Most of the people who read this don't know me. However, if you've been in a conversation with me you have seen me illustrate my ideas on paper as we're talking. I was doing that again today in preparation for a meeting with a prospective board member for Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection.
As I did this, I was asking myself, "what is the role we want from our leaders"?
I've published a short essay titled ROLE OF LEADERS and it illustrates actions that leaders of business, or professions, or universities could take. However, I think it misses a point.
What I want leaders to do is spend time learning about the issues, then combining this learning, with their own work and life experiences, to do just what I do. Sit down with a piece of paper and try to illustrate your own vision of what steps you and others need to take to help more and better tutor/mentor programs be operating in poverty neighborhoods, as workforce development and diversity partners, of your company or your university.
I've been drawing diagrams and sketching ideas for more than 14 years. Why? I began to realize that while many people understand my enthusiasm, they don't understand my ideas. Thus, I began to try to visualize these ideas. You can find many examples in the Tutor/Mentor Institute section of the T/MC web site. If you click MAPS in the lables section below, you'll find a few more examples.
What I've learned is that I understand what I'm doing better and better each time I try to create an illustration to help someone else understand my vision. Thus, if I can recruit other people who will make the attempt to visualize their own understanding of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, or of a workforce development strategy, or of what a pipeline to careers really means, I think this will give these people a greater ownership of this problem, and of the many different solutions that are possible.
In the LINKS section of the T/MC web site I have a sub section on Innovation and Creativity. I've learned that perspiration is what leads to inspiration and that the more you can learn from how someone else is solving a problem, the more inspiration you have to solve the same problem.
If you want to be a leader, of the T/MC, or of your own life, I encourage you to spend time each week reading some of the information we've posted on innovation and creativity. Then, I encourage you to begin mapping and visualizing your own beliefs, and strategies. As you do this, share your ideas via a blog, or a web site, or in face to face brainstorming with others who are trying to solve the same problems.
When our leaders are putting in this level of learning, and critical thinking, and problem solving, our solutions and their leadership will be more effective. This is not something that you can delegate. It's something you need to role up your sleeves and do for yourself.
What do you think? Is this your idea of a leader?
If this is your style of leadership, I encourage you to join us at the May 17 and 18 Tutor/Mentor Leadership Conference. If you blog these topics, why not write about this in your blog?