Happy Autumn and happy reading as you crack the digital cover of the 2017 special issue of the Journal of Leadership Education (JOLE) entitled, Leadership Education Amid Conflicting Ideologies – Turning BIG!,(Bad?) Ideas into Creative and Innovative Solutions.
The global citizens of 2017 are “living in contested spaces and precarious places [and] there is growing frustration with the status quo” (Noble, 2015, p. 43) and, indeed, the clashing ideologies and problems of the twenty first century demand unprecedented levels of creativity and innovation to solve given the complexities of contemporary societies. Ergo, innovation, “the capacity to generate ideas…that are novel and useful” (Chan, Fu, Schumm, Cagan, Wood, Kotovsky, 2011, p. 1) is the basis for this special issue.
McNutt (2015) reminds us that “Unlike the past 35 years, we know that from now till 2050 and beyond, the world will become far more globalized facing challenging issues such as population growth and ageing; the expansion of urban centers; global warming and climate change; the depletion of natural and other resources, including potential food shortages; rapid technological advances; changing economic dominance; and far more interdependence among nations than currently exists. Therefore, it is incumbent upon leaders today to take charge and be proactive to ensure that the leaders of tomorrow are equipped with the resources, skills, and tools needed to adapt to these ever evolving challenges” (p. 39).
Equipping the leaders of tomorrow is what we, as leadership educators, do. And while we do it well, we must never lose sight of the fact that our field is multifaceted and organic. The fluctuation and changing tide is why journals such as this are so important. They provide us with new and exciting content and the inspiration we need to carry on when we struggle. This special issue is organized into two sections: Section One – Learner and Educator Engagement and Section Two – Organizational Engagement, Strategies, and Innovations.
Section One – Learner and Educator Engagement
Section One opens with Andenoro, Sowcik, and Baiser discussing a five-year study that explores the impact of an interdisciplinary course on the development of global capacities, complex adaptive leadership, socially responsible agency, and systems thinking. In this course, divergent learning methods were used to challenge students to serve as stewards of their own knowledge and facilitators of their own learning. This is followed by Burbaugh and Kaufman who have determined that, 1) networking is an antecedent to social capital, 2) skill building and personal growth approaches to leadership development are significant predictors of networking ability, and 3) networking ability is a significant predictor of social capital.
The third article in the Section One (Stover & Seemiller) highlights the findings of a quantitative research study that used the ASSIST Inventory to measure approaches to learning (surface, deep, or strategic) for undergraduate students enrolled in an Organizational Leadership program. While the students demonstrated a preference for deeper approaches to learning, many are still using surface approaches. Strategies to address this conundrum are also provided. Friedel, Cletzer, Bush, and Barber then jump in to share information about an emerging perspective, Eco-leadership, that suggests that leadership is a collective process involving both the leaders and followers in terms of co-creating leadership. A riveting discussion ensues about youth and their attitudes and beliefs surrounding systemic and hierarchical thinking with respect to problem-solving styles.
In the fifth article in Section One, Goryunova and Jenkins walk us through “upping the game” of global leadership education by increasing learning engagement and knowledge retention through the utilization of innovative digital technology. And finally, the sixth and final article in Section One written by Guramatunhu Cooper and Lyons emphasizes the value of the life experiences of leadership educators and how their personal narratives can be leveraged to provide impactful experiences in leadership courses.
Section Two – Organizational Engagement, Strategies, and Innovations
Nelson and Squires launch section two by acknowledging the increasingly complex problems that organizations face and the need to examine the problems through multiple perspectives to find the best solutions. They proffer that adaptive leadership with its focus on collaborative problem-solving is particularly useful, especially when addressing the needs of multiple stakeholders within organizations. Rosch, Spencer, and Hoag then propose a comprehensive model for mapping the shape and optimizing the effectiveness of leadership education in campus-wide settings. The four-level model is highlighted by the inclusion of a philosophy statement, a set of competencies, and a plan for assessment and evaluation.
Herndon and McCline tackle leadership as a way of being and moving forward in the news industry which is in a state of “chaotic transition.” Capitalizing on Hesselbein’s (2010) work that centers on leadership as a matter of how to be (not how to do) and that of Joseph (2012), the authors illustrate how leadership as a way of being can serve as a teaching model in newsrooms that require new thought processes in terms of their organizational structure to accommodate the needs of a new generation of information consumers.
Watkins, Earnhardt, Pittenger, Roberts, Rietsema, and Cosman-Ross follow with a deep dive into the nature of complex systems that include technological advances and globalization in addition to network and social complexities. They share a model for leadership education designed to develop leaders who understand the nature of complex systems yet reliably use their ethical value systems, emotional intelligence, and resiliency to adapt to emergent situations.
Finally, in the capstone article in this special issue, Sowcik, Andenoro, and Council address one of the “Biggest (Baddest) and Best Ideas Ever” -- using the power of humility to mitigate the disconnect between the constructs of creativity and effective leadership. Their article encourages the community of leadership educators to look inward and carefully examine the environments we create to develop leaders.
It is my contention that as the social landscapes around the world shift during the turbulence of the twenty-first century, it is imperative that we remain diligent in the protection of our common humanity. Certainly, arrogance has been tolerated in some leaders; Steve Jobs of Apple and iPhone fame and fortune, for example, is perhaps the best example of arrogance in leadership being tolerated (Eragula, 2015). But, “Given its potential importance…humility may offer a new lens through which to view and understand the leadership process” (Morris, Brotherdidge, & Urbanski, 2005, p. 1325). Humility, after all, serves several functions: 1) it may influence leaders to behave in manner that is primarily other-enhancing, rather than self-enhancing and, 2) the possession of humility shields people from needing to receive public adulation and, in fact, may actually cause people to shun that attention (Morris, Brotherdidge, & Urbanski, 2005). Humility not only creates spaces for other to contribute, it also creates spaces for learning (Prime & Salib, 2014).
In the end, Johansson (2004) contends that we can learn from one another by effectively breaking down barriers and through what may very well be discomforting ideas, begin looking at the world through different prisms. It is imperative that leadership educators work collaboratively and imaginatively to strategize and foster new ideas to support creative and innovative solutions to myriad problems.
My hope is that through reading and reflection we can begin challenging some of our previously held assumptions and purposefully, carefully, and very intentionally expand our personal and professional horizons. So much so that we will begin weaving a new tapestry of understanding that honors individual values and convictions while at the same time, embracing the much needed flexibility that allows for kindness, respect, compassion, empathy, civil discourse, and positivity in our day-to-day interactions. Yes, we can most certainly learn from one another and advance our profession as we do “leadership” and engage in “leadership education” as we help the leaders of tomorrow step up to meet the challenges that lie ahead.
In closing, I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to those who worked with me and supported me as I endeavored to produce the 2017 JOLE Special Issue: Dr. Jackie Bruce (JOLE Editor); the Editorial Advisory Board (EAB), Drs. Adrian Popa, Kathy Hollywood, Carly Speranza, Dave Rosch, and Marilyn Bugenhagen; and, last but not least, the JOLE copy and publishing team, Sara Brierton, Angela Bush, and Daniel Collins.
Donnette Noble, Ph.D. – Guest Editor, 2017 JOLE Special Issue
Associate Professor – Organizational Leadership
Heller College of Business – Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL
Immediate Past President – Association of Leadership Educators
Chan, J., Fu, K., Schunn, C., Cagan, J., Wood, K., Kotovsky, K. (2011). On the benefits and pitfalls of analogies for innovative design: Ideation performance based on analogical distance, commonness, and modality. Journal of Mechanical Design. DOI: 10.1115/1.4004396
Eragula, R. (2015). Humility in leadership. Advances in Economics and Business Management, Vol. 2 (8): pp. 786-789.
Hesselbein, F. (2010). An audio recording as interviewed by Debbie Kennedy, August 10.
Johansson, F. (2004). The Medici effect: Breakthrough insights at the intersection of ideas, concepts, and cultures. Harvard Business Publishing: Brighton, MA.
Joseph, J. (2012). Leadership as a way of being. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
McNutt, M. (2015). Section II: Future leadership drivers, issues, and context. In Sowcik, M., Andenoro, A., McNutt, M., & Murphy, S. (Eds). Leadership 2050: Critical Challenges, Key Contexts, and Emerging Trends (p. 39). Emerald Publishers: Bingley, UK.
Morris, J.A., Brotheridge, C.M., & Urbanski, J.C. (2005). Bringing humility to leadership: Antecedents and consequences of leader humility. Human Relations, Vol. 58 (10): PP 1323-1350.
Complex and adaptive challenges threaten human well-being and sustainability. However, our leadership graduates often lack the capacity and or commitment to address these challenges in a meaningful way. This paper details a five-year study exploring the impact of an interdisciplinary undergraduate course on the development of global capacities, complex Adaptive Leadership, Socially Responsible Agency, and systems thinking. The course instructors used innovative and intentionally divergent learning methods to challenge students to serve as stewards of their own knowledge and facilitators of their own learning through the confrontation of authentic and complex challenges. The researchers note transferable qualitative findings that demonstrate the profound impact of the noted leadership learning experience on the development of Socially Responsible Agency, along with Adaptive Leadership capacity and systems thinking.
Organizations are faced with solving increasingly complex problems. Addressing these issues requires effective leadership that can facilitate a collaborative problem solving approach where multiple perspectives are leveraged. In this conceptual paper, we critique the effectiveness of earlier leadership models in tackling complex organizational issues. We then examine one promising model, adaptive leadership, in detail and propose that this model provides a leadership approach for addressing current organizational realities. The model, proposed and developed over the last two decades, fundamentally supports the assumption of leadership by multiple stakeholders, with the formulation of the leadership dependent on the emergent problem. Adaptive leadership, with its focus on collaborative problem-solving utilizing multiple perspectives, is especially applicable to large organizations faced with solving complex problems involving many stakeholders.
Participants in leadership development programs take part in multiple developmental experiences that can influence the composition of their social network and enhance social capital. However, further investment in such practices may be limited because little is known about the relationship between leadership development approaches, networking ability, and social capital. This study explores how common developmental approaches may contribute to social capital, taking into consideration the role networking ability plays in this relationship. This descriptive, correlational study included a sample of graduates (N= 231) from 15 statewide agricultural-based leadership development programs. Our findings reveal that: 1) Networking is an antecedent to social capital, 2) skill building and personal growth approaches to leadership development are significant predictors of networking ability, and 3) networking ability is a significant predictor of social capital.
Within this application brief, we propose a comprehensive model for mapping the shape and optimizing the effectiveness of leadership education in campus-wide university settings. The four-level model is highlighted by inclusion of a philosophy statement detailing the values and purpose of leadership education on campus, a set of skills and competencies that serve as learning goals, a map of formal educational and informal practice opportunities for leadership development, and a plan for assessment and evaluation of effectiveness in both formative and summative contexts. We provide the example of leadership education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to illustrate how the model might look on one campus.
The world is a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment (Carvan, 2015) that calls for leaders who can effectively navigate the complexity of leadership today. Students of leadership studies must not only learn leadership information content, but also be able to effectively implement the content and process, requiring deep approaches to their learning (Petrie, 2014). This quantitative research study used the ASSIST Inventory to measure approaches to learning (surface, deep, or strategic) for students enrolled in an Organizational Leadership undergraduate program. Students showed a preference for deeper approaches, though, many continue to use surface approaches, which may lead to shallow understandings and the inability to put content into practice. Specific strategies are provided for instructors to help students move toward deeper approaches.
Hesselbein developed the concept: “leadership is a matter of how to be and not how to do.” Joseph later provided instructional content based on the concept and helped operationalize it for consumption by practicing leaders. This paper leverages their work in illustrating how leadership-as-a-way-of-being (LWB) can be a teaching model for emerging millennial leaders in a dynamic news media undergoing a chaotic transition. It provides a way to rethink newsroom organizational structures that no longer accommodate the needs of this generation. We focus on the “being” element of leadership as it speaks directly to a new introspective view of leadership that values transparency and is necessary for innovation over mere efficiency.
Our understanding of leadership has undergone a significant shift in the early part of the 21st century. An emerging perspective, dubbed Eco-Leadership, suggests leadership is a collective process involving both leaders and followers co-creating leadership. Because our beliefs and attitudes toward leadership affect how we lead, it becomes crucial to better understand the views youth have towards leadership, as they develop into our future leaders, to improve curricula and instruction. In this study, no relationship was found between youth attitudes and beliefs towards systemic and hierarchical thinking with respect to their preferred problem-solving style. These findings indicate youth may adaptively or innovatively associate leadership equally through systemic and hierarchical thinking. Further, neither being more adaptive nor more innovative implies one to be better at leading.
Technological advances, globalization, network complexity, and social complexity complicate almost every aspect of our organizations and environments. Leadership educators are challenged with developing leaders who can sense environmental cues, adapt to rapidly changing contexts, and thrive in uncertainty while adhering to their values systems. In a complex leadership context, inadequate leader responses can result in devastating organizational impacts akin to the butterfly effect from chaos theory. This paper advances a simple model for leadership education based on a program we designed to develop leaders who understand the nature of complex systems, reliably use their ethical value systems, are emotionally intelligent and resilient, and can adapt to emergent situations.
While scholars recognize that digital technology is a major tool employed by contemporary learners to access knowledge, its full capacity is yet to be utilized. This paper investigates opportunities to increase individual learning engagement and knowledge retention in higher education and corporate environments through integrating educational content with innovative digital technology. Currently, within commonly adopted e-learning platforms, the most utilized online content delivery and student progress assessment tools in leadership education appear to be discussion-based instruction, along with written assignments, and research projects (Jenkins, 2016). To inform leadership educators’ choice in innovative tools for increased effectiveness of instruction, this paper shares an experience of delivering integrated global leadership education pedagogical content (i.e., cross-cultural competency instruction for graduate management class at a U.S.-based public university) within a gamified real-time multiuser learning platform—MyAltis—and discusses implications for leadership education.
Now and into the foreseeable future, both effective leadership and creativity are going to be important when addressing complex problems. The connection between effective leadership and creativity will be critical as leaders look to turn big ideas into innovative solutions. However, it seems that there is often a disconnect between the two constructs of creativity and effective leadership. The article draws upon scholarly research within the field to address this gap and better understand the power of humility to mitigate this disconnect. The goal of this article is to encourage the field of Leadership Education to look inward into how we as a community are creating an environment where creative leaders can be developed.
Leadership Studies education is a highly personal endeavor shaped by the personal experiences and philosophies of leadership educators. However, when course design collaboration opportunities are presented, teaching approaches and curriculum prioritization may be at odds because of distinct personal narratives. This article frames disagreement over course design as an unexpected yet useful tool for facilitating individual and collective examination of leadership educators’ narratives and how they inform teaching and curriculum priorities. Drawing from standpoint theory and positionality, this work emphasizes that questions about how and what to teach in a leadership course are influenced by life experiences of leadership educators.
© 2015 Association of Leadership Educators