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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Call for Stories

Greetings Readers,

Winter Break is upon us so I will be afk for most of the season. If you have suggestions for articles, please feel free to email me posts at OR, if you would like to submit an article of your own, email it to me at the same address. I hope everyone has a great break away from this horrid place!

--Your Editor.

1 comment:

  1. Will you please post this so your viewers may see it.

    NY Times – Leading Thoughts

    Being The Most Popular Kid in the Class Doesn’t Work Forever…

    Dr. Christopher B. Howard

    President, Hampden-Sydney College

    I can recall vividly the seventh grade student council competition. My social studies teacher dutifully scanned the classroom

    for volunteers exalting at least one of us to run for office. Never shy to voice my opinion, it was not too difficult for me to

    accept her charge. “Howie for Student Council” posters joined similarly decorated signs for candidates vying for a coveted

    position as a representative of the people. More importantly, time drew nearer and nearer to when each candidate was

    expected to give their campaign speech to students waiting anxiously with open ears and closed minds.

    After the fifth candidate finished it was my turn to speak, I was passionate, energetic and interested in helping my fellow

    students; however my talk was not terribly remarkable. But regardless of my oratory skills, I had something every kid

    needed to win an election: popularity. Like most other young people that age, I equated popularity with leadership. Not

    much changed during my successful runs for office through high school and even college but I eventually arrived at positions

    in the military, Corporate America, non-profits and higher education where by definition, making unpopular decisions

    represented effective leadership. The desire to be popular had somehow become a liability.

    As the president of Hampden-Sydney College, I am impressed each day by young people who figuratively and literally want

    to change the world. Through their work with clubs, organizations and even their very own 501(c)(3) corporations housed

    both on and off campus, these young men work diligently for a greater good, leading as best they know how. They support

    popular causes and not too unlike my seventh grade student council campaign, they remain generally well-liked by all they

    encounter. But I think it is important to caution this, at times overly-confident generation, as well as the reader, that

    leadership is not a popularity contest. Moreover, those of us who teach and develop future leaders must educate these apt

    pupils on what is just around the corner in their often peripatetic lives.

    Professor Ronald Heifetz of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University often talks about leadership

    being a dangerous place. It is even more so for young people if they transition to roles unprepared mentally, emotionally,

    spiritually and even physically for the daunting tasks at hand. As old-fashioned as it may sound, we need to provide

    opportunities for emerging leaders to develop toughness or as Dr. Angela Duckworth from the University of Pennsylvania

    calls GRIT, if they are to survive and thrive in the 21st century. I am not arguing for a Dickensonian, grey world consisting

    of ritualistic slaps on the wrist just because. However, I am reminding scholars and practitioners of leadership education

    alike to recall that no matter how elegant an idea may be it often takes an individual with the courage to endure some degree

    of deprivation seeing it through to the end. Perhaps the best way of achieving this goal is by intentionally linking character

    education to leadership development with the appropriate crucible experiences incorporated along the way. Good

    examples include individuals like Bob McDonald, CEO of Proctor & Gamble, and Colonel Mark Hyatt, Executive Director

    of the Foundation for Character Development, who sponsor important initiatives that assist with positive character

    formation. The military calls it the “loneliness of command” while others, describing the quintessential leadership role, the

    American Presidency, describe it as “the glorious burden.” Whichever title one chooses, leadership is not a seventh grade

    student council election. We must keep this precept in mind when developing the next generation of leaders.