Cultivating Exemplary Leadership (Part One)

In my talks on leadership I often incorporate quotes as they are a great way to understand and learn from the perspectives of scholars, practitioners, and ordinary people who all have opinions on what it takes to be an effective leader.  For this first blog based on a recent workshop I conducted for the  Connecticut Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, I will dissect a definition of leadership penned by leadership scholar Warren Bennis, and challenge you along the way to think about how Bennis’s definition can be applied as you cultivate your personal exemplary leadership.  For more insights please watch the accompanying short clip.

Bennis says…

Leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential.

Knowing yourself.  This seems like a rather simple concept, and in actuality, it is.  In order to be an effective leader we need to know who we are.  We need to know our strengths, and just as importantly (maybe more), we need to know our weaknesses.  Leadership guru Peter Drucker, in a classic Harvard Business Review article titled Managing Oneself, discusses this concept eloquently.  He points to the many ways that people ‘get things done’, and the many ways that people are held back from doing so.  Leaders need to understand, in my opinion that they can’t do everything on their own, and they need to organize a team that has people to complement their skills and abilities.

Vision.  As Bennis states, we need to have a vision that is well communicated.  Every successful organization has a vision of where it wants to be and has a team of executives who work to communicate that vision to their people.  We need to remember again that leadership is not about position, and it isn’t only the CEO of the company or the captain of the team who leads the group, everyone needs to act as a leader, and as I discussed in a previous post, it is everyone who needs to model ‘leader-like’ behaviors to those around them.  This is why it is so important that the vision of the organization and the vision of those who are formal leaders are communicated to everyone.  Without the vision being communicated effectively it will not be lived by all those who need to model it.

Trust.  Building trust among colleagues.  This is a blog in and of itself (and will be in the future.)  Researchers, scholars, and authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, whose groundbreaking work became The Leadership Challenge, identified trust as one of the keys to positive outcomes for leaders.  Think about the many traits that leaders must exhibit in order to be successful, and then think about what would happen if they exhibited all these great traits and behaviors, but they didn’t have the trust of those around them.  What would happen?  More importantly, what wouldn’t happen?  Well, chances are that you wouldn’t follow for long, right?   In order for a leader to most effectively lead his or her team there needs to be mutual trust between leader and follower.  If you don’t have a relationship built on trust you may follow a leader for a while, but eventually you will stop.  If you have trust the relationship will continue and will be mutually beneficial.

Leadership Potential.  So, how do we, as Warren Bennis says, take effective action to realize our leadership potential.  To me, this is the easy part, sign up for either the Master of Arts in Leadership or Master of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership at Albertus Magnus College.   These are two great ways to take action to realize your leadership potential.  Other ways we can realize our potential are by simply buying a book on leadership or on any topic we are interested in and want to learn about.  We can also sign up for a class or workshop, watch a documentary, serve on a board, help a nonprofit, or do just about anything that we will find fulfilling and help us grow.  In order to realize our potential we must (once again), know our self, and become the best at being our self.  There are many great ways to realize our leadership potential, but I have to admit, my favorite is still signing up for a degree program at Albertus Magnus College.

I hope you enjoyed the short introductory video from my workshop and over the next several months please check back here at the Albertus Magnus Blog for more insights on leadership from me as well as the distinguished faculty, students, and alumni of the Albertus Leadership Programs.  As always, I invite you to please respond to this post with your comments, examples, and insights, and also email me with any questions or insights you have!

Howard C. Fero, Ph.D.
The Leadership Doc
Director, Graduate Leadership Programs
Associate Professor of Business and Leadership
Albertus Magnus College

Howard FeroDr. Howard Fero, is an Associate Professor of Business and Leadership and the Director of Graduate Leadership programs at Albertus Magnus College. When not teaching classes and overseeing the Leadership programs at Albertus Dr. Fero uses his expertise to help individuals and organizations achieve optimal performance and effectiveness as The Leadership Doc. Dr. Fero will be blogging about different leadership topics throughout the year and speaks about these topics in his classes in the Master of Arts in Leadership and Master of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership Programs. He welcomes your comments and looks forward to communicating with you in our exciting new blog.

Dominican Heritage

Founders’ Day 2013

Albertus Magnus College will hold its second annual Founders’ Day to celebrate its heritage on Friday, September 20, 2013.  Founded by the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs (now the Dominican Sisters of Peace), Albertus Magnus College community remembers and celebrates its foundation on September 24, 1925.  The Dominican Sisters of Peace continue to sponsor the College.

To honor our global Dominican heritage, the theme of this year’s Founders’ Day is Dominicans: Think Globally, Act Locally.  Putting us in touch with this global reality will be three presenters who will share with us the blessings and challenges of Dominicans from different parts of the globe.

Our presenters are Sr. Germaine Conroy, O.P. (Peru), Sr. Patricia Idoko, O.P. (Nigeria), and Sr. Judy Morris, O.P. (United States).  In addition, three Albertus Magnus College students will respond to the presenters: Ginette Gonzalez ’14, Kevin Jorgensen ’15 and Dorothea Maher ’16.

Another featured event on Founders’ Day is Candlelight Ceremony for the Class of 2017 and transfer students.  This tradition goes back to the earliest days of the College.  The ceremony consists of the passing of the light of knowledge from the seniors to the newest students.

Founders’ Day will conclude with a presentation of the VERITAS Award, given to an individual or a group who have demonstrated a commitment to the ideals and values of Albertus Magnus College.  This year the College is pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees, during their June meeting, voted unanimously to confer the Albertus Magnus College VERITAS Award on Sr. Germaine Conroy, O.P.

Sr. Germaine is a former Trustee of Albertus Magnus College and was, during the time of her trusteeship, also a member of the Executive Committee and Secretary of the Albertus Magnus College Corporation.

As a member of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Sr. Germaine’s service and ministry has included a long-term commitment to education, most especially during her time in Chimbote, Peru, where for many years, she ministered with other Dominican Sisters of Peace.

A reception in honor of Sr. Germaine will close the Founders’ Day festivities.

Albertus Magnus College is a Catholic, liberal arts college rooted in the Dominican Tradition.  It has an enrollment of nearly 1,700 men and women pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees.  Learn more about Founders’ Day activities, updates and to registration on the Founders’ Day page.

Calling All Volunteers!Albertus Magnus College is excited to announce a new college-wide initiative:  1925 Hours of Service: Building Community through Serving the Community register.  Members of the Albertus family bring alive the four pillars of Dominican life: Community, Service, Spirituality and Study. As we celebrate Founders’ Day 2013, join us in making a difference in the world around us by giving back. Volunteer at your local soup kitchen, elementary school or community garden during the fall semester (August – December) of 2013 and register your hours with us as we strive to donate 1,925 hours in honor of the College’s founding in 1925.Do you already volunteer your time regularly?  Those hours count too!  Wear something Albertus, take and share a photo and register your hours!  For more information or to submit photos contact or use #Albertus1925 on Twitter.

New Haven Community Soup Kitchen

This week we welcome guest blogger David O’Sullivan, Executive Director/Coordinator of Community Soup Kitchen in New Haven. You can reach David directly at

Community Soup Kitchen began operations in 1977. A small group of Yale students and their spouses saw the need in the community and decided to create a place where those who are homeless could get a free meal. For the last thirty-six years, we have been a uniquely, stable resource for the homeless and anyone in need. From almost the very beginning, we have been located in the Parish Hall of Christ Church (an Episcopal church situated right downtown.) From our location, we have gotten the nickname of the “Broadway Soup Kitchen.”

Our operation includes providing lunch four days a week to as many as 300 of New Haven’s most needy citizens. Additionally, we provide food for other local lunch and breakfast programs, such as Saint Luke’s Lunch Program for Women and Children. We also supply many local churches with various essential food assistance including the Saint Martin DePorres Catholic Church, Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, and Saint Paul’s Union A.M.E., altogether providing 68,402 meals in 2012. Based upon our first six months, we project a 17% increase and expect to provide as many as 80,000 meals in 2013.

Along with our feeding programs, CSK hosts several services including nurses from the Hill Health Center (who provide first aid, blood pressure screenings, referral to other medical services, and vaccinations) and blood pressure screenings from “HAPPY” (Hypertension Awareness Prevention Program at Yale). We are a worksite for court ordered community service workers from the New Haven, Milford, Meriden and Derby Superior Courts, for the SAGA (State Administered General Assistance) program, and for the “Chapel Haven” residential program. We work with Liberty Community Services to provide information & referrals as well as a free, on-site HIV test and CARE (Community Alliance for Research and Engagement) to assist in SNAP outreach. Finally, we receive donated books from New Haven Reads (a local literacy organization.)

Along with being part of Cook and Care, Community Soup Kitchen is a member of the Connecticut Food Bank, the Connecticut Anti-Hunger Coalition, End Hunger Connecticut!, the Greater New Haven Emergency Food Council, and an associate member of the Interfaith Cooperative Ministry.

We here at CSK pride ourselves having a long history of providing for the homeless and those in need. Our goal is to go out of business for lack of need; however, until that happens we will continue to feed everyone who comes through our door in a compassionate, dignified, and efficient manner. We serve as a way to both maintain essential services for the thousands below the poverty line here in the city while also effectively reaching out to all those in Greater New Haven area who want to help us alleviate hunger in our community.

Although Community Soup Kitchen has grown from the first few years, we continue to a local effort with volunteers, help, and support coming from the entire greater New Haven area.

David O’Sullivan
Executive Director/Coordinator
Community Soup Kitchen