Provost Blog


The Energy Bus

January 14, 2014

Book Review:  The Energy Bus

Energy Bus CoverJon Gordon inspires his readers to create a positive work environment. He gives principles for using positive energy to fuel success. This is a great book for motivating teams and gives practical advice for dealing with employees who are inclined to be negative and critical. Positive energy combined with vision and purpose can help teams not only achieve success, but have fun along the way.  I would recommend this strongly for leaders wanting to create positive energy in the workplace and to inspire teams to greatness.

Posted in Book Reviews

Effective Leadership

January 9, 2014

Leadership 101 – Seven Characteristics of Effective Leadership

If you are like me, I have learned much more from observing other leaders over the years than attending workshops or reading the next “must-read” book on leadership.

I have been fortunate to work with top leaders in government, corporations, and universities and have enjoyed gaining valuable insights as I observed their leadership styles in action. Leadership is as much an art as it is a science, and watching how each leader used his or her unique gifts, talents, and abilities to influence and lead is both fascinating and stimulating.

The following is a compilation of common characteristics I have observed in effective leaders.

Seven Common Characteristics of Effective Leaders

  1. Stays true to self and leads from his/her strength zone
  2. Has highly developed listening skills
  3. Displays humility and recognizes it takes a team to accomplish great things
  4. Operates with quiet resolve and determination
  5. Demonstrates strength in difficult times and is willing to make hard calls
  6. Is dedicated to mentoring and developing the next generation of leaders
  7. Continues to read, learn, and look for opportunities for professional growth and personal renewal

Please take some time to share your thoughts on common characteristics you’ve observed in effective leaders. I’d enjoy hearing from you!

Leading With Hope and Optimism

December 19, 2013

Today’s leaders, more than ever, need to recognize the impact living in a world defined by uncertainty has on daily life and the world of work.

Since the 2008 economic downturn, uncertainty has cast a long shadow on the lives of American workers. We have experienced a changing economy resulting in major losses of manufacturing jobs and less-than-acceptable increases in wages and income. College graduates have had difficulty finding professional positions and consequently have turned to part-time employment or graduate school.  Life as a whole has become more challenging with a rising cost of living in a volatile economy.

Families of college-going students have been much more hesitant to borrow to make it possible for their students to attend their dream college. So, instead, staying closer to home and enrolling in a lower-cost community college or state school has become the default choice for many.

With uncertainty having a significant impact on daily life in middle-class America, leaders must be in touch with their own emotions to be more effective in understanding the emotional well-being of their workforce. Leaders who recognize that employees still desire them to take time to find out how they are doing can significantly impact morale and workplace satisfaction.

Today's leaders must exhibit more than strength, drive, energy, and focus. They must seek to lead with a high degree of emotional intelligence. Being cognizant of how the workforce is responding to not only internal stresses and demands, but the challenges of an increasingly uncertain world, will become key to overall success.

One of the most basic characteristics that a leader can use to enhance employee morale is displaying hope and optimism. Giving workers hope can actually increase employee satisfaction and consequently increase quality production.

Remembering to lead with hope and optimism will be crucial to leadership in an uncertain world. Following are basic principles you can use to increase hope and optimism in the work environment.

Six Basic Principles for Leading With Hope and Optimism.

  1. Remember that the people you work with have personal lives that go beyond the workday.
  2. Look for opportunities to show you care, but most importantly, be genuine.
  3. Take time to make face-to-face connections. Technology does not count. Find time to walk around and greet employees.
  4. Strive to be positive. You may not personally feel upbeat, but projecting a positive spirit can be uplifting to those around you.
  5. Be purposeful to communicate with confidence about a future hope for individuals and the organization.
  6. Recognize that positive energy can be contagious. Therefore, start each day remembering to smile, be positive, and be personable and engaging.
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