Leadership Is One of Our Most Valuable Assets “The ultimate leader is one who is willing to develop people to the point that they surpass him or her in knowledge and ability.” —Fred A. Manske Often when we think of leadership, our minds go straight to those individuals who are in “leadership” positions in an organization—the president, vice ... From the President
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From the President  |   March 01, 2010
Leadership Is One of Our Most Valuable Assets
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Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / From the President
From the President   |   March 01, 2010
Leadership Is One of Our Most Valuable Assets
The ASHA Leader, March 2010, Vol. 15, 19. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.15032010.19
The ASHA Leader, March 2010, Vol. 15, 19. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.15032010.19
“The ultimate leader is one who is willing to develop people to the point that they surpass him or her in knowledge and ability.”
—Fred A. Manske
Often when we think of leadership, our minds go straight to those individuals who are in “leadership” positions in an organization—the president, vice president, and other officers. In most of our work environments there is often a leadership team or leadership council, and we think that is where leadership begins and ends. But leadership is not about position or power, or about being a manager or a boss. It is merely about skills and qualities.
It is often said that everyone can lead. This statement is true because things do not happen by themselves. Things happen because leaders consciously and intentionally focus on an activity to achieve the desirable outcome. But more importantly, things happen because the average person recognizes an issue that needs attention and puts forward a plan to address it.
Marshall Loeb and Stephen Kindel define leadership as “the set of qualities that causes people to follow.” These qualities might include inspiring and motivating others, listening and acting in a consistent way, and being responsible and accountable. Leaders engage followers in developing vision statements, mission statements, and the strategic plan of an organization.
Leadership is one of our most valuable assets. It can be applied in every work environment—schools, hospitals, clinics, universities, private practice—by every professional in our discipline: researchers, teachers, clinicians, administrators, students. For example, this issue of The ASHA Leader focuses on age-related communication disorders. Many of you in health care settings may have exercised leadership in your work with older clients; perhaps you have led a patient care conference, offered hearing screenings in your community, or taken the lead in revising an operational procedure or form. And those are just a few examples.
We are where we are today because of the leadership collaboration between clinicians, researchers, and administrators within and outside of the professions who realized that in order to meet the needs of our patients/clients and students, we must think strategically, develop work plans, and invite everyone to be a part of the process. This, my friends, is leadership. Regardless of the environment in which you work or which position you have, there is room for leadership.
Interestingly enough, individuals in the sports world have known the secret of leadership for quite some time. Two books by former professional football coaches have inspired me in my thinking about leadership—Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy, who coached the Indianapolis Colts, and The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh, former coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Both of these authors were outstanding leaders but had very different styles. They understood that the style of decision-making is crucial. Dungy used his quiet approach to build his team not necessarily on the field, dealing with problems quietly and respecting the privacy of the players. He was the soul of discretion and was highly respected and successful as a leader. Walsh’s systems-based approach has been used in sports and business. The philosophy is very simple—set up best practices and implement them with precision, and as he said, “the score will take care of itself.” In other words, the outcome will be positive and rewarding.
I opened this message with a quote from Fred A. Manske, a noted authority on leadership. There is a message to each of us that centers on the notion that leadership compels us to encourage and prepare the next generation. Egos and envy should be checked at the door and the carpet should be rolled out so that all who desire to take a stroll along the walk to leadership may do so with the full support of those who have walked the path before.
Members’ Turn

So I have a few questions for you about leadership:

  • What types of leadership activities are you doing in your work environment?

  • How did this leadership activity begin?

  • What impact did the activity have on your life and those around you?

To respond and share ideas about leadership with other ASHA members, participate in an ASHA Web forum on leadership.

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March 2010
Volume 15, Issue 3