5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership

Leadership is clearly more than seniority, a title and power. It’s a multi-faceted topic that leaders themselves are interested in studying, including Teresa Goode, faculty member at Northeastern University College of Professional Studies. Here, she shares tips on how she’s been able to apply a modern model of leadership to real people.

5 Practices of Exemplary LeadershipWhen scanning stories about Angelina Jolie over the last few months, a question occurred to me. How did she transform from a wild young starlet, known for wearing her husband’s blood in a vial around her neck and kissing her brother on the lips, into a world-renowned humanitarian, movie star, mother of six and spokesperson who bravely announced her mastectomy? As I pondered this, I realized that Jolie is actually what I call a “transformational leader” and clearly demonstrates one of the transformational leadership models that I teach here in the Masters of Science in Leadership program at Northeastern University College of Professional Studies. The model is called the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.

While I knew this leadership model, developed by James Kouses and Barry Posner and described in their work The Leadership Challenge, applied to organizational leaders, Jolie helped me understand how it can apply to people in all walks of life.

Let’s explore the five practices as they relate to all kinds of leaders:

Model the Way

Leaders who model the way, exhibit two key behaviors. They “Clarify their Values” and “Set an Example.” Their actions are aligned with their values. When Jolie, one of the sexiest women in the world, announced that she had a double mastectomy and wanted to use her experience as a teachable moment to help other women, it was a powerful example of modeling the way.

Inspire a Shared Vision

Kouzes and Posner identify “Envisioning the Way” and “Enlisting Others” as two ways leaders can inspire a shared vision. Bill and Melinda Gates immediately come to my mind. They’ve established for their foundation a clear vision focusing on five areas: Global Development, Global Health, U.S. programs, Global Policy and Advocacy. They’ve also convinced other wealthy people, such as warren Buffet, to donate part of their fortune to their foundation.

Challenge the Process

How many of you reading this blog have an iPhone, iPad or Apple computer? Or perhaps the devices you use are enabled by the technology Apple developed.  The transformation in technology wouldn’t be available if Steve Jobs had not “Searched for Opportunities” and “Experimented and Taken Risks”—two behaviors of exemplary leaders.

Enable Others to Act

Nelson Mandela, the iconic South African leader, exemplifies this. By “Fostering Collaboration” and “Strengthening Others,” he was able to successfully lead South Africa through the dismantling of apartheid while encouraging racial reconciliation.

Encourage the Heart

Leaders encourage the heart by “Recognizing the Contributions of Others” and by “Celebrating the Use of Values and Victories.” When thinking about his practice, I glanced at the Mighty Mouse trophy I won during one of my favorite jobs. I have long forgotten the accomplishment we celebrated, but I clearly remember the spirit of community and appreciation I felt when I won the award.

How about you? Can you think of a leader, friend, peer or family member who exhibits one or more of the practices of Exemplary Leadership?…

Survey Says: Analog-centric Academics and Popular Perceptions

We do hope you’re sitting down for this one, folks. A recent story in the Higher Education section of The Economist is blowing the lid off a secret that has been kept tight for centuries. Ready? The world of academia does not always enthusiastically rush to embrace change.

Now, listen—if your pulse is still racing, you might not want to read the story itself; we’re happy to provide a summary. The piece is called “Learned Luddites,” with the subhead, “Many professors are hostile to online education.” But before you lunge for the panic button, allow us to provide some context from the story itself.

A recent study of faculty attitudes to technology by the online publication Inside Higher Ed found much skepticism about MOOCs…

Survey Says: Analog-centric Academics and Popular PerceptionsThis will come as little surprise to anyone who’s been following the increasingly wide inroads that MOOCs and online education have been making into traditional curricula—or to anyone who has spent time in higher ed. The San Jose State and UMass Amherst stories in particular will be familiar to regular Aspire readers, as will our perspective on the benefits offered by online higher ed, such as web-based tools for instructors and integrated experiential learning.

In any case, it looks like the title of the Economist story is on the mark—so far. However, let’s pick up that sentence where we left off.

…but also that staff who have actually taught on them are far more positive about their quality.

Seems like the jury is still out. Here’s another excerpt:

Nishikant Sonwalkar, the editor of MOOCs Forum, says professors do not want to teach on courses they did not create. At the same time they are concerned about “academic marginalization.”

The piece goes on to note that UMass President Emeritus Jack Wilson compares online courses to textbooks; after all, most instructors use textbooks, but very few of them write their own. Which is a fair point, but on the other hand, one text does not an entire semester make: Textbooks and other resources are what instructors combine to create their own courses and curricula. (A fairer comparison might be to a recipe; different cooks may use the same tools and ingredients to make the same dish, yet can come up with vastly different results.)

In other news, while the Economist equivocates, a post at the Chronicle of Higher Education on a recent Gallup poll indicates—at first glance, anyway—that opinion isn’t so evenly divided.

In early October, Gallup asked two groups, each composed of more than 1,000 adults, whether they thought “online education is better” in a series of categories. In terms of “providing a wide range of options for curriculum” and “good value for the money,” online education got slightly better scores than traditional classroom-based education.

But online education scored much worse in four areas: delivering “instruction tailored to each individual,” providing “high-quality instruction from well-qualified instructors,” offering “rigorous testing and grading that can be trusted,” and—finally, worst of all—dispensing “a degree that will be viewed positively by employers.”

The story doesn’t stop there; traditional bricks-and-mortar colleges (from, as far as we can tell, the Ivy League to the local community college) also came out looking better than their digital counterparts:

Only a third of the respondents rated online programs as “excellent” or “good,” while 68 percent gave excellent or good ratings to four-year colleges and universities, and 64 percent gave such ratings to community colleges.

All of this would seem daunting to anyone invested in the future of online education, except for one thing—here’s an excerpt from the Gallup survey’s notes on methodology:

Results from the Oct. 3-6, 2013, Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both and cellphone mostly).

It looks pretty exhaustive, but what’s missing? Any indication of the participants’ familiarity with higher …