In June 2013, a gathering of leaders concerned with leadership capacity in the fields of education, community development, state government and the nonprofit sector gathered to identify map current initiatives and craft an idealized future, where leadership development is available to all Vermonters’ at each stage of their lives. This background paper summarizes the June Leadership Vermont event and will be discussed in more detail. In Vermont, we are blessed with many, many opportunities to learn and practice leadership development at all stages of human development. The attendees at the June 2013 Leadership Vermont event share the desire to coordinate these activities in order to better promote individual effectiveness and community resiliency. Several metaphors are in place for thinking about a systems based approach to leadership development in Vermont.
Because, at its core, leadership development is about trust–relationships between people who inspire each other to reach farther than we would on our own.
Effective leadership can be cultivated in formal and informal settings at all stages of our lives and within every community.
Agent of Community Change: Leadership is intertwined with change – which happens through dialogue which brings out common desires and weaves them into a shared vision.
Inclusive: The leader believes that strength lies in diversity and is eager to open the doors for others to solve problems, learn for themselves, and make mistakes safely. Collaborative: In so doing, the leader draws out the best from others, holds space for people to learn, says yes to their ideas, provides skills for self-advocacy and helps others to actualize.
Comfort at the Margins: While many people are uncomfortable with uncertainty, a leader can deal with ambiguity and is willing to risk their comfort and certainty for a greater outcome. Some additional quality of leadership: Confidence, Courage, Responsibility, Communication and Awareness.
It is mostly the case that leaders exist outside the formal titles of leadership in all corners of our state. School Aged Children – Pre-K – High School: Leadership is developed primarily through the influence of parents, through teachers, coaches and extra-curricular activities and through peers.
Young Adults: These young citizens are new to the workforce and are building their professional and service networks.
Mid-Careerists: As this age reaches key leadership positions and contemplates retirement, it is important to promote mentorship opportunities, succession planning (cultivating leadership at all levels of their organizations) and informal ways to transfer knowledge and leadership skills. Retirees: Vermont’s retirees have a great deal of expertise to offer and a desire to make a difference. New Residents to the state: How do we invite “new comers” into leadership opportunities, assess their skills, and make the most of the experience they are bringing into our communities?
Research: We need to start by developing clear understanding about what promotes, advances and sustains leadership development. Develop Statewide Initiative: From a Leadership Literacy Initiative to a Vermont Leadership Task Force, there is an interest in a shared framework to better develop leadership capacity in the state. To determine our progress toward the 2018 vision for Leadership Vermont, we can look at a variety of economic, civic, community health indicators that show that the Vermont economy is booming, citizenship is thriving, the next generation of leaders lives here. It will be helpful to create integrative frameworks that help make sense of the complexity.
I am the new Director of the Master’s of Science in Leadership program at Norwich University. Common Good Vermont is the only statewide organization in Vermont dedicated to uniting and strengthening all of the mission-driven organizations that serve the Green Mountain State. Common Good Vermont offers unique underwriting opportunities to reach a highly-targeted group of individuals and organizations.
Leadership formation steps back from the grandiosity and the hubris of the Messiah discourse, which aims at the transformation of organisations and followers. This also reminded me of the amazing Go Dundee Learning Journey I was part of a few Saturday’s ago.
If you are interested in some of the articles or posts and want to know more about my work in Lifetree click here.
This article originally appeared in the 2014 Intercultural Link news magazine’s first issue, fifth volume.
It is in the nature of our work for people connected with AFS to be in touch with other cultures, most directly through their work with exchange students or interacting with volunteers and staff from within a network of over 60 countries.
GLOBE, or the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness International Study, attempted to clarify the following issue: How is culture related to societal, organizational, and leader effectiveness? Started in 1994, this landmark study was completed over the course of 11 years and involved 170 researchers worldwide.


Specifically, GLOBE investigated how certain characteristics of outstanding leaders are related to national cultures; it also looked at which aspects of leadership are culturally dependent, or universally desirable. The study held the premise that leader effectiveness is contextual, or embedded in societal and organizational norms, values, and beliefs: For a leader to be effective, she or he needs to embody the implicit idea of what leaders look, act, and behave like, an idea that is rooted in people’s early experiences with leaders and shaped by culture and upbringing. This table shows the six universal leadership styles, presented from most to least desired. Further analysis showed that leader characteristics such as ambition, enthusiasm, or formality are valued very differently around the world.
If we don’t take the GLOBE findings as a definite explanation of all intercultural leadership styles, but rather as a roadmap of possibilities, we can use this study to help us work more effectively with members of other cultures. AFS Intercultural Programs is pleased to announce the new issue of AFS Intercultural Link News magazine, first in 2014 and volume 5.
This issue of the news magazine looks at the value of intercultural learning in the workplace.
The AFS Intercultural Link News Magazine is the quarterly magazine on intercultural learning in the AFS network. Ten tips for the intercultural leader: Ten quick tips on intercultural leadership from a business perspective.
List of resources on Global Leadership from the Global Leadership Advancement Center in San Jose State University, California. Distance program at the International Institute for Global Leadership: self-directed and based on readings by level and written assignments. GNC offers a wide range of global projects, such as providing sanitation and clean water, shelter, education and doing many more important works to improve vulnerable populations around the world.
For those of you in education, they also have initiatives for you to use in your classroom, including team building exercises and curriculum to develop intercultural competency.
If you are a youth interested in global causes, this is an organization you might want to explore! International opportunities for interculturally-minded youth to get involved and collaborate with each other are becoming more and more accessible. This year’s conference took place in Moscow, Russia on the 18th of August, and was held at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Tom McLeod, an AFS returnee (Australia 2000-2001) and current Intern at the AFS Russia office in Moscow, along with Nonna Kovrizhnykh, Partner Director of AFS Russia, and Organisational Development Coordinator Natalia Zakharova facilitated a session on Intercultural Dialogue and Tolerance. AFS Intercultural Link BlogThe AFS Intercultural Link Blog is a space for sharing ideas, articles, materials, videos and recommendations related to Intercultural Learning, as well as the digital version of the AFS Intercultural Link Newsletter. We share an ideal: to live in a state where all Vermonter’s enjoy a healthy and productive life, able to contribute to the common good.
But many of these formal and informal initiatives operate in isolation of each other, making it difficult to leverage the collective effort in order to have a greater impact on the well-being of the state. At all stages of life, our teachers, coaches, mentors, peers, supervisors, political leaders and neighbors have an impact on the work we do and the common dreams work for. Leadership can be taught in workshops, but mostly is it is absorbed through mentors, coaches, peers and practice. The leader works well as part of a team, and guides everyone to do their best—even if they don’t want to be a leader too. Parents have an important role to play in developing a sense of responsibility and common purpose in their young children. There are many strong student age leadership programs in Vermont from sports leagues and school bands to clubs, school governance, and formal organizations such as the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps and Vermont Youth Orchestra. Programs such as Leadership Champlain cultivate their skills and sense of community participation. The hub includes an easily accessed roster of leadership development opportunities that reflect the unique characteristics of Vermont’s citizens and communities. Proposed ways forward start with mindfulness and focus on building a framework of lifelong leadership development, supported by an infrastructure that leverages today’s formal and informal efforts and creates future opportunities. Assess the resources at our disposal, identify the gaps, determine sources of funding support.
At the core of these indicators is the belief that resilient communities depend upon engaged citizens, social capital and diverse and inclusive social structures. Some consideration must go into the comparisons we make as we evaluate current offerings and future opportunities. Common Good Vermont serves as the “go to” resource for our peers to share resources, gain skills, and build partnerships.


Conducted in 62 societies and involving more than 900 organizations, the project looked at the effects of culture through different variables, such as country, industry, and organization, and explored current practices and values. GLOBE investigated people’s expectations of leaders on a broad scale, and also linked them with cultural values and practices. However, the variation was larger for four other universal leadership styles: Some cultures saw them as good and effective approaches, while other cultures saw them as an obstacle for outstanding leadership.
On the other hand, there are also some leader characteristics that are universally endorsed, such as trustworthiness, justness, honesty, ?and decisiveness. For example, for a leader to be described as decisive in the US, she or he is expected to make quick and approximate decisions.
Feel free to share it with everyone interested in learning more about intercultural education!
The magazine features content shared by AFS organizations around the world and guest writers, including information on trends in intercultural education, interviews with experts in the field and overviews of upcoming and previous conferences.
The concept has been studied from multiple perspectives and one of them, intercultural leadership, is becoming increasingly relevant as organizations become more culturally diverse.
It is one of the three conferences that together make up the AISEC International Congress, an international event to plan projects for social and economic development. The 10-day conference hopes to foster a positive global impact in the way youth collaborate and interact, and aims to build a global perspective for future generations.
We share a simple definition of leadership: citizens of all ages are able to be responsible for themselves and navigate the challenges of daily living.
An important concept, watershed, reflects the shared desire for an inclusive, organic and natural structure that we can grow through the strength of our relationships and human networks.
They understand that trust and relationship are central to achieve something greater than any one person can. They are willing to give up truths that appear to be self-evident (orthodoxies) and will even break rules if they have to.
It is important to note that youth leadership development differs from adult leadership in some key ways. This can also be tied into Personal Learning Plans supported by the Vermont Agency of Education. People who were carrying out significant acts of leadership, often in the face of real personal risk, to make a difference in others lives.
Working with others always requires a certain degree of leadership: whether in a local team or across national borders, AFSers need to effectively work with others in order to achieve their goals. Conversely, in France or Germany, being decisive tends to mean a more deliberate and precise approach to decision making. The organization New Global Citizen (GNC) provides globally conscious youth with opportunities to make their reach go farther and their impact stronger in relation to some of the world’s greatest challenges.
An innovative approach to international organization, the project began in 2011 with a small group of 8 young people who dreamt of a place where all the intercultural-driven youth could collaborate and be in contact. At the Global Youth Voice event, two AFS staff members had the opportunity to take a more active role and act as facilitators for one of the sessions.
We believe that this is a necessary condition for individual well-being and community resiliency.
The leader has the courage to say difficult things and is also willing to admit when they “don’t know”.
And the ethos of the Go Dundee group to nurture some of these leaders by making opportunity to connect with others of like mind, like heart. This motivated us to look into what intercultural skills may be valued or looked down upon in settings where different cultures come into contact, and whether certain leadership styles work across cultures.
The same caution applies to the universally undesirable leader traits, such as sensitivity. A variety of charts can be created to illustrate and begin to tie together the leadership development spectra from several points of view.
Leadership exists all around us, but so much of it present goes unnoticed and it uncherished, at the expense of organisational success and social well-being.
This generation may be less comfortable with the “leader” identity, but they have a great deal of experience with team structured initiatives.



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