This is a draft of the framing piece for the Leadership for a New Era (LNE) collaborative research initiative.
Over the past 50 years our thinking about leadership, whether in communities or board rooms, has been heavily influenced by heroic models of leadership. Leadership for a New Era was launched because we believe this way of thinking about leadership is only one part of the story -- one that does not fully recognize leadership as a process grounded in relationships that are fluid, dynamic, non-directive and non-unilateral.
Through Leadership for a New Era we are deepening our understanding of leadership as a process through which individuals and groups identify and act on behalf of a larger purpose, such as greater equality and the well-being of people and the planet. Traditional approaches to leadership and leadership development assume that training an individual leader with appropriate knowledge and skills will result in an increase of organizational capacity which will in turn lead to better community results. To support the kind of leadership that results in transformational changes, we need to focus on how individuals and groups are supported in connecting, organizing, systems thinking, bridging, and learning as a dynamic leadership process that mobilizes action on the scale needed to address the inequities and injustices we care deeply about.
Connecting authentically with openness and humility lays the foundation for developing a shared sense of purpose out of which collective action grows.
Organizing is the process by which a group with a shared sense of purpose develops and implements strategies for achieving its goals. Systems Thinking is the process through which we utilize a systems analysis to observe and understand the structural systems that perpetuate disparities and inequities. Bridging is a process of uncovering shared concerns, frustrations, hopes and goals across differences in culture and focus of work. Leadership development: As a field we are still learning how to support the leadership process within teams, organizations, communities and networks, while inviting individuals to do the inner work that enables them to contribute their gifts in serving the collective.
Leadership development results: The majority of leadership development programs hold themselves accountable for individual level results. The Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program strives to create and maintain an environment in which you will not only increase your understanding of leadership and leaders, but demonstrate enhanced conceptual knowledge and track your own leadership development.
You will explore many elements of the nature and importance of leadership by examining, for example, historical data, research findings and varied interdisciplinary academic concepts within the study of leadership (metacognition from psychology, for example).
You will learn how a leader can inspire and maintain followers through exploration of case studies (applied research) from the past and present, online discussion of questions and activities (and assignments), and your work on your Leadership Development Portfolio (LDP).
We traditionally think of leadership as the skills, qualities and behavior of an individual who exerts influence over others to take action or achieves a goal using their position and authority. Understanding leadership as a process requires us to think very differently about how change occurs and how we work with others. Understanding leadership as a shared, relational process is fundamental to many cultures even though the dominant model of leadership in the U.S.

In other words, we will not reach the scale of change we seek, developing one leader at a time.
This involves connecting first with oneself to clarify one’s intention, values, beliefs, and worldview, and then and asking questions that help individuals make meaning of their individual experience and understand each other better.
By looking at the complex interactions among multiple factors influencing the system we begin to identify leverage points that we can experiment with by prototyping interventions in the system.
As we recognize interdependence and find connections in our efforts we uncover and unleash new opportunities to link and leverage our work.
It is the means we can use to hold ourselves collectively accountable for how we are doing and mobilizing to do better, individually and as groups. Many individuals have noted the value of these programs in helping them develop critical skills that make them more effective leaders in their organizations or as political leaders who have increased understanding of how to assess a political landscape or advocate for policy change. The focus of leadership as a process is not who (which individuals to recruit into a program) but on how to strengthen the capacity of organizations, networks and communities to engage in the leadership process.
Mich Kabay, Program Director for the Master of Science in Information Assurance program, and noted expert in information security, will host his annual InfoSec Year in Review on June 4-5 in Marina del Rey, California. Peter Stephenson, expert in digital forensics and computer investigations, and Associate Program Director for the Master of Science in Information Assurance program, will host A Master Class in End-to-End-Digital Investigation on May 31, in Denver, Colorado.
The curriculum is built around three primary learning areas which build upon each other as outlined in the diagram below.
These questions are answered through the study of leadership (leadership styles — transformational or transactional leadership, for example) and the study of leaders throughout history (and the present day). It is an evaluative narrative that serves as both an academic "tool box" and a reflective narrative. We will never mobilize leadership at the scale needed for significant progress on social justice or any other complex issue without expanding our thinking about what leadership is, how it works and how we can support it.
Our attachment to this leader development model prevents us from recognizing that often, leadership development that focuses on teams, organizations, communities, and networks is better positioned to accomplish systems and social change. By finding common purpose and expanding our networks we achieve new scale and reach creating the conditions for transformative change.
Reflection requires that individuals and groups understand themselves, inquire into the level of awareness, the identities and motives they bring to the work, and the personal work required to serve the collective purpose of the team, organization, community or network. Over the past 10 years many leadership programs have recognized the importance of cultivating systems thinking and a stronger capacity for collaboration. Examples of programs developing the capacity of communities to engage in leadership are Leadership in Action, Kellogg Leadership for Community Change.

Few programs design their programs to be accountable for community and systems level results. Some of this could be a lack of leadership, in some cases a lack of impetus and in other cases, a lack of training. Self-evaluation will also provide additional insight as you reflect on the the behaviors, attitudes, attributes and character of a variety of leaders. The outcome of each seminar will be visible in the evaluative content of your portfolio which will show the process of internalizing the course content as you progress through each seminar. Intuitively many of us have experienced the power of the collective in the creativity and productivity of teams, in sports or in music, and yet we have not brought this experience to our leadership thinking and at some cost! Building relationships that foster trust and mutual understanding enables groups to work through conflicts and build shared commitment and accountability.
Through reflection, we continue to clarify and evolve our individual and collective purpose, more fully embody our values and renew our commitments. Cultivating these capacities have opened up greater possibilities for having an impact on communities and systems. Having the intention to achieve change at greater degrees of scale can transform how leadership is developed.
You will reflect upon your own capacity to lead (self-examination, reflection and comparison) as well. We can reach more people and tackle bigger problems by investing our time and resources in relational leadership processes that support teams, organizations, communities and networks to take collective action.
A few programs have taken a more integral view by emphasizing the inner shifts (including a deep sense of connectedness with the whole) that are critical for embodying relational and systemic change.
You can apply the seminar theory, ideas and questions in a concrete framework and benefit from the Instructor's comments as they provide an ongoing, one-on-one, dynamic, interactive and challenging narrative relating course content to your role at work. In Baltimore, they co designed a program that engaged a diverse cross section of community folks to significantly increase the number of children who enter school ready to learn. By learning to coordinate and align their efforts across different parts of the system that produces school readiness, significant improvements were brought about in the course of one year.

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