Does the Reality Created by Your Perceptions Enhance or Limit Your Ability To Walk the Leadership TightropeReport as inadecuate

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When organizational leaders adhere to untested, self-generating beliefs, their ability to achieve desired results can be limited. Although leaders have traditionally been viewed as the bearers of all the answers and have been expected to make all organizational decisions, emerging views of leadership suggest that their role should be to encourage the collective learning of all members of the organization. For leaders to take on this new role, however, they must continuously re-examine their mental models, or images, assumptions, and stories about themselves, others, and their institutions. Leaders who wish to be more effective in their roles must test their own mental models and understand those of other members of the organization. One strategy for understanding the mental model is to become cognizant of the "ladder of inference," or the mental pathway of increasing abstraction, which often leads to misguided beliefs. To become aware of this ladder of inference, leaders should collect observable data and experiences, choose data to be used in formulating the particular inference, add meaning from previous data to the selected data, make assumptions based on this meaning, draw conclusions to adopt a set of beliefs, make decisions based on these beliefs, and use the beliefs to determine what data to select in the next event. Leaders employing this method will improve their ability to be creative while providing leadership. (HAA)

Descriptors: Administrator Effectiveness, Administrator Role, College Administration, Community Colleges, Leadership Qualities, Leadership Styles, Learning Processes, Organizational Development, Self Concept, Self Evaluation (Individuals), Supervisory Methods, Two Year Colleges

Author: Brewer, Jerrilyn; Schwandt, Linda


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