Tag Archives: leadership journey

Hard work

I know this isn’t a surprise to any of you; it takes work to develop your leadership chops. And in the end, you need to take responsibility for your own development. Given that my profession is leadership development, that is hard to hear but it is reality. As we prepare to take a short break from our blog I want to share a few ideas for you to consider and perhaps use to drive your own leadership development, wherever you are on your leadership journey.

Natasha Bowman recently shared a short article in Forbes titled, Five Ways to Take Charge of Your Professional Development. Each of these give you an opportunity to drive your own development.

  1. Earn a certificate in your field. A few years ago I earned my Certified Professional in Learning and Performance certificate from the Association of Talent Development. Taking responsibility for diving into the 10 areas of expertise in my profession was a powerful development experience. Ask yourself, where do I want to expand and grow?
  2. Enroll in an online course. Technology has made available a wide range of inexpensive and easy-to-access courses on almost any topic. For us in higher education it gives us a chance to better understand our students by becoming one!
  3. Speak at a conference or seminar. Challenge yourself to move from the audience to the front of the room. Nothing helps you learn more than having to teach others about your topic.
  4. Expand your scope. Actively look for and propose to your boss projects, activities and experiences outside your normal responsibilities.
  5. Find a mentor. And meet with them! Reach out and ask someone to formally be your “mentor.” Most people love to help others, even if they are busy. Take responsibility to identify why you want a mentor and to schedule and drive the conversations.

As Bowman states, proactively “invest in yourself.”

Todd Thorsgaard

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Extending your leadership presence on Twitter

By guest blogger Kirsten Jensen

Over the years, I’ve heard lots of reasons why leaders don’t have a professional social media presence. From being unsure about what they would post to simply not having time, there are plenty of reasons why we don’t get started. But, when done with intention, social media can be a powerful tool in service of some of our most important leadership priorities.

The real magic happens when we use social media to connect. In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown writes, “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued.” Stephen M.R. Covey describes a similar energy in The Speed of Trust, comparing relationships to bank accounts where we deposit and withdraw trust. The more abundant the trust in our accounts, the more connected we are, the better we work together and the faster we get things done.  As leaders, so many of our priorities center around building trust. And, while in-person connections will always be our biggest deposits, I believe social media can create small but important moments where our students and staff know they are seen, heard and valued.

So, don’t spend time on social media. Spend time building connections and trust, using social media as a tool. The leadership team at Minnesota State University Moorhead has done an exceptional job of extending their leadership presence on Twitter. Here are four ways you can extend your leadership influence with Twitter, with examples from MSUM.

Why Twitter?

It’s often said that Facebook is for the people you know personally,  LinkedIn is for the people you know professionally and Twitter is for the people you want to know. That is to say, the fact that you don’t have to mutually follow one another and privacy settings are often open, makes Twitter an ideal place to connect with folks who care about similar ideas, organizations or people. Because we aren’t always sure who we want to meet, it can take a little longer to get started on Twitter. But, once you begin to listen for mentions of your organization or your hashtags, you’ll find lots of amazing conversations to join.

Get inspired.

Check out a live feed from MSUM’s social media team, at this Twitter list: https://twitter.com/MSUMoorhead/lists/msum-social-media-team Or, for examples that cross multiple industries, see this Twitter list of people who have been featured as examples in my training: https://twitter.com/NextKirsten/lists/nextinspiration1

I hope this inspires you to overcome the excuses and try your hand at Twitter. Connect with me @NextKirsten – I’d love to get to know you.

 

Kirsten Jensen (@NextKirsten) is a social media coach, trainer and consultant at Next Action Digital.

https://twitter.com/NextKirsten

Happy birthday to us!

HigherEDge has been around for 5 years! We started on November 26, 2012 and since then have generated over 630 posts to support leaders in higher education and beyond.

While a few of you have been with us since the beginning, many people have joined along the way. This month we’ll feature some of our favorite posts from past years that you might have missed.

To start with, here’s one of my early posts. It asks “what would you tell your younger self?”  I said that I would tell my younger self to be consistent with my core values, and at the same time learn to be more comfortable with taking risks. It’s still a work in progress, but I think that I’ve learned over the past five years about ways to give grace to myself and others when things aren’t perfect.

It was a fun exercise to look back through my early posts and reflect on how I’ve changed as a leader. If you’ve kept a leadership journal, take time to look through it. If not, consider starting one. Where do you want to be in five years, and what can you tell yourself now to help get there?

Dee Anne Bonebright

 

You mean I have to talk (and listen) to people!

As a confirmed and proud introvert it is hard for me to reach out and ask for help. Others of you may be confident extroverts and struggle to truly listen to others. Either way, when you transition into a new leadership role it is crucial to take the time to initiate conversations and to spend time listening to what others have to say.

Peter Daly and Michael Watson, authors of The First 90 Days in Government: Critical Success Strategies for New Public Managers at all Levels,   describe five crucial subjects or themes that  new leaders need to understand as they move into a new role or take on a new project. This requires having the following “the five conversations” with your leader or colleagues.

  1. The Situation Conversation – discover how your boss and others perceive the current standing or status of the overall organization and your unit. Your goal is to ensure a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities you face.
  2. The Expectations Conversation – define, clarify, and perhaps, negotiate what success looks like for you in your new job.
  3. The Style Conversation – discuss and determine how the relationship with your new boss and colleagues or stakeholders will work. How do you each prefer to communicate, what boundaries exist, how are decisions made, and how frequent do you need to interact to ensure trust and success.
  4. The Resources Conversation – determine what resources are available, what you believe you need, confirm how resources are allocated and begin negotiating to ensure access to critical resources.
  5. The Personal Development Conversation – mutually identify opportunities and expectations for continual development to ensure success in your current and future roles in the organization.

In reality these will not be distinct one-time conversations but they are a framework to help leaders strategically approach the transition to a new role.

Todd Thorsgaard

The intersection of integrity and pride

by guest blogger Leslie Bleskachek

cslewis700208The author C.S. Lewis is credited as saying “integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” This suggests we have an internal moral compass, a sense of purpose and pride in what we are doing. As educational professionals, we all take pride in what we do, and take pride in doing it well. But it’s important to remember that our pride can also have a dark side.

Pride can go too far. Sometimes, if we want to be in the spotlight, pride can keep us from giving public credit for a teammate’s great work. Or, perhaps we want to hide from scrutiny. As Marvin Williams said “there is no better test of a man’s integrity than his behavior when he is wrong.” Pride can get in the way if we are too proud to admit we’ve made a mistake. We might try and cover it up, or blame others to move the sense of shame from ourselves. Our Leadership Competencies remind us that to be a person of integrity, we must keep in mind where integrity and pride intersect. At our best, our integrity shows when we take pride in good work, are honest and law-abiding, delivering what we promised. But we also have to set aside our pride, admit when we make a mistake, correct it, and learn from it.

Perhaps it’s time to update that old saying, with apologies to C. S. Lewis. After all, integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching. . . and also when everyone is watching.

Leslie Bleskachek

Leslie is the Vice President Academic Affairs at Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical which has campuses in Winona and Red Wing, Minnesota. She is currently participating in the yearlong MnSCU Executive Leader Development Program. During the last seminar leadership integrity was discussed and Leslie asked to share her insights with the readers of Higher EDge.

 

Carbon fiber and integrity

bike crashIntegrity matters, in biking and in leadership!

When carbon fiber bike frames were first introduced there were examples of “massive failures” as the frames shattered at high speed or when under pressure. That led to ugly crashes. The challenge was that the frames looked good from the outside yet they lacked internal structural integrity.

Same with leadership. Successful leaders must possess integrity along with their strong skills, competence and experience. In fact, it is their internal integrity, often hard to see at first, that keeps them successful during times of high demands and stress!

John Sporleder, Founder and President of Sporleder Human Capital, describes integrity as the unseen foundation that effective leadership is built upon. In an article titled “Leadership in the Workplace:The Importance of Integrityhe lists three crucial attributes that leaders with integrity possess:

  1. Stability: the ability to remain steadfast and true to your values despite the turmoil and volatility in the workplace or culture.
  2. Safety: a willingness to trust people and give them the benefit of the doubt when they try their own ideas. An expectation of openness and honesty.
  3. Reference: serving as a role model and example for others. Holding oneself to a standard of integrity for others to follow.

Felt bikeAnd yes, I now have a carbon fiber bike.

Internal integrity is not always flashy but it is powerful!

Todd Thorsgaard

It takes courage!

I had the chance to really get to know myself better this morning in a Privilege Walk activity.

“Take a stepPrivilege walk forward if either of your parents graduated from college”

“Take a step forward if there were more than 50 books in your house when you were growing up”

“Take a step back if either of your parents were laid off or unemployed not by their choice”

“Take a step back if you have been divorced or impacted by divorce”

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System Office Inclusion Council kicked off their Intercultural Passport Program event with a Privilege Walk. Privilege walks are designed to help people recognize and understand how privilege influences who they are. I know for me, and for others based on their comments, many of the questions were about things we “took for granted” or assumed were common for everyone. However, by being open and responding to each question by moving forward or back, I learned a lot about myself! Having the courage to look at where I was in the room and where others were helped open my eyes.

As leaders I want to suggest there is an additional question that needs to be added to a Privilege Walk.

“Take a step forward if you are in a leadership position”

An important part of the leadership competency, “Understand Yourself and Others” is to have the courage to acknowledge that being a leader is a privilege. A leadership role, by itself, influences how you perceive the world and affects how people treat you. It is a part of who you are! It is not good or bad but it is important to recognize.

If you want to learn more about self-awareness and privilege walks you can click here to watch a video. And this link contains the actual questions.

Got privilegeYes, we all have privilege and it takes courage to dig deep in search of self-understanding.

Todd Thorsgaard