Monday, May 18, 2009


I'm going to expand on what Ryan wrote a few days ago, about impressions and impacts. Ryan wrote, "How we live, determines how we lead, which will determine the impact we make." This seems to be a simple statement. But, it is also quite complicated. Have you ever thought about how you live? Or how you lead? Or the impact that you make? More importantly, have you thought about the connection between these?

I don't think I can say I have. Yes, I have thought about my life and my abilities as a leader from time to time. I like to believe that I am making an impact on children's lives. There are times I question my effectiveness as a leader and if I'm truly living my life as the leader I want to be. 

I am in the Organizational Leadership program at the University of Denver right now and have learned some interesting and useful leadership and team techniques. In one of my classes we read The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. They have created a simple model of the 5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership. These 5 steps inspired me. I printed the model out and put it above my desk. Everyday I look at it and ask myself if I'm following the steps. While they are straightforward practices, I still must challenge myself to follow them in my everyday work. I believe that if I continue to read them and try to incorporate them into my everyday LIFE, this will improve my LEADING abilities, and in turn, allow me to make a bigger IMPACT. 

5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership
1. Model the Way 
Clarify Values: find your voice and affirm shared values 
Set the Example: personify the shared values and teach others to model the values
2. Inspire a Shared Vision
Envision the Future: imagine the possibilities and find a common purpose
Enlist Others: appeal of common ideals and animate the vision
3. Challenge the Process
Search for Opportunities: seize the initiative and exercise outsight
Experiment and Take Risks: generate small wins and learn from experience
4. Enable Others to Act
Foster Collaboration: create a climate of trust and facilitate relationships
Strengthen Others: enhance self-determination and develop competence and confidence
5. Encourage the Heart
Recognize Contributions: expect the best and personalize recognition
Celebrate the Value and Victories: create a spirit of community and be personally involved

I challenge you to follow these 5 practices. Share them with a friend. How can you live, lead, and make an impact? 

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