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The Leadership Voyage. Linda Gojak President, NCSM “If a man knows not what harbor he seeks, any wind is the right wind” Seneca. Sailing…. Leadership…. the skillful art of controlling the motion of a sailing ship or sailboat, across a body of water.

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the leadership voyage

The Leadership Voyage

Linda Gojak

President, NCSM




the skillful art of controlling the motion of a sailing ship or sailboat, across a body of water.

the skill of influencing people to work enthusiastically toward goals identified as being for the common good.

setting the course
Setting the Course
  • Have a purpose or mission:
    • How will you benefit the students?
  • Have identified values:
    • What do you believe about effective mathematics education?
    • What do you believe about the way students learn mathematics?
  • Have measurable goals:
    • What specific steps will you take to reach your mission?
    • How will you know when you are there?
finding your compass

Finding Your Compass

Think of someone who has greatly influenced your life.

What qualities of character does this person have?

Honest, trustworthy
  • Good role model
  • Caring
  • Committed
  • Good listener
  • Respectful
  • Positive, enthusiastic
  • Passionate
Are we born with these

qualities or are they learned


To some degree we have all

of them -- some more so

than others. We must

practice these qualities in

ourselves if we are to be

effective leaders.

Honest, trustworthy
  • Good role model
  • Caring
  • Committed
  • Good listener
  • Respectful
  • Positive, enthusiastic
  • Passionate
two dynamics in working with people and getting things done
Two dynamics in working with people and getting things done

You cannot focus on one at the expense of the other

power vs authority
Power vs. Authority
  • Power - ability to force or coerce someone to do your will because of your position of might
  • Authority -- getting people to willingly do your will because of your personal influence
levels of change
Levels of Change
  • Knowledge
    • Providing information
  • Attitude
    • How people feel about that knowledge
  • Behavior
    • How people act about making the change
  • Organizational
    • Attempting to influence the knowledge, attitude and behavior of multiple people
why change is so difficult
Why Change Is So Difficult
  • People feel awkward when confronted by change
    • Tell them what to expect
  • People feel alone -- even if everyone else is going through the same change
    • Structure activities and create involvement
    • Encourage individuals to share ideas
why change is so difficult13
Why Change Is So Difficult

People will think first about what they have to

give up.

  • Don’t try to sell the benefits of the change effort initially
  • Let people mourn their perceived losses
  • Listen

People will think they can only handle so much

change at once.

  • Set priorities on which changes to make
  • 10% per year is realistic for most people
why change is so difficult14
Why Change Is So Difficult

People will be concerned they don’t have

enough resources (time, money, skills) to

implement the change

  • Encourage creative problem solving
  • Work with those who control the resources

People are at different levels of readiness

  • Recognize that some people are risk takers and others will take longer to feel secure
  • Acknowledge the feelings and find ways to support those who are more reluctant to change
why change is so difficult15
Why Change Is So Difficult

If “pressure” is taken off, people will

revert to old behaviors

  • Keep people focused on maintaining the

change and managing the journey

  • Work with other leaders to keep the

mission in front of people

  • Focus on goals
  • Recognize and celebrate successes
The key to leadership is to

accomplish the task while

building relationships.

steps to purposeful leadership
Steps to Purposeful Leadership
  • Diagnose the development level of each person you are leading
developmental levels
Developmental Levels

Enthusiastic Beginners:

  • High level of commitment,

low level of confidence

  • Inexperience
developmental levels19
Developmental Levels

Disillusioned Learners

  • Some experience and competence
  • Reduced level of commitment and enthusiasm due to some failure during the learning process or realization that the task is more difficult they they thought
developmental levels20
Developmental Levels

Capable but Cautious

  • Moderate to high level of competence
  • May have lost some enthusiasm or confidence
  • Cautious in applying the change on their own
developmental levels21
Developmental Levels

Peak Performers

  • Self reliant achievers
  • Highly competent and highly committed to change
steps to purposeful leadership22
Steps to Purposeful Leadership
  • Flexibility in Leadership Style

Directive Leadership:

Telling people

  • what to do,
  • when to do it
  • where to do it
  • how to do it

Supportive Leadership:

  • Listen
  • Encourage
  • Praise progress,
  • Facilitate interactions
  • Involve people in decision making
four leadership styles
Four Leadership Styles
  • Directing:
    • provide specific directions about roles
    • track performance in order to provide frequent feedback on results
    • Best used with enthusiastic beginners
    • High direction, high support -- leader decides
four leadership styles26
Four Leadership Styles
  • Coaching:
      • explain why
      • solicit suggestions
      • praise progress that is approximately correct
      • continue to direct task accomplishment
    • Best used with “disillusioned learners”
    • High direction, high support (let’s talk and decide or leader decides)
four leadership styles27
Four Leadership Styles
  • Supporting:
      • facilitate interaction with others,
      • listen to people, draw them out,
      • encourage and support
      • provide little direction

Best used with capable

but cautious performers

High support/low direction

(let’s talk and you decide)

four leadership styles28
Four Leadership Styles
  • Delegating:
    • facilitate interaction with others
    • listen to people and draw them out
    • encourage and support
    • provide little direction

Best used with peak performers and self reliant achievers

Low direction/low support

(you decide)


Situational Leadership



– Supportive Behavior +



– Directive Behavior +

steps to purposeful leadership30
Steps to Purposeful Leadership

3. Partnering for Performance

partnering for performance
Partnering for Performance
  • Determine with people how to work together in a way that they can accomplish their goals
  • Follow through on any agreements
  • Determine the right leadership for the right developmental level.
building relationships
Building Relationships
  • Trust -- letting go
  • Respect -- feelings must align with actions
  • Focus on the needs of others
the journey
The Journey

If you do not change

your direction, you will

end up exactly where

you are headed.

journey to servant leadership
Journey to Servant Leadership



Service and Sacrifice



      • aligning our intentions with our actions;
      • making choices
  • Love
      • how we behave toward others , rather than how we feel about others
love behavior and leadership
Patience showing self control

Kindness giving attention, appreciation and


Humility being authentic, without arrogance

Respectfulness treating all others as important

Selflessness meeting the needs of others

Forgiveness giving up resentment when wronged

Honesty being free from deception

Commitment sticking to your choices

Love (behavior) and Leadership
A leader of authority is called

upon to make many choices

and sacrifices.

When we choose to extend

ourselves by serving others, we

will build influence.

As we continue on the journey of leadership in order to become a servant leader, we may have to adjust our course by even a few degrees.

A few degrees may not make a big difference on a short journey, but for the long journey of life, it may put you in a completely different place.


"A leader takes people where they want to go.

A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”

Rosalynn Carter


The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it....

Chinese Proverb


To lead people, walk beside them ...

As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.

The next best, the people honor and praise.

The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate ...

When the best leader's work is done the people say, 'We did it ourselves!’



Remember…The definition of insanity is continuing to do what you have always done and hoping for different results.

lessons from the geese

Lessons from the Geese

Dr Robert McNeish


As each bird flaps its wings,

it creates uplift

for the following bird.

By flying in a “V” formation,

the whole flock adds

71% greater flying range

than if the birds flew alone.



People who share a common direction

and sense of community can get where

they are going quicker and easier

because they are traveling on the

thrust of one another.


Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag

and added resistance

of trying to fly alone,

and quickly gets back into formation

to take advantage of the lifting power

of the bird immediately in front.



If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation

with those who are headed

where we want to go,

and we will be willing

to accept their help

as well as give ours to others.


When the lead goose gets tired,

it rotates back into formation

and another goose flies

at the point position.



It pays to take turns doing the hard

tasks and sharing leadership.

With people as well as geese,

we are interdependent on each other.


The geese in formation

honk from behind

to encourage those in front

to keep up their speed.



We need to make sure

that our

honking from behind

is encouraging.


When a goose gets sick or wounded,

or it is shot down,

two geese drop out of formation

and follow it down to help protect it.

They stay with it until it is able

to fly again or dies.

Then they launch out on their own with another formation

or catch up with their flock.



If we have as much sense as geese, we, too, will stand by each other

in difficult times,

as well as when we are strong.



  • Learn publicly


Create professional community



  • Enable others to collaborate and lead


Encourage continuous

growth in all



  • Learn publicly
  • Create professional community
  • Enable others to collaborate and lead
  • Encourage continuous growth in all
  • Dr Robert McNeish
NCSM: Leadership in Mathematics Education

Powerpoint slides:

lgojak @

The Servant, A simple story about the True Essence of Leadership by James C. Hunter

The Servant Leader by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges