Midsemester evaluation Question 1

In what ways are the concepts and skills taught so far in the course contributing to your professional effectiveness now and in the future?

Comments

The readings, though they seem pretty common sense, are very inspiring. I like the mixture of optimism and concern within the various readings. It has been great to analyze the bageezus out of leadership scenarios. Again, what seems common sense, isn't always so in the world.

The nonprofit I work for is a great laboratory for observing and testing the leadership skills presented in class. Being as critical of Kotter's presentation of the 8 steps, I find myself looking back to them for guidance as to where the organization might be stuck and what we can look forward to.

In the future, the concepts learned in this class will help me to project a more clear sense of my vision, whether it be for an organizational change, or a new roommate. Again, there is great reference material presented, material that is timeless in a way.

The readings are useful as a guide to refer back to in specific situations. The readings that remind us how important it is to tie personal values and gols to professional values and goals are especially useful.

The concepts and skills taught so far in the course are helping to:
- Challenge my preconceived notions and stereotypes of what makes for good leadership
- Give me greater confidence in my own style of leadership
- Pose new challenges and help me pinpoint areas where I still need work
- Identify potential pitfalls to avoid
- Think of new and creative ways to continue to engage and communicate better with board members and coworkers

Being in the class is making me more aware of and more intentional in my own leadership. It has also delivered the sometimes overwhelming realization of what a big job it is be a good leader, regardless of the size of the group you are "leading."

I would have benefitted from this class nearly eleven years ago when I was first hired as a manager. Although I have implemented many of these key learnings in my own way, the process was often in the wrong order, like creating a sense of urgency after there was already significant anxiety, or I neglected important pieces like publicly recognizing individuals and small wins... usually due to a lack of time. Time is the real challenge.

Coincidentally, I am initiating some restructuring changes in the next month that will require some tough conversations. The changes themselves don't involve job or pay cuts, but I will need to prepare for staff reactions that would be similar to those scenarios.

Some of the critical elements from the readings I will be focusing on include:
- sharing information to creat a big-picture and align values - we not I
- creating a sense of urgency by sharing future implications
- defining clear roles for all
- implementing the message - DWYSYWD
- circling back for feedback
- recognizing small wins... being authentic about it

The skills and concepts I have learned thus far in class have greatly contributed to my professional role in the workplace. Many of the readings and discussions in class have helped me improve my leadership capabilities. Really taking the opportunity to think about how my actions reflect on others, the opportunities I can provide, and how important the team is have been key to my awareness. I really appreciate the guidance and thought-provoking material that we have gone over the past eight weeks. The course has made me realize what an important role an effective leader has and the great importance that the amount of work and awareness that is involved to be an effective leader.

The skills and concepts I have learned thus far in class have greatly contributed to my professional role in the workplace. Many of the readings and discussions in class have helped me improve my leadership capabilities. Really taking the opportunity to think about how my actions reflect on others, the opportunities I can provide, and how important the team is have been key to my awareness. I really appreciate the guidance and thought-provoking material that we have gone over the past eight weeks. The course has made me realize what an important role an effective leader has and the great importance that the amount of work and awareness that is involved to be an effective leader.

I have been trying to consciously think about the qualities of a good leader when I am in leadership situations. I am looking forward to using these skills when I go back to managing the greenhouse in a few months. The practice of a good leader that I think I will most need to keep in mind is "inspiring a shared vision." Our season is short but intense, and I will need to inspire that vision in my employees when it is the middle of July, 90 degrees, and we are all tired, sunburnt and have permanent dirt under our nails. I want my employees to see the importance of their work, and to also see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The concepts and skills we have discussed so far have reinforced something that I already suspected - being a good leader requires a conscious, thoughtful effort and is difficult to master. Many people consider themselves leaders because of their positional power. But to truly lead (instead of “boss”), you must be willing to develop self-awareness, communicate a clear vision of the future, and be willing to take calculated risks, among other things. I have come to realize that some of things come more easily than others for me, and that building strong partnerships with others may be the best way to navigate my own weaknesses.

This course has helped me recognize that I am a leader within my organization, even if I am not currently in a management role. In addition, the readings and discussions have clarified the leadership attributes that are most important to me. My past experiences with a variety of managers and leadership styles have definitely influenced my perception of key attributes for successful leaders—I constantly think about my past as I read the texts for class. Based on my experience and my own values, I have identified what is most important to me in a leader and for me to exemplify as a leader: Credibility.

Kouzes and Posner’s emphasis on credibility helped me reach this understanding: “…more than anything, people want to follow leaders who are credible. Credibility is the foundation of leadership” (37). Now I make an effort every day to focus on maintaining my credibility by DWYSYWD. I believe that I was doing a decent job of DWYSYWD because my peers treated me as a credible worker. Yet, now that my attention has been raised and I am making it my top priority, I believe that my credibility will become strengthened, which will help me to achieve my future goal of a management position and increased leadership responsibilities.

The readings have contributed to my professional career in that they have helped me to think about work situations in different ways. With each reading when I get to class I feel the other students help me to look at it from another perspective, or to challenge my thoughts on what I have read. I feel this helps in the workplace, because not only do I take the lessons from the readings to work, but I also feel I try more to understand the other perspectives of the people at my work. I think the readings will apply more, once I start a more professional career, and have more ability to contribute to the broader goal of the organization. Right now I feel I do not have as much of an opportunity to apply them, especially with regards to the readings about managing other individuals, or for making decisions.

The readings have been very valuable to me. I especially like the text -- The Leadership Challenge (Kouzes & Posner). It makes an interesting reading and the guidelines that it presents are quite easy to follow. The rest of the readings are thought-provoking and they actually challenge one to assess or reassess their leadership capabilities and adjust accordingly.

I also liked the movie-- Whale Rider very much. It opened up my eyes to look at leadership differently. I had always thought that leadership always come from or expected from adults. But Pai's thirst for leadership, and eventually her delivery of leadership when the opportunities presented themselves has left a lasting impression on me. It has also enhanced my skills to improve on my leadership style.

The blog system is also an excellent tool that has positively improved my learning capabilities in this course. It is a perfect way to get feedback and reactions from fellow class-mates on reading assignments and other pertinent information about this class. I really think that this a is very creative method of learning.

Well, the leadership role I play in the classroom is a little different compared to being in a business setting. Even though I am not making business decisions, I still lead the class. I lay out expectations that my students expect from me and I lay out expectations that I expect from my students. I treat the students with respect and they all understand their performance evaluations. It is clearly stated in the syllabus or in business terms, the employee manual.

Kouzes and Posner's book is a great book as well as the assigned readings. They all contain useful information to use in whatever leadership setting we find ourselves in.

To answer this question I take "your professional effectiveness" to mean everything--personal, family, and academic research. I find our earlier course concepts to be the most valuable. Consider this quote from Crobsy and Bryson: "actors jointly exercising their capabilities related to a problem in order to further their separate and joint aims" (p. 18).

This is an effectiveness to which I aspire. It certainly is easier-said-than-done, but I am more in-tune now than before this course. Especially in my work as a social-activist, I am learning I need to give more than I think I can give for progress with people on the other end to the spectrum. Thank you!

For me the effect on my professional practice is that I am viewing current practices through the new lens of the course materials and learning to determine how and what best practices can help me to improve. Most often for me this exercise of self assessment against new knowledge then implementation of key best practices has been very useful to me over the long term.

I have held different positions over the course of my career – some considered leadership positions and some not. But what we all know and what is reinforced in this class is that leadership has many characteristics and dimensions; people can lead from wherever they are. Even in following there is leadership. What has been significant for me is the immediate application of the concepts. Specifically around finding vision and passion - and igniting it in others. "When the leadership in everyone is liberated extraordinary things happen" (Kouses & Posner p. xii). This is my passion and I am fortunate enough to currently be in a position to do this work.

Finding time to explore new ideas and incorporate new learning into an organization takes very disciplined intention. According to the Leadership Challenge, "when you keep the doors to the outside world open, ideas and information can flow freely into the organization" (Kouses & Posner p. 180). The leaders I am currently connected to do this well. I have started to become more intentional by subscribing to relevant journals and seeking new learning opportunities that are outside the box – you never know where the next great innovation will come from.

I think that this course is coming at just the right time of my professional and personal life. I am in a state of professional flux, leaving a conventional practice life for a new and challenging aspect of my career life. The readings and blog discussion have compelled a renewed introspection and fostered a renewed passion for my personal and professional goals. Core beliefs about what effective leadership is have been reinforced and expanded.

This class has brought my attention to people that are in leadership roles where I work. I often find myself critiquing what my bosses are doing or think about how they could do their job better. For example I think that my boss gives criticism in a very condesending way, and I've noticed people react very poorly to this. So I think how I would approach it differently so that people wouldnt get super defensive. Another thing Ive thought of is that my boss should give us more little rewards for reaching goals and encourage us more. Its stuff like that that I am starting to notice and its really interesting to come into work looking at things with a new perspective.

The readings and classroom activities have helped me to examine why I sometimes resist change. It has helped force me out of the status quo I had created in certain areas of my professional life. I have always taken leadership seriously, as a way of life. That attitude has been reinforced by this class but it has also been developed in some ways. As everything changes in the world so must our leadership styles. There is no one style that is perfect for every situation and an effective leader understands this. Effective leaders are able to quickly adapt their style to the task and people at hand understanding each situation has unique circumstances.

The concepts and readings for this class have really awakened me to the many forms of leadership I experience in my day to day life, whether it is how my boss is leading (both positively and negatively), how I handle leadership roles I am in, or how random people/events I encounter deal with leadership. I think the readings have a lot of great information that can be used now and also in the future as a reference. I have definitely become more aware of leadership in my day to day life.

The concepts and readings for this class have really awakened me to the many forms of leadership I experience in my day to day life, whether it is how my boss is leading (both positively and negatively), how I handle leadership roles I am in, or how random people/events I encounter deal with leadership. I think the readings have a lot of great information that can be used now and also in the future as a reference. I have definitely become more aware of leadership in my day to day life.

I, like others, have never taken a class that participates in weekly blogs and I like it! For one, blogging forces me to read the assignments until I truly understand the readings. I appreciate reading the interpretations from my classmates in the blogs.

I do enjoy the student presentations. But, I wish they were a bit more dynamic and a little less rushed.

The class exercises (small groups) are less effective as a learning tool for me personally.

I would like to emphasize (like others have) how thankful I am that we are able to spend time working on our action research project at the end of class!

Keep up the great work everyone! Stay warm!

The concepts introduced in class come at a time where I am just beginning my professional life. The course has helped me to realize that I have a lot to learn and a long way to come before truly developing myself as a leader, and further, helping others become good leaders as well.

One specific way that the course has helped me is through suggestions for managing technology in groups. I've been having trouble delegating and staying in touch with committee members in SAAC, but now I know that some face to face contact (regularly) will really help to foster accountability and group trust.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs