Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Core Values: A Leadership Imperative (Part 1)

The election season is always an interesting case study. In communication courses, where students have to either view exemplar speeches or identify public leaders, the trajectory is often focused on politicians, past or present. Similar to my post yesterday I began today thinking about leadership, in the political realm, but also beyond. I spent some time today trying to clarify my Core Values. I wanted to spend a little time discussing two of my Core Value tenants and how those are practically applied. For those who may regularly read these posts you will notice some crossover with my Teaching Philosophy pillars. 

Excellence- I fail often but even in the midst of failure I believe that we can make mistakes with pride if we have worked hard and exemplified an unceasing work ethic and wisdom in decision making. I believe that good leaders will not be “perfect” either in character, behavior, or decision-making, but good leaders will strive to be excellent. 

Advocacy- I see this Core Value often in my classroom. I try to advocate for students but there is a fine line as an Instructor. Yes, I want what is best for my students but often what is best is not what is easiest (i.e. does it benefit anyone to receive a grade of “A” for C+ work?). Students do need a voice and there are many others walking among us who are “voiceless.” I believe a leader will advocate for those without voice and who cannot be heard.

These are just two of my Core Values. As I stated before I fail often and am consistently not excellent and regularly not even close to advocating. Despite my significant shortcomings I try to speak for the voiceless and be excellent in all endeavors. Effective leaders are men and women of character who live life on the basis of their Core Values. I also believe, however, that a leader will effectively message their Core Values in order to be seen as a more credible resource. More on this tomorrow…

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day: Communication and the Freedom of “Vote”

I voted today and proudly wear a sticker declaring this fact. I have now been witness to several campaign strategies in the Commonwealth. Candidates have invaded my media-space over the course of the last several months. This is a privilege I do not take lightly. The ability to vote, to voice an opinion, is a significant blessing. What never ceases to amaze me, as I witness the electoral process year after year, is the potential media influence on candidate choice. We are consumers of media. As consumers, messages are often tailored to suit us and, in many ways, the messages we receive set our personal beliefs and voting agenda. Today serves as a reminder to view election-based messages as a responsible consumer, as a critical-thinking consumer, recognizing that the communication we receive has been tailored to shock and amaze. Campaign message analysis should be approached responsibly with the understanding that these messages have been crafted to reinforce or drastically change our opinions. Media influence and agenda-setting are not new theoretical concepts but I pause today to remember the importance of being heard and the importance of responsibly “hearing” messages during the election season.