Image by Geodog via Flickr
I’m just past the halfway mark in my final class before completing my Master of Communications in Digital Media (MCDM) program from the University of Washington. The class is all about being a leader in the digital age, which, if you just blow past the words, sounds like yet another survey of leadership styles, papers to write, a video project and some other deliverables. Turns out it is providing me yet another viewpoint from which to view myself and those around me. By the way, this has been true for every single endeavor I’ve undertaken in this program, but now back to our show….
I will share the works we’re reading for this class a little later, but first I want to tell you about an eye-opening way I found to think about leaders and leadership. Throughout the reading and all of the great debate and discussion I’ve had so far in the class, it has become obvious that just about everyone has within themselves the kernel that can grow into leadership, regardless of position or employment. Leadership is about reflection on who you are, what your values and foundations are, and what you feel is ultimately important. It’s nearly The Meaning of Life, without the “guru on top of the mountain” visual that usually accompanies that phrase.
Meeting and talking with people in various places of their lives, I’m struck with a cosmological comparison…which isn’t as spooky as it sounds. There are an unknown number of stars, and they are each absolutely individual. No two stars are exactly alike and they have a lifecycle. There are different colors, sizes, degrees of stability (I’m stretching it a bit here, but you get my drift). The thought that really captured me was this:
The most powerful stars are invisible to the naked eye. Without special equipment, we cannot see black holes.
Is that true of the leaders that have the most long-lasting effect on those around them and their world? I’m starting to think so, but I’m going to start looking a little more closer in “hidden places” (my version of ‘special equipment’ in this analogy…). I’ll tell you what I find.
Oh, and here are the books we’re reading (mine are on my Kindle):
The Leadership Challenge by Barry Pozner and James Kouzes
The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling by Stephen Denning
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