Leadership in Action

By Cindy Vallance

@cdvallance

I was very pleased to be asked to present our University of Kent leadership and management programme participation certificates at the annual Learning and Development Awards Ceremony in late January.

However, before I presented the certificates I was given the opportunity to share a few thoughts with the 120 staff members in attendance. A few people asked me afterwards for my references so I thought it might be useful to repeat the words I shared with that group again here:

 

Everyone in this room today that is receiving an award has demonstrated leadership. This type of leadership is self-leadership and is the foundation for all other types of leadership. An American professor by the name of Charles Manz provides an explanation of the concept of self-leadership in relation to self-management. He stated that while self-management is largely concerned with a set of behavioural and cognitive strategies that reflect a rational view of what people ought to be doing…self-leadership goes beyond this to place significant emphasis on the intrinsic value of tasks.” (Manz, Charles C. “Self-Leadership: Toward an Expanded Theory of Self-Influence Processes in Organizations,” Academy of Management Review, Volume 11, No. 3, 1986, 585-600.)

The individual who exercises self-leadership does not simply respond to a leader’s vision; the individual helps to create the vision. Your achievements reflect your individual part in helping to embody a wider organisational vision for the University of Kent.

I have also noticed a number of common themes recurring increasingly in discussions across our leadership and management programmes – behaviours that appear to resonate to participants, managers, and sponsors alike – qualities that I am happy to see not just being spoken about but also demonstrated.

These themes include: collaboration, community, respect, fostering diversity, transparency, trust, breaking down silos, appreciation, balancing creativity with consistency and focusing on a purpose that is larger than ourselves to inspire and motivate others.

Everyone can help to demonstrate their self-leadership and belief in the themes that are resonating across the University by practicing six keys to leading positive change. These keys were coined by one of my favourite thinkers, Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter and are really very simple:

“Show up, speak up, look up, team up, don’t give up, and lift others up.”

 

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