THE FRAYING OF OUR SOCIAL JUSTICE FABRIC (POST 76)

May 1, 2015

Working professionals in the human services and education realms have committee their lives to helping others.   They have gone to school and received degrees in a special academic area tied too the service of others.   This is often designated as service leadership.  They live the social justice philosophy  daily. They are aware that they will often have to work for organizations that receive their financial support from public  or governmental sources.  Many people have physical and mental problems that need support from these health and education supporting professionals.   Children need to be educated.   Teaching is not an alternative form of service for people who cannot get jobs elsewhere.  Parents may need day care from professionally trained individuals so they can support their families.  Many people have low incomes or no income which leads to poverty and a low quality of life.  People with disabilities need help too maintain themselves and remain in their home communities.  Wounded veterans who fought for our country and were then forgotten struggle.  The expectation of many of our elected officials is that the private sector or local contributors will help all these people.   They do but it is not enough.  Government still has an important role to play. Government still seems to not only blame the victim but also their helpers.

Our politicians have helped our people until recent years.    Presidents Kennedy and Johnson led the way. Many programs were created from the 1960s until the beginning of this new century.  President Obama pushed health reform to help millions of uninsured people.  Many of our leaders historically fought to help our American people. But some thingshave happened. Our elected officials have been bought by special interest groups.  Elections are more about money than people issues.  Our social justice fabric has frayed.  Corruption seems to have increased on both   sides of the political aisle.  Truth is not a governing principle anymore. Monies in our governmental coffers has been spent on many frivolous projects.  Our leadership has deteriorated.  Our country has moved dangerously to the right.  Money or lack of it rules over many social issues.   Retirees pensions are in danger. Governments in many states are cutting or elimination educational programs that help our needy neighbors.  We have voted for change that honors the rich, companies and international conglomerates over people, shrinking the middle class, and turning us back to a way of life that diminishes our people and our society.

We need leaders who will fight for the people. We nee to make social justice a reality again if we are to survive as a strong and independent nation.

 


POLITICS AND LEADERSHIP (POST 75)

March 31, 2015

I think it is interesting to look back and to study the history of the United States.  Although not everyone agreed that the colonies should separate from England.  Yet, there came a time when men of the colonies fought a war for independence.  Although we fought this war even though there were many who could agree on what this newly independent country would look like.  Our political leaders did agree on creating a democracy.   They did not all agree on whether the country would have a strong central government or a government in which states rights would predominate.   Our leaders were strong and remained gentleman even when we did not agree on all the particulars.  We still talk about our founding fathers as leaders—George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and so many others.  We still study these leaders’ lives today.  The 19th century brought interesting changes although we still study Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and others as both heroes and great leaders.    Congress even then did not always agree with the President although there were clearly leaders among our Congress including Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and others.   With the Industrial Revolution, new leaders arose from the developing railroads, oil , and other industries.

During the 20th century, our concept of leadership seemed to shift from the governmental sector to the business sector.  Organizations seemed to influence public policy more and more.  Lobbying became more prevalent in the second half of the last century to a point where we lost faith in our governmental leaders who only seemed to support the lobbyists and their companies the lobbyists represented. That is not to imply that some individuals were able to rise above the new political influencers.  Theodore Roosevelt, Woodfrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson Tip O’Neill, and Martin Luther King come to mind. It seems today that respect for our presidents has declined.  It seems that lobbyist speak for our industries, Congress follows because of substantial financial  contributions, and the public loses.  Speaking of being caught between a rock and two hard places, an elected official is caught between the people who voted, lobbyists, and the agenda of his or her party.  Change is necessary.   Congressional gridlock must end.  I often wonder where have all the governmental leaders gone.


TIME, SPACE, AND CULTURE- ECOLOGICAL LEADERSHIP REDUX (POST 74)

February 26, 2015

In my post for September 2009, I introduced my concept of ecological leadership.  “Ecological leaders are committed to the development of their personal talents, leadership skills and competencies throughout their professional careers while at the same time being committed to the appropriate applications of their skills in their communities’ changing {health} and health care priorities.” All leadership takes place within the context of a community or organization.  The community or organization is affected by culture, values, and of course the relationship between individuals.  A given leader seems to function effectively and efficiently in some environments and not in others. An organization reaches out through its Board of Directors to search for the kind of leader that will address its organization’s  challenges in the most effective manner.   The leader’s style, bag of leadership tricks, methods of leadership practices. ability to address problems relative to the organization’s values, and the ability to change the culture to make it more responsive to the needs of the organization will all be needed for ecological change at the system’s level.  The secret to effective leadership at the community level requires skills in relationship building and collaboration through trust.  The above discussion is evidence of the importance of the space and culture factors in ecological leadership.

Time is also important.  What has happened historically in an organization or community provides the foundation for understanding today’s challenges. Solutions to challenges take place today and may already be obsolete if new challenges have happened during the problem-solving or decision-making phase.  Events external to a given organization or community may impact possible methods and techniques that address various challenges.  A challenge in one section of an organization or community can affect other parts of the organization or community.  Einstein argued that the time factor is complex and does not occur in a simple linear approach.  Time needs to be considered in the ecological model that is being presented.  One leader’s approach to time may well differ from another leader’s approach.  Please think of these concepts and follow me as we take a journey(another ecological concept) to explore ecological leadership and its relationship to other theories and models of  leadership.

 

 

 

 


LEADERS’ NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS- GOALS FOR 2015 (POST 73)

January 9, 2015

At the start of a new year, many individuals create a list of resolutions. However, most of these lists get lost or forgotten after a few weeks. Leaders tend to make goals for action on a regular basis and they tend to try to make their goals real and also try to make them happen. Resolutions are in reality goals for action. Here are ten goals leaders to make happen:

  1. Read at least two books a month-one leadership book and one book from another interest area.
  2. Develop a mentoring or coaching relationship with one potential or practicing leader a year.
  3. Have dinner with your family at least five times a week- if possible every night. Do not allow phone interruptions.
  4. Attend at least on leadership course or workshop a year.
  5. Make social justice an integral part of your leadership activities.
  6. Be synergistic. Integrate tools and skill development methodologies from multiple approaches to leadership.
  7. Continue to study culture, value frameworks, and organizational dynamics.
  8. Share leadership with others. Be a team-builder.
  9. Skow passion in all things
  10. Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate.

25 LEADERSHIP TWEETS TO CHRISTMAS (POST 72)

December 15, 2014

Over the last several years, I have tweeted on Twitter and made posts on Facebook about leadership. I thought thati will pick some of these statements as a guide to Christmas 2014.

December 1-Not making a decision is a decision

December 2-Engagement makes leadership work. Not disengagement.

December 3-Our Founding Fathers were leaders. Their modern counterparts have    forgotten how leadership works.

December 4-Leadership is possible on Sunday or any day.

December 5-Leadership can make you healthy.

December 6-Charisma is not an excuse for poor leadership.

December 7-The past is not often an indicator of what will happen in the future.

December 8-It is possible to practice leadership as a retiree.

December 9-Although leadership is local, it is continually impacted by national and international events.

December 10-Many politicians lie to their constituents in order to get elected or reelected.

December 11-Your view of the world will expand if you change your seat from time to time.

December 12-Life is all about the building of relationships.

December 13-Our country is not as well prepared as it should be for disasters of all kinds.

December 14-Leadership is as much about your heart as it is about your mind.

December 15-Leaders should protect our values and not undermine them.

December 16-Everybody seems to have answers but forget what the questions are.

December 17=Civility still exists at the neighborhood level but clearly not at the national level.

December 18-Leadership is not about popularity. It is about trust and respect.

December 19-Leadership is good for the soul.

December 20-Leadership is about action and not about position.

December 21-Leaders create goals for the future but they know today is our reality.

December 22-A new year gives each of us the chance to renew and reflect on our lives.

December 23-Progress is about Yes and not about No.

December 24-To lead or not to lead, that is the question.

December 25-There is no social capital without human capital first.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL

 

 


LEADERSHIP CAN MAKE YOU HEALTHY (POST 71)

November 30, 2014

Have you noticed how successful leaders look? They seem positive at all times. They seem vigorous and energetic. They appear excited with the game. They love innovation and see change as a positive force. They love meeting new people and excel at building relationships. Being a leader is often a healthy endeavor. Research supports this in that the traits of leaders are seen as healthy although leadership is often not mentioned as a healthy outlet for these skills. So let us begin to explore how to make your leadership activities healthy.

First, married people tend to be healthier than single people. Leaders who balance work and family tend to be healthier than leaders who sacrifice solid family relationship for work. Research has shown that people who are good at building relationships that they maintain and develop are healthier than those who do not build relationships. Leaders with solid family networks also tend to eat more healthy foods than leaders who live alone. The nutritarian Joel Fuhrman does argue that we do need to improve our eating habits to make our selves healthier. Second, leaders Know the importance of exercise and tend to follow an exercise regimen. They find that exercise improves mood, makes them more positive, and keeps their physical selves in shape. John Gardner often argued for the importance of reflection as a renewal process. Gardner, Sharma, and other writers also discuss how successful leaders often meditate to reduce stress. Third, leaders are team players and stress collaboration as a positive force for change and a way to make life more meaningful. Collaboration tends to improve the mental health of the participants. Third, leaders are often also believers in social justice and share themselves with those in need. Service to others results in good feelings, positivity, and helping others improve their health and quality of life.

Personal leadership development has the unanticipated consequence of improved health.


ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL( POST 70)

October 26, 2014

If there is one thing that we leaders and we trainers in leadership have learned, it is that there is more than one way to be an effective leader. Context is not a static thing. Change is an ever evolving process. Context is about goals, the past, the present, and the future, cultural models, values, policy, politics, economics demographics, and so on. Leaders operate and practice within this environment. No theory fits all contexts. All theories also have some flaws. Leadership is partly innate, partly learned in schools and workshops, partly experiential, mostly affected by those with whom we interact, and also affected by others outside our immediate context. Organizations and communities change. Thus, leadership style and skill stretching is needed to adapt with these changing times.

Leaders are often influenced b the latest fad in leadership theory and methods. As lifelong learners, leaders need to learn from these new approaches. However, the learning involves integration of the new approaches with the other lessons of our lifetime. For example, adaptive leadership models provide some important insights into being a leader today. Experience based leadership models offer many additional approaches to learning that we need to integrate with adaptive leadership models and other models. Thinking from a systems or complexity approach is different from thinking in a linear way. The different thinking models mean we may also differ in the way we incorporate these new models into our leadership practice.

Flexibility and resilience are important. Leaders need to be open to new tools and perspectives. Personal leadership development is an evolving process. As a leader, we need to grow. No one approach to leadership will work in the long run. Each leader brings different skills to an organization or community. Leader A will do the job one way and Leader B may do it in an entirely different way. The way Leader A did the job in Agency1 is not the way the job needs to be done in Agency 2. One size does not fit all.


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