Transformative Leadership Toolbox

Our workshop is guided by the assumption that leadership begins and ends with collaborative reflections.  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.  in our workshop, we will discuss the processes of self-reflection, network mapping, and action planning in small groups to help you consider how to expand your impact and advance your career in purposeful and engaged ways.

Please complete this leadership profile before you come to the workshop.  If you enroll at the last minute, you can complete the profile when you arrive because it only takes a few minutes to complete.

We will be using the scholarship of the facilitators as points of departure for our discussions.  You do not need to read the works before the workshop.  One of our goals is to help you consider how your research in rhetoric and composition can help you to develop a leadership mindset that considers the rhetorical dynamics of contested situations and the recursive problem-solving process of composing and advancing shared goals.  A leadership mindset is an action-oriented extension of a rhetorical stance and the collaborative workshop pedagogies that are such a vital part of what we teach.

Leadership Begins and Ends in Collaborative Reflection

To help you reflect on your leadership, you may wish to take a look at “Inside-Out Leadership” to consider how your personal reflections and community engagements can factor into your development as a leader.  A related resource on mindfulness and leadership is “The Inside-Out Leader.”   Another resource for considering your self-assessment is "What Is Reflective Leadership?"  

As you consider how you think about leadership and how you are viewed as a leader, you should reflect upon how women, minorities and others are view are viewed through stereotypical assumptions about leadership, as discussed in "The Double-Bind Dilemma for Women in Leadership: Damned if You Do, Doomed if You Don’t."  Faculty from underrepresented backgrounds often have to look past the responses they receive to develop a vision of themselves as inclusive leaders, as discussed 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).

Learning to Listen with/for Others

Listening is a model for transformative leadership, and becoming a better listener is a vital part of learning to lead.  Listening requires empathy and humility, as is discussed in Humility is the New Smart by Hess and Ludwig.  

Networking to Advance Collective Action 

Networking is crucial to building the transformative potentials of distributed models of leadership.  Learning networks can help help us deepen and expand our collaborative reflections.  A step-by-step guide to help women and others develop such support networks is provided by the Lean In organization’s materials on Lean In Circles.  

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.

Engaging in Transformative Leadership

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.