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Key Findings from a U.S. National Survey About Leadership

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Key Findings from a U.S. National Survey About Leadership

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This blog is provided by Lynn Shollen and Elizabeth Gagnon of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. It is a description of the top line findings of a survey about leadership that they conducted last year. You can read much more about the project on their website. The blog is a companion to the interview with Sam Wilson and Lynn Shollen that aired as part of the 12-week International Leadership Association Interview Series on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. The interview aired on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 titled Research Findings on Attitudes About Leadership.

 

A new, annual national survey of attitudes about leadership in the United States uncovered widespread and increasing dissatisfaction with U.S. leaders, along with skepticism about the preparedness of younger generations to lead into the future.

Key findings from our scientific online survey of more than 1,800 people include:

  • Only 28 percent of those surveyed believe leaders in the U.S. are effective
  • Leaders are seen as less effective now than compared to 20 years ago (60 percent)
  • Leaders are regarded as too removed from the experiences of ordinary people (74 percent)
  • Many believe it is too risky in today’s social climate to be a leader (46 percent)
  • Many believe that unless they are at the top of an organization, they may not be able to be influential even if they try to lead, because leaders at the top are so powerful (49 percent)
  • Younger generations are not widely seen as being equipped to lead (57 percent)

These results are discouraging because we know that effective leadership is crucial if we’re to thrive socially, politically and economically. We do detect a few reasons for optimism, but overall, our findings have to be worrisome for our country’s leaders, for leadership educators and for all who care about the quality of leadership now and into the future.

The 1,849 respondents comprise a nationally representative sample based on gender, ethnicity, age, income and other factors. They were asked to think broadly of leaders and leadership rather than focusing on specific leaders or situations. We are not seeking opinions about Donald Trump or Bill Gates. The survey isn’t intended to examine perceptions of how specific leaders are performing, rather how people view the effectiveness of leaders and leadership generally within the U.S.

The survey defined leadership as the process of influencing people toward achieving a common goal, and leaders were defined as people who achieve that goal. Regardless of whether you have a formal title, you can be a leader. Leadership happens everywhere, not just in the most obvious places, such as government or business.

But in many places that leadership happens, it is seen as lacking. Fewer than 25 percent of the respondents say leaders in education, religion, national politics or the environment are effective.

Even as they criticize current leaders, survey participants say they are reluctant to step forward. Only 15 percent of the respondents claim they are involved in leading their community (although they may indeed be leading and not identifying their contributions as leadership). Further, it appears they don’t have high hopes for future generations. Nearly 60 percent of the respondents say younger Americans are not ready to lead and only 33 percent voiced confidence that young people will be able to steer the nation through the challenges ahead.

There is another cause for concern. When the morality of the leader is considered, half (50 percent) claim it is more important that a leader works for major issues that align with those the respondent supports than whether the leader adheres to high moral standards. Thus, half of the sample does not value leaders upholding morality as much as leaders supporting particular issues and agendas.

In terms of what respondents are looking for in leaders, 74 percent believe that the best leaders understand the experiences of ordinary people. About two-thirds believe leaders at the national and local levels should create an environment that supports diversity, considers perspectives of diverse people when making decisions and seeks to take care of the natural environment.

About half also say they’re comfortable with a leader who is different than them in gender/sex (56 percent), race/ethnicity (56 percent), sexual orientation (49 percent) or income level (48 percent). Fewer say the same about religious beliefs (43 percent). Political differences are a bigger sticking point, as only 28 percent say they are comfortable with a leader who holds opposing views, and only 34 percent would follow such a leader.

Participants were also asked where they went for information about leaders and how reliable those sources are for evaluating leaders. Television is the number one source sought for information (55 percent), trailed by non-social media online sources (44 percent). Half (50 percent) of respondents claim that social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) does not provide them with adequate resources to make accurate evaluations of public leaders, whereas, just over half (53 percent) claim that traditional media (e.g., newspaper, television, radio) does provide them with adequate resources.

The results of the survey were first discussed at the 2019 annual conference of the International Leadership Association in Ottawa, Canada. The researchers received helpful feedback there and plan to delve into the nuances of the data by examining the results by demographics such as gender/sex, race/ethnicity, geographic location, religious beliefs, political affiliation, sexual orientation and income level. These results will be released as they become available. The survey will be conducted annually to track trends and to add questions relevant to contemporary issues.

 

For additional survey results and information, please visit www.cnu.edu/las or contact the researchers at ldsp-survey@cnu.edu

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Authors

Dr. Lynn Shollen is Associate Professor of Leadership Studies and Department Chair in the Department of Leadership and American Studies at Christopher Newport University. She earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy and Administration at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include the faculty to administrator transition, identity and perceptions of leadership, leadership identities construction, and teaching about women and leadership. In addition to numerous journal articles, she co-authored the book Faculty Success Through Mentoring: A Guide for Mentors, Mentees, and Leaders.

Dr. Elizabeth Gagnon earned her PhD at Old Dominion University. She is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Leadership and American Studies at Christopher Newport University. She teaches courses in civic engagement, social entrepreneurship, leadership theory and ethics and values in leadership. Journals publishing her research articles include the International Journal of Leadership Studies and the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement.

 

The Australian Leadership Index: A New Measure of Leadership for the Greater Good in the Public, Private and Plural Sectors

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The Australian Leadership Index: A New Measure of Leadership for the Greater Good in the Public, Private and Plural Sectors

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is provided by Sam Wilson, co-creator of the Australian Leadership Index. It is a companion to the interview with him and Lynn Shollen that aired as part of the 12-week International Leadership Association Interview Series on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. The interview aired on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 titled Research Findings on Attitudes About Leadership.

 

Against a backdrop of unethical conduct and irresponsible leadership in our organizations and distrust of institutions in the public, private and plural sectors, there is a pervasive sense in the community that we are not well served by authorities and the institutions that they lead. As a result, there is a yearning for leadership that serves, and is seen to serve, the greater good.

However, what is the greater good? What is leadership for the greater good? What are the collective responsibilities of those who collectively manage, govern and lead the organizations and institutions in the public, private and plural sectors, and what should they be, in order to show leadership for the greater good?

Obviously, these questions are not especially new to scholars of leadership, as evidenced by the attention given to the ideas of social responsibility and shared value, in the domain of business leadership, and integrative leadership and public value, in the domain of public leadership.

It is, however, less clear what the community thinks about the notions of the greater good and leadership for the greater good. It is not obvious whether community expectations of leadership for the greater good are invariant across the public, private and plural sectors, or whether public opinion is alive to and reflective of the different purposes, goals and functions of these sectors.

Notwithstanding the great difficulty of defining the greater good, in general, and leadership for the greater good, in particular, it behoves us to think and talk about these concepts and practices in the public domain as clearly as we possibly can if we are to imagine, practice and sustain the leadership and followership needed to ensure the long-term welfare and well-being of the general population.

How should we think about the greater good?

The concept of the ‘greater good’, and its synonyms the ‘public good’ and ‘common good’, as well as related ideas like ‘public value’, has the quality of being familiar and commonplace. And yet, these concepts are difficult to articulate in a precise or comprehensive way.

Moreover, as observed by the philosopher Hans Sluga, the diverse conceptions of the good—such as justice, happiness, security—and the variety of tribal, local, national and global communities for which the ‘good’ is sought militates against the identification of a single, determinate good.

However, a promising candidate for the greater good, apt in the context of our grand challenges of unsustainability and diminished human and nonhuman flourishing, is the well-being of the whole.

Understood in this way, the greater good is less about justice or happiness or security and more a gestalt or umbrella term for a number of interlocking concepts pertaining to the conditions that undergird and sustain the survival and flourishing of human and nonhuman life.

To render these ideas less abstract and more actionable, it is helpful to frame the greater good, as well as the conditions and social actions that sustain it, in terms of value creation—specifically, the types of value that are created, the ways in which value are created, and for whom value is created.

Understood in this way, the value-relevant outcomes of institutional behavior enable inferences to be made about their apparent concern for the greater good, as well as about the concern for and practice of leadership for the greater good by those collectively responsible for the management, governance and leadership of these institutions.

The Australian Leadership Index

This construal and operationalization of leadership for the greater good underpins the Australian Leadership Index, which is a new measure of community beliefs about leadership for the greater good in the public, private and plural sectors.

Grounded in community and expert conceptions of the greater good and leadership for the greater good, and drawing on scholarly research into ethical, responsible and integrative leadership, as well as research into public value, the ALI offers a new model of leadership for the greater good that is germane to institutions in the public, private and plural sectors.

From a community perspective, leadership for the greater good occurs when these institutions create social, environmental and economic value for the people they serve and the wider community in a manner that is transparent, accountable and ethical.

The purpose of the Australian Leadership Index is threefold. First, it is to measure community perceptions of the state of leadership for the greater good across different sectors and institutions. Second, it is to measure community expectations of the practice of leadership for the greater good by these sectors and institutions. Third, it is to provide insight into what different types of institutions should do in order to improve their practice of leadership for the greater good.

The Australian Leadership Index provides powerful new insights into community beliefs about leadership and reveals what leaders in the public, private and plural sector institutions can do to show leadership for the greater good.

By making all our results freely available via an innovative, highly interactive data portal (www.australianleadershipindex.org), the Australian Leadership Index makes an important contribution to community dialogue about the leadership we need for the future we want.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

 

Sam Wilson is a social psychologist whose research spans studies of the nature and drivers of voluntary humanitarian behaviour to national studies of community beliefs about leadership for the greater good in the public, private and plural sectors. He is Co-Creator of the Australian Leadership Index, sectors, Co-Director of the Thriving in Society 4.0 research program of the Social Innovation Research Institute, and Deputy Director of the Social Psychology of Innovation Research Group at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.

Photo by Catarina Sousa

Accelerating Competitive Advantage with AI: How Organisations are Moving from Experimentation to Business Impact

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Accelerating Competitive Advantage with AI: How Organisations are Moving from Experimentation to Business Impact

This blog is provided by Dr. Jennifer Barth and her team, as a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview, Accelerating Competitive Advantage with Artificial Intelligence aired on 1/7/20.

Research Overview

We collaborated with Microsoft for the third year running during summer 2019, to explore the current state of AI across four specific industries, retail, manufacturing, health and financial services within the UK. We analysed how organisations within these sectors can implement AI in an ethical, cost effective and optimal way.

With rapid advancements in AI, our research answers questions around ethics, responsible innovation and the future impact of AI on our industry sectors and workforces. We gathered practical advice on how organisations can create robust and scalable AI investments.

Key Research Findings

  • 56% of organisations in the UK are using AI enabled solutions with notable advances in use of machine learning and analytics
  • Organisations already using AI at scale are performing an average of 11.5% better than those who are not – up from 5% just one year ago
  • Last year 51% of organisations did not have an AI strategy at all, a number which has decreased to 37% of organisations this year.
  • 38% of business leaders want to be leaders in AI innovation – a figure that has more than doubled since last year

Report Findings

How exactly can UK organisations scale their use of AI and secure a competitive edge while, at the same time, doing so in a way that is ethical, responsible and in line with the needs of their employees, partners and customers? Our research explores three key themes that allow organisations/leaders to truly accelerate their competitive advantage through AI enabled solutions.

  1. Moving from Experimentation to Implementation

Of all the business leaders we surveyed, only 8% classified their organisation as Advanced AI users while nearly half (48%) currently remain in the experimentation phase. Thus, over half of all British businesses using AI don’t seem to have an AI strategy at all, mainly because they lack a clear understanding about what AI can do for their business. As the people tasked with setting an organisation’s strategic direction, leaders need to quickly ascertain exactly what role AI can and should play within their organisation and provide adequate training and resources for successful AI implementation. Currently, only 21% of leaders have completed training in how they can use AI in their jobs, and only 21% are sure they can meet staffing needs related to skill changes caused by AI. Overcoming these obstacles will be crucial in enabling UK organisations to implement AI quickly and responsibly across their organisations to stay relevant in the future.

Luckily, advanced AI-organisations recognise this as those that are successfully employing the technology at an organisational level, rather than just a local or departmental one, are much more adept at evaluating the business benefits of AI investments and ensuring they have a clear objective at the outset. They are also more agile in how they operate than those that are experimenting with AI, meaning they are better equipped to respond to customer and employee needs, changes in technologies, or market conditions

  1. Create a Culture of Participation

Ensuring workers have the tools to augment their job roles with AI is critical – The change is as much about culture as it is about technology. It involves a move away from a situation in which only certain people or business functions have the tools to experiment with AI, to a democracy – where everyone has the building blocks to integrate AI into their working day and actively contribute to the development of new solutions, regardless of where they sit in the organisation

Building out your culture to equip your people will be the best competitive asset you have. Our research found AI-advanced businesses lead to stronger democratic practices, as organisations that are more advanced in their use of AI are more likely to:

  • Ensure AI is used responsibly
  • Understand and develop the skills and mindset needed to work with AI
  • Create and implement workforce diversity plans
  1. Make AI work for everyone

By establishing a clear set of developmental standards and operating principles to ensure the technology is deployed ethically, with attention to bias and in a way that actively promotes diversity and inclusion. Our research shows us that firms advanced in AI are better at tackling overall bias, as 77% of advanced organisations say they have the capability to identify bias in their organisation when it is observed (58% experimenting).

Two of the most important criteria here are the ability to accurately identify all ethical issues as they arise and understanding how to respond when they do. Crucially, the more advanced an organisation is in its AI-led digital transformation, the more likely it is to have established the operational logistics to deliver against an ethical criteria.

Take Away: Tips for Scaling AI successfully

  • Treat it as a business change programme – this needs to be something the entire organisation is involved and invested in
  • Make sure everyone is supported in knowing how the technology works – an understands how they can use AI to be more effective in their role
  • Embed a culture of integrity and ethical behaviour – it’s up to leaders to communicate internally and establish a framework for making ethical decisions – companies advanced in their AI implementation know how to operationalise solutions to these problems

Research Methodology

Our research used a mixed-method approach to analyse the current state of AI within the UK in the spring and summer of 2019. Including an in-depth literature review of academic, industry and media sources, subject matter expert interviews and case studies across a variety of academics, professionals and organisations, a social experiment on augmentation. The research also included a survey of 1000 leaders and 4000 employees in organisations with over 500 employees with focus on four industries (finance, retail, manufacturing, and healthcare). From these sources, we developed a set of dimensions as a lens through which to consider the opportunities for AI in the UK today.

More Information

To find out more about this research, click here.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Dr Jennifer Barth is an experienced ethnographer and social researcher, with a PHD from the University of Oxford. Her work is informed by empirical research on the intersections of emerging technologies and socioeconomic change. She provides companies with thought leadership and media engagement opportunities on global issues impacting and shaping our current and future socio-cultural lives.

Her current research focuses on the human impact of artificial intelligence (AI) through fieldwork experiments with IBM Watson and other providers, leading Digital Transformation and AI implementation research for Microsoft, Reinventing Loyalty with Adobe, and more. She is skilled at research design, qualitative research and analysis, quantitative analysis, new methods using emerging technologies and working with people to bring to life the stories behind numbers.

Photo by D1_TheOne

Invisible Disabilities

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Invisible Disabilities

One of the most heart breaking life altering events is discovering your child has been diagnosed for an incurable disease or disability. Then the fear, panic and questions set in. As a parent your world falls apart. How did this happen? What did I do wrong? What can I do now? Who do I go to for help? Will my child need a full time care taker? I will not put my child in a home! Will he/she be able to attend school? What kind of school? Will he/she be able to live an independent life? How will my child survive after I die?

Some disabilities are obvious. People can see a child in a wheel chair, spinal bifida or cerebral palsy and maybe even understand what a family is going through. But what able the invisible disabilities.

Neurodevelopment disorders like autism or ADHC. The outward signs are not obvious. We have all seen people react as if a child with these disorders is simply unruly, or the parents cannot control their child. These reactions add to the already overwhelming stress for these families.

The latest estimate of autism is affects—the updated incident report for ASD is 1:59 children in the US—is over 30% percent from the 1 in 88 rate reported in 2008, and more than double the 1 in 150 rate in 2000.

According to the parent reports, 6.4 million children (11% of this age group 4–17 years) have been diagnosed with ADHD, and rates are increasing an average of approximately 5% per year since 2003.

The numbers are staggering, but there is hope coming out of the research, testing and development at University of California Davis’ MIND Institute.

The UC Davis MIND Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) is a collaborative international research center, committed to the awareness, understanding, prevention, and treatment of the challenges associated with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

In 1998, families of children with autism helped found the UC Davis MIND Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders). They envisioned experts from every discipline related to brain development working together toward one goal: finding and developing treatments to reduce the challenges and improve the quality of life for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families.

On Tuesday September 3rd, I will interview three of the best minds in neurological disorder research. Join me September 3rd at 8:00 a.m. PST on https://voiceamerica.com/show/3902/life-altering-events

Dr. Leonard Abbeduto,the Director, UC Davis MIND Institute and Tsakopoulos-Vismara Endowed Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine.

Dr. Julie Schweitzer Director, Attention, Impulsivity, Regulation (AIR)/ADHD Program UC Davis MIND Institute; CoCenter Mentoring Director of the MIND Institute;

Dr. Judy Van de Water,  Dr. Van de Water’s laboratory pursues research programs pertaining to autoimmune and clinical immune-based disorders including the biological aspects of autism spectrum disorders. This includes understanding the role of the maternal immune system during pregnancy in  healthy and altered neurodevelopment.

Dr. Leonard Abbeduto.jpgDr. Julie Schweitzer 2.JPGDr. July Van de Water.jpg

Improve Your Functioning In Stressful Situations: A Proven Strategy By Dr. Suzanne B. Phillips

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Improve Your Functioning In Stressful Situations:  A Proven Strategy By Dr. Suzanne B. Phillips

This blog recognizes that stress reduces our performance be it in academics, sports, work goals,the arts, etc. It discusses a proven strategy for improving functioning in stressful situations,”Cognitive Reappraisal”-  defining the situation from a new perspective. Readers will be interested in the surprising effectiveness of this strategy across research studies.

More Here!

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