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Bite-Sized Leadership Lessons

main.jpgEver since hearing the inspiring words of Bush Foundation CEO Jen Ford Reedy and Humphrey School Associate Dean Laura Bloomberg at the 2014 YNPN National Conference, I’ve been thinking about how impactful it is to hear an individual speak about his or her perspective on leadership.

After all, what really is leadership? You can’t put it in a box or a clear-cut definition. Everyone lives leadership in his or her own way, and it is something entirely different and powerful when it emerges from a team of individuals.

But, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that leadership takes inspiration. It takes seeing behavior or hearing an approach that you feel moved by enough to integrate it into your way of being in the world.  I thought I would provide a little fresh fodder for you to reflect on today in the words of four incredible leaders here in Minnesota’s civic sector.

All these video clips come from digital case studies that are a part of theHubert Project, a collection of open educational materials for individuals working in the nonprofit, philanthropic, and public sectors. Tip (from a Proud Project Director – full disclosure here): Bookmark it as a great and ever-growing resource for free professional development!

Grab your lunch, sit back and have a watch: 

Gloria Perez, President & CEO of the Jeremiah Program on Values & Passion (1:55)

Food for Thought: What are your interests? What are the deep-seated values and experiences driving those interests? Where do those values show up in the work you’re doing in the world? If they don’t, how can you realign your work to pay attention to what fuels you?

Danette Buskovick, Director, Training, Research & Communications at MN Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs on the Importance of Relationships (1:25)

In this clip, Danette is talking about the work that was done to bring together the cross-sector Safe Harbor Taskforce to design the policy that is now actively addressing the sex trafficking of minors in Minnesota.

Food for Thought: Where have you seen the key importance of relationships show up in your work? Is there an area of your work where you might be neglecting the importance of reaching out to partners, new and old? Are you asking that key question, “Who isn’t at the table who should be?”

Trista Harris, President of the Minnesota Council on Foundationson the Value of Co-Leadership, Mentorship, Sponsorship (2:03)

In this clip, Trista is referring to the work of the African American Leadership Forum, “a movement of African American leaders and stewards across five metropolitan areas,” including the Twin Cities.

Food for Thought: What’s your “sphere of influence” and how are you creating positive change in that space? Who are those who have modeled mentorship or sponsorship with you and how are you paying this forward?  

Dr. H. Yvonne Cheek, President of Millennium Consulting Groupand Consultant for the African American Leadership Forum on being a “pivot point” as a leader – being able to engage in “both/and thinking” in order to lead in complex, adaptive social change efforts.  (2:02)

Food for Thought: What could benefit a better balance of “both/and” in your work? Is what you’re dealing with a “problem to be solved” or a “polarity to be managed?”

Hope you enjoyed these words of wisdom. What would you offer as something you’ve learned about “leadership” by living it?  

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