Leadership and You

by

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

“Tuesdays with Leadership”

By: Gene McCabe
Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach

There are many variables that lead to individual and/or team success. Arguably the most important, and likely the most discussed variable, is leadership. Books upon books have been written about the topic and there are many theories and opinions about what constitutes effective leadership.

Discussions about the results of any finished product, project, game, play, concert, lab, or event of any kind often lead to the topic of effective leadership. I know in my profession one of first things coaches talk about when assessing the results of a season is the quality of our senior leadership.

Effective leadership is hard to define on paper. I tried once to put it into words and I quickly realized how difficult it is. Why? Well, effective leadership entails so many things and different situations call for leadership in different ways. While it is difficult to define succinctly, we (all of us) tend to know it when we see it in others.

I think we all understand that as administrators, coaches, teachers and staff we have a responsibility to lead and I think we take that responsibility seriously. This blog is not a criticism of our leadership abilities on our campus. But do we take this part of our job for granted? Do we see it in ourselves and do we self-evaluate our leadership skills? For that matter, do we (by we, I mean anyone in our educational community) take enough time to further develop our leadership skills? In other words, do we lead by learning to lead better?

So much of how we lead is experiential. We have learned by doing and form observing. In many instances we are thrust into roles that require leadership and left to our own devices to figure it out. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t. We learn, we grow, and we try to do better the next time. This is the way we do a lot of things.

So what am I getting at anyway? Well, right here on our campus there is a unique leadership development opportunity available to you. For the past year I have, on a mostly regular basis, attended a leadership seminar led by Burr Datz, Director of Leadership Development at Washington and Lee. On Tuesdays each week throughout the academic year, Burr conducts a seminar series titled, “Tuesdays with Leadership”. There are two time slots: at 12:15 PM and again at 6:30 PM. They are held in room 216 of Elrod Commons.

Why do I go? The first time I went it was because a particular topic intrigued me. Now I go because I realize it is always possible to improve my leadership skills. In many instances it solidifies some of the ways I approach leadership but it also forces me to re-think and alter some of what I do.

If you know Burr then you know you are in for enlightening experience when you attend one of these Tuesday seminars. The groups are always dynamic in nature. A few weeks ago I attended titled, “Knowing yourself and others”. There was a faculty member, an administrator, two coaches, a business office manager, a counselor and two students. The variety of perspectives is refreshing and thought provoking. Each time I go I leave better. I leave understanding a little bit more about myself and how to effective lead others.

Folks this is free! Large corporations pay top dollar to bring in people to improve leadership in their organizations and we have Burr doing this each week. This is one of the many reasons W&L is such a great place to work and live. I encourage you to grab your lunch and attend one of these seminars. Moreover, encourage your players, advisees, etc. to attend. Trust me this is time well spent!

Here is the link to more information: http://www.wlu.edu/x7372.xml

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