Action Planning.  A step-by-step guide to project management is provided by this Collaborative Project Management Guide.

Leveraging Your Impact in Community-Based Writing and Civic Engagement

Gateway sources on the transformative potentials of distributed forms leadership in higher education include Developing Collective Leadership in Higher Education and A Social Change Model of Leadership DevelopmentEngagement provides a focal point for considering broader trends in higher education and practical strategies for representing your leadership as applied research.  As you consider how to position your service efforts as evidence of your leadership and impact, you should also work with Boyer’s category of “the scholarship of engagement.”  For examples, 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.  The Engaged University provides a useful framework for considering how work with outreach, civic engagement, and community partnerships are redefining higher education in ways that have strategic importance that you can use to validate your work with related projects.