Virtuous Leadership

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that once a person is in a committed leadership position, the idea of transferring that power to an adversary, let alone a faithful disciple, is not pleasant. Yet we witness such peaceful transferences of power in America at every level of government. For centuries with rare exceptions, rulers have chosen to die before giving up power. What makes America so different?

It started with the example of a virtuous leader—George Washington. He had every opportunity to take advantage of this new republic and become its king. They offered the chance on a silver platter! Yet he refused on principle and it has influenced America’s leaders every generation since.

Washington acknowledged Continue reading “Virtuous Leadership”

Change Begins With Us

The story of Ferdinand de Lesseps was an inspiring read. The completion of the Suez canal began with his vision to literally change the world. Yet even his great passion for the project could not alone support the change he sought. First, he petitioned the government of England to back his venture. When that failed, he attempted to stir the emotions of society and foster popular support. When that failed, he struck out on his own and, with the blessing of an Egyptian official, sold shares to the public to fund the canal (Burns, 2003).

“Pulsifer shares the story of a wise monk who said:

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could have indeed changed the world (Komives, 2012, p.105).”

This monk recognized the impossibility for the average person to change the world without first Continue reading “Change Begins With Us”

What History Teaches Us

This week’s reading discussed Queen Elizabeth as a historical example of leadership. The question that Burns (2003) posed was “Was she more the maker of history or a product of it” (p. 39)? He cited the circumstances surrounding her reign, such as religious divisions, mistrust in a female ruler, and incessant plots against her life, as strong influences in her style of leadership.When most monarchs might try to restore order through strict rule as her sister Mary did by promoting radical Catholicism, Elizabeth chose to focus on keeping the throne stable to offer a “still center” between whatever other issues might divide her countrymen (Burns, 2003, p. 40). “Stability was to be guarded at the expense of other values, such as liberty and justice” (Burns, 2003, p. 41).

When comparing this ideology to my business major, Continue reading “What History Teaches Us”

What Makes a Leader?

It’s an age-old question: Was Hitler a leader?

Under the broad definition of a leader as ‘someone with followers,’ I answered yes. For better or for worse, people followed him. James Burns (2003) would argue differently–that he was a ruler rather than a leader; that people obeyed his orders, but they did not necessarily follow his vision. On this, we disagree. Continue reading “What Makes a Leader?”

Slaves of History

          Are you in control of your own destiny?

Philosophers throughout history would say not. James Burns (2003) analyzes the thinking of men such as Karl Marx, Leo Tolstoy, and Herbert Spencer—19th century philosophers from Germany, Russia, and Britain respectively—in his book Transforming Leadership. Whatever our character traits might be or whatever guiding principles we adhere to, “life happens,” as it were. Endless happenings affect our daily lives. Some we can control or mitigate for while others are inevitable.

As Burns (2003) points out, “if these are unsettling questions in our private lives, imagine how complex and urgent they can be in society as a whole, Continue reading “Slaves of History”

Change Poem

Goodbye Mother, Goodbye Father!
Off I head to be a world changer!
With all you’ve taught me here I go
Christ’s love and light everywhere I’ll sow.

Transfer year, joining clubs galore.
No time for roommates, I’m out the door.
I’m perfectly angelic, purposefully naïve.
I know I’m ‘better-than’ whatever they believe. Continue reading “Change Poem”

My Meyers-Briggs Type

Over the course of my leadership journey in school, I have grown in my self-awareness. This is partly due to my newfound understanding of my personality preferences according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test. According to this test, I am an ISTJ. Thinking is my dominant trait, which I prefer to in my inner world as an introvert. Sensing is my auxiliary trait, which I use when I interact with the outside world as a balance to my dominant trait.

The official MBTI website describes this Type as “quiet, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic, and responsible. Decide logically what should be done and work toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Take pleasure in making everything orderly and organized – their work, their home, their life. Value traditions and loyalty.” I can identify with all of these descriptors. As I read through them, situations come to mind that confirm their validity.

My primary source of energy comes from my own internal world. I rejuvenate best when I am on my own or with my best friend or family. We recently had a friend stay on our living room couch for a week and it definitely proved how much I value my private space. She stayed either in the house or with me the entire time, inviting herself into every aspect of my life. As much as I love this girl, I began to get anxious for the first time in my life. By the end of the week my body would occasionally tremble involuntarily, I felt constantly nauseous, and I had difficulty falling asleep or focusing on tasks. The moment she drove away, my appetite returned and I fell on the couch to sleep. It was an uncanny, but educational experience.

I have a weak preference between sensing and intuition in the way I take in information. Like someone with intuition, I tend to see the bigger picture when I look at a scene. Yet at the same time, I observe details that speak to the bigger picture using all of my senses.

Usually, I prefer to base my decisions in logic and on principle. Growing up, I would always identify with Spock, the emotionless, logic-driven Vulcan from Star Trek. To this day, I still prefer the logic in strategic decisions, although I have lately been learning how to make more feeling-based decisions. My roommate is a very feeling person who doesn’t always agree with my decisions, even if she recognizes the logic behind them. It is a good exercise, but my preference still hasn’t changed.

I have 5, 10, and 40-year plans for my life. I make lists and plan ahead and keep journals. I am more comfortable when decisions have been made and a plan is settled upon. However, I am internally open to deviation from said plan, if a better option presents itself. This reflects my extroverted preference for judging and my introverted preference for perceiving.

“[Sensing-Thinking types] are often found in careers that require a technical approach to things, ideas, or people, and tend to be less interested in careers that require nurturing of others or attending to their growth and development,” according to the MBTI website. Currently, in school, I am studying business accounting. If I make this my profession, then I imagine it will fit my type preferences very well. Most of accounting work is individual (Introversion) and requires one to be very observant of details while keeping a bigger picture in mind (Sensing). Decisions must be made logically (Thinking). There’s not much emotion in numbers and what ever emotion does get attached to the numbers must be ignored on an ethical basis. Lastly, accountants are expected to make decisions based on their work and be organized and confident in their answers (Judging).

I think of the verse that goes something like, “a man cannot have two masters—he cannot serve both God and money. Either he will love one and hate the other, or he will hate one and love the other.” If an accountant truly loved money, then that emotion could easily cloud their judgment and lead to harmful fraud. If, on the other hand, an accountant loved God, then they could be trusted to handle the money appropriately.

This exercise has really helped me to understand my preferences and the difference between myself and my peers. Someone’s spontaneity that might previously have annoyed me can now be embraced as a wonderful difference. It doesn’t matter if it’s not my preference to be spontaneous—I can enjoy the experience with insider knowledge.

Christy as a Leader: My Strengths

Gallup StrengthsFinder

1. Connectedness
2. Discipline
3. Harmony
4. Consistency
5. Learner

VIA Characteristics

1. Kindness
2. Judgment
3. Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence
4. Gratitude
5. Honesty

Keirsey: Guardian
Meyer’s Briggs: INTJ (Rational – Mastermind)

Strengths Finder Assessment
When I first read the results of my Strengths Finders test, I smiled and nodded in agreement. As I’ve gotten to know what each of them means, that smile has just gotten wider.

First and foremost, I’m a people person. But I’m relational in a very logical sort of way. Growing up, I often identified with Spock from Star Trek: pure logic mixed with human emotion. My executive strengths of consistency and discipline as well as my strategic strength, learner, represent the logical side of me while my relational strength of harmony shows the human emotional side. I view connectedness as sort of in-between logic and emotion. I feel the connection between things intuitively, but I use that strength to logically plot out a road map for the most efficient plan of action.

My top strength is relational, but not just with people. Continue reading “Christy as a Leader: My Strengths”

Your Love is All Around

Yesterday, a friend asked me, “why are you always happy?” The song lyrics, “everywhere I look, your love is all around,” came immediately to mind. I can be genuinely happy when I focus on how much I have to be grateful for.

Sometimes, I’m overwhelmed by the beauty of nature or the thoughtfulness of a friend and it brings a smile to my face. Sometimes, I have to search for a silver lining around an otherwise dark cloud, but the confidence that God’s love permeates every situation allows me to be genuinely joyful.

I hope that this talent God has given me will bring joy to the sorrowful and lift the spirits of the despairing. Life does dish out a lot of lemons, to some more than others, but joy is sometimes sweetest when life is sour.