Authentic Leadership


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Brief essay about Leadership Development Programs in Universities.

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Authentic Leadership

  1. 1. Trejo |1 UNIVERSIDAD LA SALLE Centro de Idiomas Business English Seminar Summer 2009 Professor Christie Helen Sowing Seeds, Harvesting Authentic Leaders By Juan Manuel Trejo Calderón 030962 June 19th, 2009
  2. 2. Trejo |2 Sowing Seeds, Harvesting Authentic Leaders During the 21st century, people all over the world can count on different kinds of resources that solve current problems in society. With big corporations and research centers, the world should be a better place to live. In the past the world has suffered from many difficulties, which generated conflicts within society, causing people to rise up to make changes regarding the behavior of the society against radical groups looking out for particular interests. Are we facing different problems rather than the ones that affected nations before the 20th century? Why can’t we deal with hunger or poverty? Are they more difficult to solve instead of wars? Do current “leaders” worry about Global Warming or any other environmental issues? Is our society caring about creating leaders or just followers? Who is mentoring the next generation of leaders? Today’s leaders must be developed fundamentally by the educational sector; however, what are universities doing in terms of leadership curriculum nowadays? Since a long time ago people have been trying to discover the real characteristics, styles or personality that leaders should have without many diverse results expressing how hard it would be for a common student to become the leader that society needs. Basically, what differentiates leaders from the rest of the population is their authenticity, which will be the hardest thing for universities to enrich.
  3. 3. Trejo |3 In the end, universities must focus on delivering the proper programs in order to give students the capacity to discover themselves and be trustworthy and responsible people by giving them the framework to become authentic. Therefore, a Leadership Development Program is a fundamental part of “First World” or developed countries; Mexican universities must create leadership programs to position themselves at the front of worldwide universities. Through the next pages, this essay will discuss the framework of the Millennium Development Goals because they will help to identify the current worldwide issues that affects society; next it will describe what leadership is, what leaders are and what characteristics these leaders need to have, using sources like the Harvard Business Review. Finally, it will make the link between educational sector, leadership and how both can work together in order to solve these worldwide issues; however, the main idea and conclusions should be made about the relevance that the educational sector, universities in specific, must create leadership development programs and generate more leaders. At the present time, worldwide issues have become an interesting topic for the society and are not something apart from us and people everywhere. In reviewing the World Bank’s Millennium Development Goals, different issues exist that people must be focused on, such as solutions for poverty and hunger, proper education, equality, maternal health and child mortality, combat AIDS and different diseases, sustainability and finally global partnership looking for development. However, besides this global organization, who is also taking actions and pushing
  4. 4. Trejo |4 forward to see changes, to make big corporations focus on helping to reach the same goals and solutions? Prioritizing is something relevant to achieve the goals to eradicate these worldwide issues; another option would be that society must be divided into several groups in order to reach the goals efficiently. However who will organize those groups and who can be in charge of developing the strategies and gathering the right people for the right positions? It needs to be someone who can mentor the leader who will guide over time and create several positive changes. From the beginning, society should know what leadership is and what leadership can contribute to current problems; they should be shaping the new models of leaders, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King or Benito Juárez. Wouldn’t it be great to know their definition of leadership? These people demonstrated their authentic leadership by fighting against poverty, discrimination and human rights. So leadership in the past was about guiding mass movements to help solve society’s issues. Through all these changes, did they help to develop mores leaders? As far as I remember, didn’t they have more followers instead of new leaders? I could say that leadership in the past was described as movements that were initiated in order to make a change. The Oxford Dictionary (2009) defines the world lead as “the initiative in an action: others followed our lead” (p.1). Which confirms definitions in the past. Nowadays, leadership is about inspiration to change things in a positive way, the path to succeed in society and being responsible for solving current problems and to serve humankind; all these ideas are supported by the creation of more leaders. Leadership Advisor Samson Itoje
  5. 5. Trejo |5 (2009) reasoned that “Leadership is the ability to influence other people to act in line with your expectations willingly or otherwise… Leadership is about results. It's about managing followers in such a way that you deliver on set objectives. Never lose sight of that” (p.1). As a result of the article, diverse opinions regarding leadership can be found. Worldwide issues need someone who can create a vision in order to inspire and motivate others and there find what a leader should have, personally and professionally to accomplish their objectives. Addressing some points about characteristics of a leader it is very important to know and learn about your life story because it provides unique experiences, the ones that will contribute to shape the personality as well as having right decision-making in order to follow the right path in business and life. This “Learning from Your Life Story” is reviewed in the Harvard Business Review by George et. al. (2007).Linked with learning about your life, it comes to know about yourself or better known as self-awareness, but knowing about yourself implies doing a deep examination of your experiences. Most people lack knowing what they really need or want from themselves. University Professors George et. al. (2007) wrote that “Knowing their authentic selves requires the courage and honesty to open up and examine their experiences” (p.5). This is something very important to succeed and keep ascending in an economical, social and personal way; it is not easy to get to know yourself perfectly and that’s why people live, in order to know through the years how we can react to different situations of life. Values and principles and motivations are relevant things that will shape your profile as a leader but there’s
  6. 6. Trejo |6 going to be something missing and it’s about the people around you. It is about building the support team that will be next to you and letting you know positive and negative things about your vision, goals and personality facing challenges in the best way and helping you to grow. University Professors George et. al. (2007) emphasized “Authentic leaders build extraordinary support teams to help them stay on course. Those teams counsel them in times of uncertainty, help in times of difficulty, and celebrate with them in times of success” (p.7) Over the time you can become the desirable leader for the people. It is a matter of balancing your life in every aspect that will give you enough confidence within the team because the next thing to do besides discovering yourself and taking into consideration people around you is to start to empower people to lead as well and give them the trust and inspiration to be leaders. Talking about diverse issues it comes to reality and associated to the topic many countries from the “Third World” are very affected by these issues. What do they need to expect from developed countries to get better? Regarding specifically to education, do undeveloped countries need to be educated by developed ones? Something important in the construction of one society is the education, which is key piece of your success in life. Through education people will be encouraged to make this world better and serve to society. Meanwhile, why is it so important to spend so many years on basic education and just around four or five in specific careers? What is this education doing on behalf of fixing the negative changes that the world is experiencing? Society should do every year the same argument, consisting on what the educational system or universities are doing in order not to
  7. 7. Trejo |7 have more and more graduates and less positions at corporate sector, if it’s relevant to send young people and spend money on having them be prepared to be unemployed. That’s why every day quality in education must be improved. Qualified professors are not enough to have students well prepared to face challenges from the real world; there also implies to have good education programs and a plus would be to add Leadership Development Programs empowering students to create, innovate, inspire and generate more leaders. Talking about Mexican Universities, most of them don’t have any particular program regarding leadership development or at least they point out that they have “one”. At the Universidad Anáhuac, Mtro. Jorge de la Torre Rosas (2008) confirmed “In the Anahuac Leadership Programs we look for the link between student members and worldwide high status leaders and organize activities and events that contribute to their own development as university community as well” (Trans. Mine, p. 1). After all university divides in several disciplines and gives to students the opportunities to develop themselves on what they really want, would be in sports, culture and art, communication, social involvement or entrepreneurship. How are these programs linked to academic ones? For example, Universidad La Salle, has several formative programs but not one of them is linked to an academic program or subjects accreditation; several students in the university believe that some of those programs are relevant for shaping as leaders. One of them isn’t a program; it is an organization called AIESEC. Its homepage (2009) reports that it develops over 35,000 members globally, presented in 1,700 universities and is engaged with over
  8. 8. Trejo |8 4,000 companies within 107 countries that is located (p.1-2). Also AIESEC Alumni are willing to help with leadership development programs to students from their universities because AIESEC positions can just be held by students. What is missing at Universidad La Salle in order to mentor students with huge capabilities to be leaders? AIESEC is doing it, and it is part of the university and each year it is developing just over forty students when it could develop all the students from the university. The above is just an idea about how universities can partner with some organizations on behalf of their students’ development. This is just an example and looking around education programs in the United States I found several leadership development programs attached to academic ones. For example, the University of Pennsylvania counts on the “Fox Leadership Program” that equips students for leadership roles having Leadership Events, Leadership Experiences that combines challenging projects on civic topics and workshops to develop soft-skills. Besides, they give leadership courses giving the opportunity to undergraduates to deal with experts in terms of different topics within leadership. As people may see, those are programs strictly focused on leadership but containing topics from nowadays and giving the experience to undergraduates to shape their personal and academic characteristics into strengths ready to use as leaders at business world. The University of South Carolina (2009) declared that their mission statement for Leadership Programs is “To provide programs and services that will enhance student involvement, aid in personal and leadership development of students, and encourage students to seek their full potential” (p.1). University of South Carolina
  9. 9. Trejo |9 has a complete program of what leadership development could be and there are several courses and activities that go from theory to practice and not taking out the challenges. After all, it is not a matter of introducing one leadership course or one career talking about how to be a leader. All this is about having a vision about what society needs from universities in the near future, and what we can do in the present. Universities must start planning how to improve their educational methods adding some leadership subjects, and then create something linked in the university completely focused on Leadership. The Texas Leadership Institute (2009) goal is to “enable effective community leadership and promote community and economic development, in partnership with local, state and national organizations by providing training and technical assistance to Texas communities” (p.1). Being part of the Texas University System, this institute provides leadership programs to community or organizations. Wouldn’t it be good to have this model inside Mexican institutions plus universities to provide those resources to our community? It can happen if there’s the plan involving students, academics, corporate and non-corporate organizations and giving the opportunity to be the ideal Stakeholders. Why can’t Mexican Universities combine academic programs with leadership? Is it so hard to find partnerships with organization? What about their alumni? Generating subjects among career semesters related with leadership will enhance students to keep going through their development. Imagine that students are the seeds, the university is the field and professors, academics and current
  10. 10. T r e j o | 10 businessmen leaders are the ones who will water those seeds in the proper time and as much as it’s needed; In this image, they are sowing hundreds or thousands of seeds but they will harvest the authentic leaders.
  11. 11. T r e j o | 11 References De la Torre Rosas, Jorge (2008, October) Programas de Liderazgo Anáhuac. Universidad Anáhuac. Retrieved June 15th, 2009 from George, B. Sims, P. McLean, A. N. and Mayer, D. (2007, February) Discover your authentic leadership. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved June 15th, 2009 from %20Authentic%20Leadership.pdf Itoje, Samson (2009, January) Define Leadership - What Is Leadership? Retrieved June 15th, 2009 from Oxford Dictionary (2009) Compact Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved June 15th, 2009 from Texas Leadership Institute (2009) The Texas Leadership Institute (TLI) has an option that solves your problem. About TLI. Retrieved on June 15th, 2009 from University of South Carolina (2009) Leadership Programs Mission Statement. Leadership Programs. Retrieved on June 15th, 2009 from