Another week has zoomed by. Today I will be away my main campus to go to a leadership event at the beautiful Bailey Hall of Broward College. I saw an opportunity for a free ticket, and I asked my boss what he thought; in my last performance review, he had noted as an opportunity for growth that I go to management and/or leadership development. He approved, and so off I will go.
I'm not sure what to expect; the event says it will "breathe new life into your leadership" by way of "a leader development experience designed to equip you with new perspectives, practical tools and key takeaways." Although some of the names are familiar to me, I don't think of all of them as leadership teachers. I'm thinking most specifically of Tyler Perry.
It's been an intense few weeks, both in terms of my work life (start of Fall quarter) and in the larger communities of my life. While I expect that the retreat I'll attend next week will do more to rejuvenate me, I'm also looking forward to today.
If my boss had told me that I needed to do more to get training in pedagogy, I'd know how to do that. If he had said that I needed to get some updates in my field of study, that, too, I would know where to seek out those opportunities.
But for leadership and management training, I've been a bit stymied. I've seen a few conferences, but been astounded by their prices. I've thought about working on an additional degree, which I could do for the price of those conferences.
To be fair, if I had to pay for this ticket, I'd be asking the same questions about the worth of the training. But I'm an academic in outlook. I want to know that what I'm learning is backed up by research, not just by the experience of the speaker. The promotional materials for many of these workshops don't really stress that aspect of what we'll learn--how do we know what we know?
Today is Columbus Day, the day in 1492, October 12, a lookout on one of Columbus' boats saw land after almost 2 months at sea. I’m always amazed at what those early explorers accomplished. At Charlestowne Landing (near Charleston, SC), I saw a boat that was a replica of the boat that some of the first English settlers used to get here. It was teeny-tiny. I can't imagine sailing up the coast to the next harbor in it, much less across the Atlantic. Maybe it would have been easier, back before everyone knew how big the Atlantic was.
It's interesting to think about leadership on this day when we celebrate that vision of Columbus, the day when some of us will think about who and what Columbus had to trample to accomplish his goals. What kind of leadership do we need today?
We've had some interesting discussions of leadership in various communities of which I am a part. How would our worlds be different if we praised kindness and compassion--not traits for which Columbus was known.
On this week-end which will celebrate the canonization of Archbishop Oscar Romero, I'll be thinking of these leadership questions. What happens when leaders think about the bottom-most rungs of societies? Does that path always lead to martyrdom?