Tuesday, April 28, 2015
One of my favorite traditions that we have in our department is our capstone class' pizza party. As part of that experience, each professor in the department gets to stand up and say a few words of advice for our graduates. I have posted all of mine in the past few years and I really wanted to keep that tradition alive as well.
As my transition into becoming the new Chair of the Department comes closer, I have been thinking a lot about leadership lately. For those of you who have taken one of my classes, you know how important I feel that each of you take on a leadership role in some part of your life. One of the biggest lessons that I have learned over the years, is that leadership requires first and foremost to understand and appreciate your team. Over the past few years, while this team has taught you theoretical foundations, statistical analyses and financial statements. While this information is indeed important, what was more so, is the way in which they imparted it to you. Each of these individuals has their own approach and style that is unique unto them and uses it for their and your advantage. If you have watched real closely over the last few years, you will see that this mix of ingredients bring a recipe for success...
For instance, Professor Clement brings a desire to innovate. He looks at problems not as insurmountable blockages but rather as challenges for growth.
Dr. McLeod creates real and lasting relationships. If you have ever seen him 'work a room' it would be the first time. He doesn't 'work a room' but rather hosts gatherings of friends and colleagues. He is genuine and likable. People come to trust and respect him because of it.
Dr. Crotts is a master strategist. He knows how to take his ideas, break them down into components and convince you that they are correct. He achieves his goals by understanding the system and knowing where to implement his strategies where they will work to their greatest effectiveness.
Ms. Green, I have to admit she frightened me a little at first. I have come however to love and respect her. What is impressive about Ms. Green is that she has a level of determination that is incredible to see. When she gets an idea in her head that she feels is right, she will run through walls to see it get done.
Dr. Pan is a man of tremendous wisdom. In an hour meeting, everyone will have had plenty to say but the five words stated by Dr. Pan will usually be the most memorable and insightful. He is the best example of quality over quantity, I have ever met.
Melinda. Her ability to keep order and organization is incredible. She has become an indispensable member of our team because she bring order to the chaos that is academia. She is often the voice of reason and brings a earthbound perspective to any discussion.
Dr. Litvin, who is a man who my admiration knows no end, has gained such respect and loyalty from me because he is an individual who stands for love and compassion. Everything he does comes directly from the heart. He has taught me that what we do here is more than a mere profession but rather as a chance to constantly build and grow not only ourselves but to make a positive impact around us.
We finally come to Dr. Frash. I have to say my first few years here, I didn't really get a chance to know Dr. Frash all that well. Over the past three years or so, I feel that we have become close and he has taught me so much. One of his greatest gifts of leadership is that he is willing to tell the truth even if it is not to his own personal advantage. He tells the truth even when people do not want to hear it not because he is being cruel but rather because he believes you need to hear it to become a better person. I have witnessed him many of time be heartbroken and left feeling isolated because of what he said but knowing that he did what needed to be done in order to lead people to success. I only hope I can be half the leader that he is.
So my leadership lessons that I hope you picked up from this little talk are innovation, relationships, strategy, determination, organization, wisdom, love and truth. If you ensure you are working towards these ends in your life, you will be successful.
Posted by Wayne W Smith at 6:03 AM