‘Full moon’ Leadership

Going through the exercise of assessing leadership traits based on the 20 characteristics that we were provided was an interesting process for me personally as well as engaging with the other three people on my team (Leigha, Lisa and Owen). Our top five traits were similar, just in a different ranking, however the remaining 15 were quite varied from each of our personal perspectives, which wasn’t surprising as the 20 characteristics ran the gambit in terms of their scope so it made sense that we would diverge.

For me personally, when I explored the leadership values that I think are important as they relate to leading in a digital environment, I realized that what I think is important is similar, regardless of the environment. Essentially, for me, a good leader is a person who can ‘suspend’ their ego-needs in favour of leading and supporting others to perform in their roles successfully. To that end, a good leader is open to conversations that are authentic and allow all parties to communicate. From my perspective, that’s the foundation of a leadership style that empowers others by removing barriers to success (when needful, and possible) and then enabling people to…simply, do their job.

In reading the articles for unit 1, I found myself wondering what the literature would present from a corporate learning perspective, rather than the K12/higher education one. As a result, I have not quoted or referenced the readings because nothing really stands out as noteworthy at this point, to be honest. This thought is not meant to be a criticism, rather an observation in a reflective post. That said, I know from past courses, that future readings will expand into other areas to add a deeper context to the initial articles, which I look forward to.

Ultimately, my final thoughts closing out on unit 1 are embodied in the image I chose for this post. It’s a picture I took earlier on my phone (not a very good one, I’m afraid) of the full moon in Leo making its day two debut. It struck me that it could be a full moon rising, OR the sun, setting. Regardless it sheds light by which one can see where they are going. And from my perspective, that is the epitome of what a good leader should strive to do.

4 Replies to “‘Full moon’ Leadership”

  1. Hi Sue,
    I completely agree with you that no matter what the environment, certain values won’t change and Eric Sheninger (2019) mentions this as well. But do you think leaders in a digital environment may need to focus on SOME things that didn’t matter as much in a traditional setting? You mentioned that all leaders should “‘suspend’ their ego-needs in favour of leading and supporting others to perform in their roles successfully” and again I agree but are there not any new expectations of digital leaders as well?

    1. Good question Susan, thanks for asking it! It gives me the opportunity to clarify my position in the early days of this course. I do, at the moment, believe there are similarities, however, that’s not to say I believe leadership, regardless of environments, is EXACTLY the same. I would expect that a leader would need to develop different characteristics in order to lead effectively in a digital environment. But not ever having the experience myself, I can’t speak from that perspective. And the required readings from Unit 1 are primarily about leadership in K12 and higher ed, which I also don’t have experience in. My expectation is that we’ll delve into more concrete content, as opposed to the more abstract, in upcoming units in this course. I think then I’ll be in a better position to understand how digital leadership is best shaped for other environments, like the corporate world I’m familiar with. And I’m looking forward to exploring that (and more discussion) with you and the rest of our cohort!

  2. Hi Sue,
    I think you’re observations regarding the development of different characteristics to facilitate digital leadership are accurate. As Sheninger notes in his 2014 paper Pillars of Digital Leadership, digital leadership is less about issuing instructions and directions and more about facilitating individual successes and nurturing two way communication (Sheninger, 2014). Once direction and communication have been established, relationships are maintained allowing for anticipated changes that may result.

    This makes me ask why these same characteristics are not important regardless of leadership context. What is it about digital leadership that mandates this distinction of style?

    You wonder “what the literature would present from a corporate learning perspective, rather than the K12/higher education one” (Reid, 2020). I suppose that would depend on what if any differences there may be between corporate learning and K12 / post-secondary education. Have you identified ways in which teaching and learning differs between the two contexts?

    Thank you for posting such a thought provoking post.
    Owen Lloyd.

  3. Thanks Owen for your comments! And the opportunity to expand on my thoughts with the question you pose, “…what if any differences there may be between corporate learning and K12 / post-secondary education?” (Lloyd, 2020).
    Prior to starting this program, I had an elementary understanding of the difference between pedagogy and andragogy. And to some extent, my perspective was based on the opinions of those I worked with who believed that all learners were essentially the same, regardless of their demographic. However, my past experience in the field of adult education (which was very much influenced by the work of Malcolm Knowles) was further validated by the readings in 522. For example, as Darden states, “Andragogy focuses on adult learning and is identified solely with why the adult takes a course or undergoes training in the first place. Children, in contrast, do not have a wealth of knowledge and experience; hence the term pedagogy, therefore, they need structured training and teacher-directed learning—they depend on the teacher to direct their learning” (p. 810).
    As a result, I believe educators should consider that the needs of learners, are in part dictated by their experience as well as the multitude of other factors that influence their receptivity and readiness to learn. It’s complex, but I think that’s what most of us are drawn to because it is an ever changing puzzle that requires a discerning eye and an adaptable view.

    Darden, D. C. (2014). Relevance of the Knowles theory in distance education. Creative Education, 05(10), 809–812. https://doi.org/10.4236/ce.2014.510094

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