Cultivating Exemplary Leadership: Part 6

Modeling the Way

What does it take to be a leader? Well, the first step is acknowledging that to someone, at sometime, you are a leader! We all need to realize that others may at one point or another look to us for guidance, advice or support. Once we recognize this simple, yet important, point, we understand that we need to always present ourselves in a way that represents ourselves and our intentions in the best light. This month’s blog is about the importance of modeling the way so that others who see us will be proud of our actions and be desirous of behaving in the same way that we do.

Kouzes and Posner in their seminal work, “The Leadership Challenge,” point to the importance of a leader’s behavior reflecting their intentions and also reflecting the behaviors that they want their people to emulate. This tenet of leadership can be understood along the lines of, “would you want your mother to see you doing that?”, or, “can you look in the mirror and be happy with who you are,” etc. The point being that if we are happy and proud of our actions then we should continue them; if we aren’t then perhaps we should stop.

OrangLeaderOnPodiumSMLeaders in all walks of life need to be aware of the ways that they present themselves and the ways they represent their values and the values of their organization to their team as well as to the public in general. As discussed in the clip above, some organizations such as Southwest Airlines are known for their employee centric workplace. They have a focus on employee satisfaction, and one of the ways they model this is by having their employees at all levels work in different positions, no matter what their pay grade.

Modeling the way can be as simple as a manager taking time out of his or her day to stop and talk with employees, getting to know a bit about them and what they enjoy and don’t enjoy about their job. I had a student some years ago who worked in a large insurance company. One day, she told me, she was sitting by herself in the cafeteria having lunch when someone who she recognized as a senior vice president came to her table and asked if he could join her. He spent about a half hour eating and talking with her about the organization, his job, her job, and what he hopes his employees feel each day at work. The impact of this 30 minutes of the vice president’s time was huge for my student, she was made to feel valuable to the organization and she felt that her insights and observations were valued; she herself felt empowered after the interaction as she was a part of an organization where executives wanted to get to know their employees and spend time with them.

lunch-at-office-579x333We model the way for our people so that the dedication, excitement and passion that we have for our organization becomes contagious. In an interview I conducted with Bob Melvin, manager of the Oakland A’s, he said that “when you have pride in leadership and you believe in your leader, you come to work with a smile on your face, and pride in playing for the organization.” By coming to work with a smile we are modeling the way and encouraging those around us to do the same.

Your homework for this month, pay attention to your actions, attitude and demeanor at work. No matter what your position, is the way you behave each day the way you think everyone should behave? Remember, a bad apple does spoil the bunch…be a good apple and model positive behaviors.

untitled2Howard C. Fero, Ph.D.
The Leadership Doc
Director, Graduate Leadership Programs
Associate Professor of Business and Leadership
Albertus Magnus College

Dr. Howard Fero, is an Associate Professor of Business andLeadership 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 and Arts in Leadership 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.

Crisis in Ukraine

Many Albertus Magnus students may be wondering what is happening in Ukraine that Russian military forces were ordered to invade the country. The answer is not too complicated, but for many Americans under the age of fifty, the answer may be elusive. I’ll try to give you a succinct answer to what is happening in Ukraine.

In 1917, when Czar Nicholas, the leader of Russia, was deposed and assassinated by Russian communists, the Ukraine sent soldiers to fight on the side of imperialist forces (looking to restore the monarchy) against the communist forces. The communists were then trying to consolidate power across the whole of Russia. After the communist victory in the Russian civil war, the communists took over the Ukraine, absorbing the area into a greater union of soviet-style socialist republics (popularly known for many years as the USSR).

The Ukrainians hated the communists and actually supported the German Army as it invaded communist Russia in 1941, hailing the Germans as liberators from the communists. Soon, however, the Nazi SS began killing Ukrainians just as they had done to other people, turning the Ukrainians against them. The Ukrainians then fought alongside the communists to destroy the German Army. In 1945 the communists pushed German forces out of greater Russia and back into Germany, ending World War II. From that point until the early 1990s, the Russian communists controlled the Ukraine.

When the communist party fell out of power in the early 1990s a number of former communist-ruled areas – among them Georgia, Estonia, Belarus, and Ukraine – became independent countries. Since then, many have struggled to forge parliamentary democracies along the lines of modern Western European countries. It has been a very difficult process, as no in those countries ever experienced democracy before. I therefore believe that what has happened in Ukraine over the past six months is growing pains and blood being spilled as that nation’s citizenry and political leadership comes to terms with what is expected under democratic rule.

Unfortunately, given the unrest in Ukraine, Russian President Vladmir Putin has made the situation much worse by ordering Russian military forces to invade Ukraine.

Ukraine has been called the “breadbasket” of Russia. The land is very fertile and Ukrainian farms have long provided Russia with the bread to feed the citizenry across the nation. In addition, as the country faces the Black Sea (which does not freeze over in winter) it is astrategically vital area for the Russians who desire to keep a naval presence there. The Black Sea, which connects to the Mediterranean, is the gateway to the rest of the world’s oceans for the Russians.

Since the breakup of the former USSR in 1999, most all Ukrainians have wanted to forge closer alliances with Western European democracies rather than remain economically tied to Russia. However, the two nations have gas and oil treaties that make them co-dependent. Recently, Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, rejected offers from Western democracies to join the European Union which would help their economy. This ignited the waves of protests seen for weeks and weeks now. Many Ukrainians are suspicious that Russian President Vladmir Putin put pressure on the Ukrainian president to reject Western economic agreements. They very much want to “westernize” their nation and see closer western ties as a means to improve their economy.

Another issue for Ukraine is that although Ukraine is an independent nation, inside of it is a large area called the Crimea, where many Russians live. They desire some sort of reunification with Russia.

Final Thoughts
Given that Russia 1) invaded Georgia a few years ago, 2) presently has army and naval forces in Ukraine, 3) wants to keep Ukraine in its sphere of influence, and 4) has rejected calls from political leaders that it withdraw its forces from Ukraine, it is likely that a war will occur.

Interested in learning more about Criminal Justice? Click here to find out what Criminal Justice Programs we offer here at Albertus Magnus College.

michael-gearyMichael Geary
Sociology Department
Associate Professor, Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Program
B.S., Mercy College
M.S., Long Island University
J.D., Pace University

Read more from Michael Geary:

National Security and Civil Liberty: A Chronological Perspective. M. Geary (2014) Carolina Academic Press.

Terrorism Investigations and the Public Safety Exception to the Miranda Rule. M. Geary (2013) Homeland Security Review, Volume 7, Number 3.

Writing and the Dominican Tradition at Albertus Magnus College

AMCstmartindeporres-49Writing as a form of engaged scholarship and preaching is integral to the Dominican Tradition at Albertus Magnus College. From the inception of the Order of Preachers in the 13th century when Saint Dominic advocated a “pursuit of truth” through scholarly work and preaching, among other approaches (2-3), the Dominican Order has been committed to sharing the fruits of contemplation with others. Since it requires persuasion, knowledge of audience and clear communication, preaching requires a thorough understanding of rhetoric. At Albertus Magnus College, students are given many opportunities to improve their writing and understanding of rhetoric in foundational English classes as well as through interdisciplinary writing intensive classes, and this emphasis helps students develop as communicators as well as engaged scholars and potential preachers.

The development of rhetorical understanding is integral to the growth of a writer and therefore key to students’ ability to preach in an effective, compassionate and clear manner. Through their study of argument; audience; correct grammar; and the rhetorical appeals of logos, pathos and ethos, students learn to develop the sensitivity and ability to write effectively and persuasively. Therefore, students’ efforts to improve their writing skills and their understanding of rhetoric directly support the Dominican Heritage and help sustain the Dominican Tradition at Albertus Magnus College.

Requiring that students develop their writing skills is also a commitment to the Dominican value of engaged scholarship, which was advocated and embodied by Thomas Aquinas and Albert the Great, among many other Dominican saints and scholars (3). After all, writing enables scholars to both share the fruits of their contemplation with the world and connect with other scholars (7). Once scholars have contemplated – often through writing — they are able to share and communicate truths with others.

Students benefit from developing their writing skills and understanding of rhetoric even if they don’t pursue the life of a scholar. Students will need rhetorical understanding — knowledge of audience, subject, purpose, genre and context — whenever they write a cover letter for a job or a business memo to an office staff. The ability to clearly, effectively and wisely communicate is a worthwhile pursuit that will enable students to share their knowledge in an effective way in whatever field they choose.

Writing is therefore integral to our Dominican Heritage of preaching, students’ needs to develop scholarship and rhetorical understanding, and the practical education that Albertus Magnus College is dedicated to giving its students.

Works Cited

The Dominican Charism in Higher Education: A Vision in the Search of Truth. River Forest, IL: Dominican University, 2012. Print.

natalie-devaullNatalie Devaull
English Department
Assistant Professor, Director of the Writing Program