Saturday, May 16, 2009

Leadership is so basic to success

Thinking a good deal about Leadership this week as I worked my way through THE 21 IRREFUTABLE LAWS OF LEADERSHIP, by John C. Maxwell. This book was a gift from the Coker College Communication Senior Seminar class and it much appreciated and I will get a great deal of use from this book. Maybe the first use is this posting.

In the Communication Senior Seminar I borrowed some of the thinking of Steven Covey as conveyed in THE EIGHT HABIT and talked with the students about thinking now of the legacy they want to leave with the world. Covey's Eighth Habit, "find your voice and help other people find their voice." is a great way of thinking about your impact on the world. As the senior communication majors got ready to graduate, I thought that was of the important pieces of information to try conveying in the closing weeks of their final semester. It turns out the 21st Law of Leadership is "The Law of Legacy." Just now, in a Facebook posting, I thanked the seniors for the book and passed along Maxwell's last piece of leadership advice from the book, "Learn to lead -- not just for yourself but for the people who follow you." (Maxwell, page 268)

Leadership has been a part of my life for just about as long as I can remember. I continue working on learning leadership. One of my not well formed philosophies is that as a professor in the classroom my role is very much leadership -- at least as much as it is professorship.

And, leadership is a topic on my mind because Dr. Dawson, our president for the past seven years, is retiring and Dr. Robert Wyatt will be coming to Coker for his first college presidency. He has been leading a vibrant business department at Drury University and he has been preparing for a college presidency for the past couple of years. During his on-campus visit prior to getting the offer, he exemplified some leadership qualities by tackling some tough questions head on. I think is forthright approach to the discussion is one of the things that made some of my faculty colleagues react positively to his candidacy.

In another blog -- about community building and community thinking -- I also approached the concept of leadership because one non-profit _ New Vision Community Development Corporation just had the sneak grand opening of new cafe they will be using to help generate funds for their many programs. The leaders of that organization showed strong patience and persistence in finally getting their kitchen ready. Patience is not one of my leadership skills.

In teaching communication at Coker my consistent mantra is that communication is leadership and leadership is communication. Maxwell, in his first paragraph of the concluding chapter of his 21 laws book, says, "Everything rises and falls on leadership." (Maxwell, p 267)

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