Virtual Roundtable Notes (March 11, 2016)
Distributed Leadership: Leading From Where You Are
Erik Palmore and Christine Rener
- Anyone, in any position, at some point is acting as a leader
- Individuals work in a network
- Professional development for leadership in higher education needs to both make the case for leadership and provide tools for action
Readings highlight the tension between formal trappings of leadership (e.g., budgeting) and creating opportunities for leadership (from Kezar reading). We need both to work in a collective leadership model.
Tools for Leadership Development
Rener: great success with mid-career faculty and faculty learning communities. Getting faculty to take more formal role in leadership. Conversations framed around not just the “why” of being a leader, but also providing tools (e.g., how organizations/units work to see larger picture)
Multi-frame leadership helps make change possible: use the frames tools as well as the StrengthsFinder inventory.
Discussion: Reflection questions presented prior to the session
What challenges and opportunities create the need for leadership of you in your roles? Of faculty that you may be developing?
Challenge: reducing ambiguity
We live in complex systems. Our roles are often that of a filter or to make meaning out of ambiguity.
Challenge: Dealing with priorities. Lot of competing priorities from upper administration, faculty, and what we want to do. How to balance those, set an agenda, and respect needs of all three different groups
- Shared/distributed leadership - use advisory board to help set that agenda.
- Others talked about coordinating across units and “tread carefully” so we’re seen as a resource, not an intrusion. Fine line to assert vision/mission, but also engage others in the process
In the context of your goals, what does it mean to “use your network?” What forces impact the size, quality, and efficacy of your network?
- Creating opportunities for people to socialize around issues of the institution and engage with them (e.g., food, travel)
- Make time to walk and interact with people
- One strategy we are using is creating more programming with less structure and more opportunity for social networking
What strategies work for shaping others’ sense of being a leader? What tools are most useful to their learning or enacting their learning?
- Engaging with HR to prepare some kind of program. Faculty often don’t see themselves as leaders or even like leaders, sometimes. Faculty vs. leader mentality can slow down this process and make it difficult to move forward.
- Leadership Academy planning team: work with HR to create a faculty/staff group. Using the book, Multipliers. Chose people thought to be good leaders who we want to multiply. Project-based approach. Meet every other week for about 4 hours. Bringing in outside speaker and other content, but everyone proposes a project that they will lead.
- Opportunities to invite faculty into leadership positions? Examples: faculty learning communities or mentoring programs? Empower faculty to step into those roles as leaders.
- Talk about leadership earlier in career for faculty; break stereotypes of leadership and taking on additional responsibilities
- Making connection between teaching and leadership (teaching as a type of leadership)
- Hesitation to take on leadership roles in the institution but not in the discipline (e.g., editorship, serving on professional committees, etc.)? Faculty more likely to see those external leadership roles as more valuable to them and their peers. Question: how do you raise the visibility and value of what they’re doing on their own campuses in a way that their disciplines see that as a good thing?
- Raise the issue of the gendered nature of service work on campus. What kind of rewards can you build in also to emphasize the value of service to campus as much as service to your field.
- Faculty don’t necessarily want to move up into leadership positions. Need to help them better understand the various roles on campus and how it all works.
- Maybe we could produce materials to help people have an understanding of how organizations in higher ed work.
- Learning how to lead effectively makes us more efficient in our own work (e.g., how to lead committee meetings, time management)
- Acknowledge and engaging in the complexity of leadership as a way of fleshing out real challenges. Erik recommends Nobody in Charge: Essays on the Future of Leadership. Makes case for needing different approaches to deal with complexity.
Extra resources provided in the pre-webinar materials
Read and Review
- What challenges and opportunities create the need for leadership of you in your roles? Of faculty that you may be developing?
- In the context of your goals, what does it mean to “use your network?” What forces impact the size, quality, and efficacy of your network?
- What strategies work for shaping others’ sense of being a leader? What tools are most useful to their learning or enacting their learning?