Summer Leadership Institutes

Reflections from Baca

Reflections from PKAL Faculty 21 Alumni on the PKAL 'Baca' Summer Leadership Institute

I learned that:

  • there are many different leadership styles, not just one, and that leadership calls for the use of many different identifiable skills, and that leaders can be encouraged and developed; that there are resources and tools to strengthen one’s leadership capacity–particularly those emphasizing how to lead ‘from behind’
  • leadership involves way more political and psychological savvy than I had previously considered
  • leadership is more related to what one can accomplish than to one’s assigned role within the university; that a leader is not someone who does ‘to’ someone else, but rather someone who makes it possible for other people to do something important
  • one’s concept of leadership has to be ‘nested’ in institutional culture; that a top-down leadership model of leadership does not fit our campus culture (where leadership is a four-letter word); that leadership styles can change over time, based on the circumstances of the time
  • there is a difference between formal and informal leadership roles, and that both are important; that leaders are not always the outspoken and aggressive persons on a campus, and that being a servant leader is sometimes the most important role one can play, rather than being a ‘take-charge’ person who orders others around; that a leader does not have to be an administrator; that a leader is one who develops a group of like-minded people with a consensus for change
  • it is critical to be self-aware, to know how to accomplish change with the resources and talents I have; to know one’s own strengths and weaknesses
  • a good sense of humor helps, taking care not to offend anyone
  • there is considerable value in having the time for reflection and discussion (and mentoring) about one’s career
  • leaders are not mythical creatures, that interpersonal skills and goal-setting are key traits of leadership that I have.

The experience:

  • reinforced my view of the need to include all points of view and to engage different members of the community as a responsibility of leadership, of the importance to listening and being able to take a host of seemingly disparate opinions and put together a coherent picture of the future (of the department/institution)
  • helped me become more sophisticated in how I approach interactions with colleagues, those with whom I need to work to effect growth and change on our campus
  • started my transformation from being a ‘lone wolf’ to someone who finally understands that it is necessary to collaborate in order to transform science education on our campus
  • reinforced my understanding that you did not have to be out in front telling people what has to happen to be a leader, in fact, that that is not a great way to lead; the emphasis on servant leadership was really great; confirmed for me the value of being a leader from the middle–that one can be a good leader from the inside instead of from the front.