The Student Leadership Challenge
Terms in this set (18)
Leadership is the art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared aspirations.
When getting extraordinary things done with others, leaders engage in what we call The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership:
Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart.
The Five Practices have passed the test of time, even though the context of leadership has changed dramatically while we have been doing our research.
And yet, while the leadership environment has changed, the content of leadership has not changed much at all. Our research tells us tat the fundamental behaviors, actions, and practices of effective leaders have remained essentially the same and are as relevant today as they were when we first began our study of exemplary leadership.
Model the Way
Titles are granted, but it's your behavior that earns you respect. This sentiment was shared across all the cases we collected. Exemplary leaders know that if they want to gain commitment and achieve the highest standards, they must be models of the behavior they expect of others.
To effectively Model the Way you must first be clear about your own guiding principles. You must clarify values by finding your voice. When you understand who you are and what your values are, then you can give voice to those values. Finding your voice encourages others to do the same, paving the way for understanding. But your values aren't the only values that matter. In every team, organization, and community, there are others who also feel strongly about matters of principle. As a leader, you must also help identify and affirm the shared values of the group. Leaders' actions are far more important than their words when others want to determine how serious leaders really are about what they say. Words and actions must be consistent. Exemplary leaders set the example by aligning actions with shared values. Through their daily actions they demonstrate their deep commitment to their beliefs and to the groups they are part of. One of the best ways to prove that something is important is by doing it yourself and setting an example, by "walking the talk."
Inspire a Shared Vision
People describe their personal-best leadership experiences as times when they imagined an exciting, better future for themselves and others. They had visions and dreams of what could be. They had absolute and total personal belief in those dreams, and they were confident in their abilities to find a way to make extraordinary things happen. Every organization, every social movement, every big event begins with a dream. The dream, or vision, is the force that creates the future.
Leaders envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities. You need to make something happen, to change the way things are, to create something new and exciting. In some ways, this means having a real sense of the past and also a clear vision of what the results should look like before starting any project regardless of size and scope, much as an architect draws a blueprint or an engineer builds a model. But you can't command commitment to a new future, as exciting as it may seem to you' you have to inspire it. You have to enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations. You can do this by talking to others and, even more important, listening to others to understand what motivates them. You enlist others by helping them to understand what motivates them. You enlist others by helping them feel they are part of something that matters, something that will make a difference, and something that you all believe is important to accomplish together. When you express your enthusiasm and excitement for the vision, you ignite a similar passion in others.
Challenge the Process
Challenge is the spark for greatness. Every single personal-best leadership case involved a change from the status quo. Not one person claimed to have achieved a personal best by keeping things the same. The challenge might have been launching an innovative new event, tackling a problem in a different way, rethinking a service their group provides, creating a successful campaign to get students to join an environmental program, starting up a brand-new student group or team, achieving a revolutionary turnaround of a university policy, or getting a new event under way with the intent that it become a new school tradition. It could also be dealing with daily obstacles and challenges, such as finding ways to solve a group conflict or attack a major class project.
Leaders are wiling to step out into the unknown. But leaders aren't the only creators or originators or new ideas, projects, services, or processes. In fact, its more likely that they're not. Innovation comes more from listening than from telling.You must constantly be looking outside of yourself and you r group for more new and innovative ways to do things. You need to search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and by looking outward for innovative ways to improve. Because innovation and change involve experimenting and taking risks, your major contributions as a leader will be to encourage experimentation and idea generation, to recognize and support the best of those ideas, and to be willing to challenge the system.
Mistakes and failures will be inevitable, but proceed anyway. One way of dealing with the potential risks and failures of experimentation is by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience. There's a strong correlation between the actions of leaders and the process of learning: the best leaders are simply the best learners. Leaders are constantly learning from their errors and failures and helping the groups they are part of to do the same. Life is the leader's laboratory, and exemplary leaders use it to conduct as many experiments as possible.
Enable Others to Act
A grand dream doesn't come true through the actions of a single person. It requires solid trust and strong relationships. It requires deep competence and cool confidence. It requires group collaboration and individual accountability. No leader ever got anything extraordinary done by working solo. True leadership is a team effort.
Leaders foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships. They believe in the potential of others and the power of collaboration. They act on those beliefs by bringing people together and trusting that old truth that "together we achieve more." Leaders do what it takes to give people the confidence and competence they need to face the challenges ahead, to support each other and move together toward success. They engage all those who must make the project work -- and in some ways, all who must live with the results. People don't perform at their best nor do they stick around for very long if you make them feel unimportant, weak or alienated. By promoting the development of personal power and ownership, and by giving your power away, you make others stronger an more capable.
When you strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence they are more likely to give it their all and exceed their own expectations. By focusing on serving the needs of others, and not your own expectations. By focusing on serving the needs of others and not your own, you build people's trust in you as a leader. And the more people trust their leaders, and each other, the more they take risks, make changes, and keep organizations, projects, teams, and movements alive. When people are trusted and have more choice in how they do their work, more authority, and more information, they''re much more likely to use their energies to produce extraordinary results. Through that relationship, leaders turn others into leaders themselves.
Encourage the Heart
Achieving great change is a long and bumpy road. People become exhausted, frustrated, disillusioned, and are often tempted to give up or disengage. They may ask themselves, "Is all this work really worth it?" Genuine acts of caring give people the heart to keep going.
Leaders recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence. It can be one to one or with many people. It can come from dramatic gestures or simple actions. It's part of your responsibility as a leader to show appreciation for people's contributions and to create a place where people can celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community. Recognition and celebration aren't necessarily about fun and games, though there is a lot of fun and there are a lot of games when people encourage the hearts of others. Neither are they necessarily about formal awards. Ceremonies designed to create the "official" recognition can be effective, but only if they are perceived as sincere. Encouragement is valuable and important because it connects what people have done with the successes the group has to celebrate. Make sure that people appreciate how their behavior is connected with their values and the values of the group. Celebrations and rituals, when done sincerely and from the heart (as opposed to doing them just because you have to or because they have always been done), give a group a strong sense of identity and team spirit that can carry it through tough times.
Embedded in The Five Practices are behaviors that can serve as the basis for learning to lead.
We call these The Ten Commitments of Exemplary Leadership. They focus on actions you need to apply to yourself and that you need to take with others. These ten commitments serve as the guide for explaining, understanding, appreciating, and learning how leaders get extraordinary things done with others.
Model the Way, commitments
1. Clarify values by finding your voice and affirming shared values.
2. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
Inspire a Shared Vision, commitments
1. Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.
2. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
Challenge the Process, commitments
1. Search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and by looking outward for innovative ways to improve.
2. Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience.
Enable Others to Act, commitments
1. Foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships.
2. Strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence.
Encourage the Heart, commitments
1. Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence
2. Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.
To sum it all up:
what matters as a leader is how you behave.
Model the Way
In the beginning of your leadership journey it's essential that you:
1) find your voice
2) affirm shared values