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Lead From Where You Are

| June 27, 2017

by Sean McDonald

One of the central tenets of leadership is that you put your leadership skills to work wherever you are.  This follows from a strong belief that leadership is not about a position or a title but rather the simple idea that leadership is more about a set of skills that you can develop and make use of no matter where you are.  Yes, in your place of employment.  And, also in every other part of your life!  Anyone can choose to be a leader wherever she or he is.  And in doing so, he or she can make a crucial difference.
So, you build relationships and networks whether you are a manager of managers or you report to a manager.  You are aware of your presence, how you “show up,” in every situation.  You make use of your emotional intelligence skills to assist you in navigating the world in which you find yourself whether it’s work or every other part of your life.  And, also with every other leadership skill or tool you have. 
It’s been said that becoming a very good leader requires a lifelong learning process.  So, you need to get started early.  John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach, put it this way:  “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.”
Several months ago, MOR Associates issued a call for nominations for its First Annual “Lead from Where You Are Award.”  The call stressed that the award would recognize MOR leadership program alumni who:
•  Model leadership behaviors regardless of where they are
•  Are clearly dedicated to improving themselves and their organizations
•  Are a “spark” that ignites action.
Awardees were announced at last Tuesday’s virtual conference – The 2017 MOR Leaders Conference :: Re-Imaging IT – Continuing the Journey.  They are:

Tron Compton-Engle, Case Western Reserve University, Director of Information Technology, School of Law – Volunteers to lead new projects, engages colleagues in new endeavors, warm, outgoing, trustworthy, and approachable.

Chris Gazzilli, New York University, Systems Administrator, Linux Administration – Builds relationships beyond his organization, created new processes to improve server performance, shared what he did, broadly influences others.

Debra Howell, Cornell University, Director of IT for Infrastructure, Properties and Planning – True leader, coach, mentor, sacrifices own best interest for the university, encourages and facilitates staff development to build leadership capacity within Cornell IT.

Michele Kelmer, Indiana University, IT Strategy Business Analyst, IT Community Partnerships, UITS – Catalyst in leadership initiatives, gets stuff done, approaches people with respect and enthusiasm, is judicious with their time, asks and allows others to opt in.

Jaci Lindberg, University of Nebraska, Director of Digital Learning, Information Services – Forges strong influential relationships to resolve thorny issues, developed distant education strategy, selfless, relentless, maintains long view.

Jake MacGregor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Help Desk Service Manager, Engineering IT Shared Services – Founded, handled logistics and funding, new program to provide staff training and development, worked to create a more inclusive culture and to develop organization through “soft-power.”

Gordy Pace, University of Montana, Director of IT Communications, Information Technology – Passionate for leadership, influences strategy development across the university, connects with clients using their language and experiences.

Barry White, University of Illinois at Chicago, Dir. of Computer Services, Academic Affairs, College of Pharmacy – Effective, asks insightful questions, drills into hard areas, challenges individuals to improve always with respect and a smile, thinks beyond the immediate and makes time to contribute to something greater.
Others nominated were:

Tim Ahlgren Sarah Christen Darrell Cook
Denise Craig Katherine Dobrenen Craig Hager
James Hurst Huoy-Jii Khoo Matt Klein
Boyd Knosp Randy Martin Megan May
Vijay Menta Amy Metzger Michael Muldoon
Nicholas Oas Heather O’Leary Jane Pikor
Eric Pinaud Rutgers 2017 Cohort Kelly Sattler
Cheryl Seybold Hal Stone UC Berkeley MOR Alumn

We encourage all leaders, no matter where you are – in your organization, in all areas where you are involved, everywhere – to take the opportunities that are before you to step forward and lead.
Make yours a great week.  .  .    Brian and Sean