Week 4

Current Issues and Trends in Leadership


This is a very interesting week to investigate articles on current trends and issues in recreation, leisure, sport, and tourism. I am not going to discuss political issues in our class but I would be remiss if I did not mention that our field, along with many others, are changing rapidly. This past week I found it difficult to keep up with the dozens of news articles, tweets, Facebook posts, and television program reports. Regardless of where you stand on the issues, change is happening ... and it is happening fast. Interestingly enough, rapid change was cited by more than one of your required readings as one of the biggest challenges for future leaders. This unique period in time is a good point of reflection on how you might act as a leader given the current rapid changes happening in our country.

Moreover, our field can be indirectly affected by new laws directed toward other agencies. The point I want to make in this introduction is that 1) There are many rapid changes happening and 2) we need to be aware of how these changes affect us personally as well as our field. I think good leaders are informed and they plan for the short-term and long-term. Ok now that I have covered the elephant in the room, let's talk about current issues and trends in leadership!

Issues and Trends in Leadership

After reading the literature for this week's class I noticed a few themes that were mentioned by more than one article. These themes are covered in the required reading for this week and I encourage you to locate them in your readings. Not every author uses the same terminology I use below so looking for the similarities will help you connect the themes. The themes are: 1) Increased value in collective leadership, 2) the impact of technology on leadership, 3) Ability to manage rapid and uncertain change, and 4) building purpose, meaning, and personal connections among those one leads. I am going to provide brief details on each of these themes below.

Collective Leadership

The organization that has one leader and he or she is the sole responsible party for guiding the organization is becoming a less popular leadership style. More companies are moving toward "collective leadership" where "multilevel leadership development systems ... ensure steadiness between levels of consistent competencies, concepts, language, and themes." (O'Connor, 2013, p.1). In my professional experience, I have worked for agencies that have had multiple leaders on multiple teams and we all collaborated to get a project completed. Very few times have I had one boss that provided the only directions.

Technology and Leadership

You are taking an online class and there is a pretty good chance we will not meet in person. Our professional relationship is virtual and this is a reality in many organizations. In my current position, I help instructors build their online courses and many of the instructors live in different states and I will most likely not meet them face-to-face. In my previous job, I worked with team members in India, England, The Netherlands, and almost every time zone in the US. We all worked together without ever meeting face-to-face. By taking this online class, you are developing a skill of learning how to do work in the virtual world, which will be helpful when you have to work with a colleague on the other side of the world. Moreover, technology is changing very quickly! I am going to date myself here and say that I did not grow up with cell phones; however, I can't imagine a life without one now. I never had a computer growing up but I know how to build them. Ipads used to be the cool new thing to have and now I walk into park and recreation agencies and they are doing all their reservations on multiple Ipads throughout the building. As a leader you will most likely work with technology, make decisions about what technology to incorporate, and how to maintain and stretch the technological resources you currently have.

Managing Rapid and Uncertain Change

As mentioned in the introduction of this week's module, rapid and uncertain change is happening and good leaders will have to know how to manage within this environment. According to Petrie (2014), conducted interviews where he heard the acronym VUCA, which originated in the armed forces. VCUA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) is a description of the environment that leaders now work in. In the description of "Complex" Petrie describes that there "are few single causes or solutions." We have a tendency to think of complex issues being caused by one variable and these problems have one solution. You can find this type of thinking if you turn on your evening news most nights of 1 cause and 1 solution because it is easier to think this way. Leaders need to examine multiple variables that created issues and the many steps that may need to be taken to solve a problem.

Building Purpose, Meaning, and Personal Connections

Finding meaning in your work is important. Knowing why your work matters and if your are effecting change on the world around you keeps you going day after day. For example, I believe in education and, in my role, I help people provide education, which makes me very happy to be an instructional designer. I also teach this course and enjoy presenting meaninful topic, such as leadership, to students who are in the park, recreation, leisure, and sport field. Ziskin (2015) suggests that workers, expecially millenials, want to find meaning in their work and they prefer to work for organizations that make contributions to society. Moreover, this theme also has an internal focus. Specifically, leaders need to help their workers lead a holistic life and recognize that employees are human beings with needs and feelings (Ziskin, 2015). In my previous work places I have had the opportunity to develop professionally as well as participate in wellness programs that help my in my personal life.

The video below is a Ted Talk that discusses how one can self-develop themselves as an ideal, or utopian, leader. Additionally, he discusses the "leadership formula of doom" and how one can avoid this negative style.

This next video describes how leaders can help empower their employees by giving up control.

Required Readings

Deloitte University Press. (2016). Global human capital trends 2016. Available Online: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/na/Documents/human-capital/BCTWF-2016/na_HC_Trends_2016_presentation_BCTWF_Launch.pdf

O'Connor, C. (2013). 7 leadership development trends for a stronger bottom line. Available online: http://archive.boston.com/business/blogs/global-business-hub/2013/04/7_leadership_de.html

Petrie, N. (2014). Future trends in leadership development. Available online: http://www.ccl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/futureTrends.pdf

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (2008). How leadership must change to meet the future. Available online: https://www.pwc.com/us/en/people-management/assets/future-leadership-change.pdf

Ziskin, I. (2015). Develping the next generation of leaders: Tredns and truths about the future of leadership development. Available online: http://www.hrps.org/blogpost/1277488/219073/Developing-the-Next-Generation-of-Leaders-Trends-and-Truths-about-the-Future-of-Leadership-Development