Summer 2011

Who am I? What kind of leader am I? These were theme questions for our first term in the doctoral program. I think a great example to help answer these is encapsulated in this blog post from September, 2010. It’s a jumping-in point to show others what I do professionally, and it hopefully will inspire you to ask some questions. Another is this earlier post from June, ’10, on a whitepaper I wrote with the help of a number of VSTE members on the role innovation plays in education.

For the summer term of 2011, we wrote one paper, based on a case study. Our analysis had to suggest a solution to the problem presented in the study, utilizing what we learned about the Chinese Five Element Theory.

  1. Read Leadership from Metal to Water.
  2. Personal Inventory Analysis: this paper which bridged our summer-to-fall semester is personal in nature. We were to really synthesize all we had learned about ourselves and the implications for our leadership style, including LCI, MBTI, and an eastern theory on five elements. An excerpt is included, below.

What have I learned about myself that helps me be an effective leader?
One lesson I have learned is to not let issues that offend me to go unchallenged. I can think of multiple examples, but one scenario is often similar to the others. Instead of letting something go, if it affects me in a negative way, it’s best to address it before it becomes a nagging problem. I think leaders need to be aware that offensive things can take place that challenge anyone in a group. We need to foster an environment of openness and trust so that team members do not harbor ill feelings towards other colleagues, toward initiatives, or toward the mechanisms of our operation. My “metal” element from the Chinese Five Element theory tells us it’s essential that I “let go” and “cut losses.” Instead of letting something fester, I need to work on resolving offensive situations and on exercising an outward-enough effort in making resolution when possible.

Perhaps I am a leader because there is no other role to take-on when you sit down to imagine your own world when writing a story by yourself; or when writing your own game on a computer. You have to have the vision for a grand plan when writing a string quartet. And despite an introverted personality, you have to have comfort on stage as a musician. My past does elucidate who I am today, including my traits as a leader. Helping identify these traits using common language with my colleagues in learning will facilitate us moving beyond our individual strengths and working effectively as a team.