LILA ~ Learning Innovations Laboratory at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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Leadership Character & Organizational Learning: Dr. Dusya Vera

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Dusya began sharing some new research that is trying to answer three questions: which barriers to learning reside in leaders?  They drew on two models of leadership: transcendent leadership model (which is the intersection of self, other, and organization leadership). This is more of an umbrella label for other theories of leadership that have been established.  Like other work she does, this is a multilevel approach and it highlights the leadership of the self.

One important quality of leadership is humility: the ability to realistically assess one’s own contribution and the recognition of the contribution of others, along with luck and good fortune that made one’s success possible.  She noted that humility is not about being weak, rather it’s about framing circumstances in more complex terms.  Humble leadership behaviors include acknowledging mistakes, spotlighting follower’s strengths and contributions, and modeling teachability. There was great discussion about whether the quality of humility is really what’s important to effective leaders.  Marga reminded the group that aside from the relationship between the quality of leaders and how it’s correlated to organizational performance, if we’re talking about leading learning the quality of humility might be an important element.

Dusya put forward the idea that character and character development might be a way to study the impact of the leader and wondered what members through about whether this feels like character might be a worthy place to study.  Character includes integrity, courage, collaboration, humility, justice, judgment, etc.  Some thought that values might be a better place since character could be construed too closely to virtue and absolute truth.

Harvard Graduate School of Education