I mentioned several weeks ago that I was planning to revamp the format of the Dr. Karavedas blog. Some time ago, it became clear to me that much of what I want to say feels as if it’s already been said … because it has! There are many, many great leaders in the world – most of whom have had much to say about leadership. Covey, Maxwell, Welch, Collins – they’ve all written amazing insights into leadership. Bass, Greenleaf, Kouzes and Posner have expanded entire theoretical frameworks on leadership. What is this doctoral student going to write about leadership that hasn’t been said already? This is the place I found myself. It isn’t writer’s block. It isn’t imposter syndrome. It is simply the realization that it’s all been said before.
Then it came to me – say it again. You see, I love a good quote. I don’t even mind a cliché or two. I am the person who stands in line at Pieology and reads the wall – all of it. There’s a reason that quotes are quotable. If there wasn’t truth in the words, they wouldn’t be repeated. It doesn’t matter that it’s been said before; some truth is worth repeating. That’s what I’m going to do.
For each new blog, I will choose one of my favorite leadership quotes and explain what it means to me. I encourage you to leave comments providing your interpretation as well. A lot can be learned from other leaders, and we will learn together from these leaders – in their own words. Together, we can take this journey toward developing our own leadership style and becoming great leaders to those we lead.
Dr. K is going away …. but just for a short time.
I’ve been away for quite a little while already. The holidays came upon us and were quickly followed by the next stage of my journey toward becoming Dr. K. I’ve entered the world of “Prospectus.” It’s a strange and wonderful place that offers an enormous amount of reading, a fair amount of writing, and very little sleep. It’s part of the journey, and I have embraced it wholeheartedly.
I’m excited to announce that I’ve decided to revamp the content this blog just a bit. I will still post occasional Reflections through my dissertation defense. However, I have a new idea that I will share with you as soon as it’s fully developed. In the meantime, Dr. K is taking a little hiatus. I may post the occasional Reflection as seems appropriate, but look for a full return somewhere around late March or early April.
My first class to begin year two is a course in Creativity and Innovation. It’s my most difficult course so far. Make me read a book … or write a 25-page paper … or make a presentation … or all three. But, don’t give me an obscure idea and tell me to be creative. It’s killing me!
Truth is, we all need to be creative. The world in which we live and work is changing on a daily basis. Students sitting in classrooms today are being prepared for jobs that don’t even exist. In a recent Ted Talk, Sir Ken Robinson links imagination and creativity saying, “imagination is the source of creativity, but they are not the same thing.” Robinson defines imagination and creativity as follows:
IMAGINATION: The ability to step outside your current space, to bring to mind things that aren’t present to our senses.
CREATIVITY: Creativity is putting your imagination to work. It’s creating an idea from your imagination that has value. (Robinson, 2011)
As a child, I had an imaginary friend named Jack Jones. Jack Jones was a girl who lived in a purple house. My mom even set an extra plate at the table for Jack Jones. Somewhere along the way, Jack Jones faded into the back of my mind, and I determined that following the rules was the road to success. In 2017, the rules have changed. Pushing the envelope is expected. Thinking outside of the box is admired.
So, I embrace this course of study. I dedicate myself to becoming more creative – to exploring new ideas and thoughts. It’s time to get out of the box and see the world around me. I will find my Jack Jones again.
My office now has an idea board. I review Pinterest daily. I am trying to read about and surround myself with creative people. Most importantly, I am doing my best to move away from the screen and use my fingers for a more creative purpose.
My imagination is working already. I think I see a purple house.
“Pay attention to the small things for one day you may realize they really were the big things.” Kurt Vonnegut
This is one of my favorite quotes. It sets the tone for my approach to life – personal and professional. In leadership, I’ve experienced those moments when small things like appreciation, kindness, remembering make a large impact. A word of encouragement to a student can inspire them to try again. Remembering a staff member’s birthday shows they are valued for more than their organizational skills
Small things are often easy to do.
These concepts can be embraced by all leaders and put into practice immediately. I know there are many “small things” lists in the leadership world. This is mine.
Be courteous. One of the first traits we teach our children is to be polite. This should be the first trait of leadership as well. Use the words please and thank you always. Model the behavior we learned as children. Say hello and goodbye when you arrive and leave, even when stepping out for lunch. Most of our parents taught us to be courteous. We need simply to do what we already know we should.
Ask, don’t tell. Words are important. Rather than telling your team to do something, ask them. It’s a small, but very big difference. Asking, “Does anyone have space in their schedule to teach an additional course” is different than “I need you to teach this course.” Whether a student, a staff member, or a colleague, we value people by being careful that instructions or requests are not delivered as commands.
Be flexible when possible. I heard a parenting expert once advise parents to – whenever possible – say yes. By doing so, when required to say no, it is more meaningful and acceptable. A similar concept can be effective in the workplace. There are many areas where leaders can be accommodating – flexible start/end times, choice of office location, room accommodations, and more. None of these ideas require great cost; yet, each speaks volumes to employees about their value.
It doesn’t take much to make a big difference. Small actions show you care. Today’s workforce wants to feel valued and appreciated. Leaders have the opportunity to do just that.