Can The RWL Program Help Someone To Be A Better Leader?

During one of the worksite internships a business owner asked me “Based on your Program experience, what advice about leadership would you give a business owner like me?” At the time no adequate response could be formulated. The fine details of the Program were still blurry and with logistics and duties to perform, I had not had time to focus on this issue. However, that question stuck with me throughout the Program and it helped formulate this paper. Now evaluating the Program notes, and having the benefit of less pressure of being at a worksite, here is the answer to that question.

With regard to proper leadership of an organization you need to keep three things in mind:

  1. Evaluation
  2. Development
  3. Reinforcement

1. Evaluation
To be a more effective leader you need to evaluate your personal definition of leadership. My definition is on the , however yours could be quite different due to your perspective on various issues. You could also evaluate the definition of leadership within your institution. Once your definition of leadership is evaluated, the assessment could turn to defining your personal goals and institutional goals. Clarity of a goal is a key. Also the ability to measure whether the goals are achievable or being met (feedback) is important. After that process, you could then perform an evaluation of your personal leadership characteristics and your employee leadership characteristics and traits. Unbiased third party evaluation for your institution may also be helpful.

Evaluation Summary:

  • Evaluate personal definition of leadership
  • Evaluate institutional definition of leadership
  • Evaluate personal goals (with clarity and feedback in mind)
  • Evaluate institutional goals (with clarity and feedback in mind)
  • Evaluate personal leadership characteristics
  • Evaluate employee leadership characteristics
  • Third party evaluation of institution goals and traits

2. Development

Once an evaluation has been thoughtfully performed, you could look to fill in the gaps (“Develop”), that is, those missing goals, characteristics or traits commonly associated with leadership and your institution. This development can occur through training, education, new hires, or by simply communicating your goals better. (See 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell; See also Power of Nice by Ron Shapiro). Also, with regard to those characteristics and traits that you or your institution already possess, play to those strengths and develop concise goals that are congruent.

Development Summary:

  • Develop personal gaps identified by Evaluation
  • Develop institutional gaps identified by Evaluation
  • Develop clear and concise communications regarding institutional goals and traits
  • Continue to develop your strengths

3. Reinforcement

Leadership can become stagnant and ineffective, (i.e., it can lapse). Thus reinforcement of evaluation and development of goals and traits would seem to be essential for the long- term success of any institution. The strongest leaders observed in the RWL Program had a knack (characteristic) for keeping passion tied to a goal. Thus, picking a date, such as every three months, to evaluate institutional goals and having ways of tracking progress and identifying weak leadership traits seems necessary to keep leadership vibrant within an institution.

Reinforcement Summary:

  • Reinforce evaluation (periodic review)
  • Reinforce development (periodic review)
  • Communicate reinforcement

Real World Calendar

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About the Program

The Real World Leaders - Real World Students Program is a leadership program created in partnership with the University of Kentucky that enables students to work at different work sites across America and observe a wide variety of leadership skills, traits and characteristics.

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