Honing Leadership

Posted by jlubans on February 28, 2017

Caption: Wild as the wind. (photo by Debra Garside)

Kimberley Bugg, of the NYC College of Technology, offers up some ideas for identifying future leaders in the information science profession. (I think her ideas apply to most professions.)
She elaborates in a recent issue of College & Research Libraries News about five leadership development activities:
Develop organization-specific leadership competencies
Identifying potential leaders
Honing leadership
Creating opportunities for leadership
Succession planning

Perhaps the most important activity is that of “identifying potential leaders”. She quotes me:
“John Lubans Jr. describes these individuals as organizational spark plugs. A spark plug is someone with high energy, emotional intelligence, good humor, people skills, and a can-do attitude. They are highly promotable because they help the organization realize important objectives, act on good ideas, initiate, need little encouragement, follow through, and collaborate.”
It is nice, for any author, to be quoted, certainly, but I do marvel at what rings the bell - in this case, the fireplug metaphor - for some people and what I may think is profound, seems to only jangle faintly for many.
In any case, I appreciate the tip of the hat.
I would counter Ms. Bugg’s suggestion that “Honing leadership” through formal leadership skills programs – seminars, classes, symposia – somehow will reveal and prepare the best leaders.
I have seen a long parade of people who attend these seminars who move on up not long after "getting their ticket punched".
All decent people, but most are devotedly hierarchical and extremely traditional in how they view the job, colleagues and staff. Too few have ridden Hannah Kahn’s “Wild Horse”*
Yes, it is good to be aware of leadership theory and such, but I have long found that what someone does is the most important evidence of whether they have it go with or not.

*”Ride a wild horse

with purple wings

Striped yellow and black

except his head

which must be red.
Ride a wild horse

against the sky
hold tight to his wings
before you die

whatever else you leave undone

once ride a wild horse

into the sun.”

N.B. My new book, Fables for Leaders, Ezis Press, will be out in June 2017 as
both an e-book and a soft cover print-on-demand book. The print book will feature original illustrations by the renowned, Béatrice Coron.
I hope to have prepublication information up soon on Amazon and other purchasing venues.

© Copyright John Lubans 2017
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