ECGC: What Makes You Think YOU Know What A Leader Is?

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So you think YOU know what makes a great leader?!?

Went to the East Coast Gaming Conference Session: What makes you think YOU know what a leader is? as presented by Keith Fuller

In this lecture, Keith Fuller talked about leadership and what some of the qualities of good leaders were, and what was the major roadblock in the industry as far as leadership goes. He began by letting us know what his expectations of us for the talk were: that we would care , that we would participate, and that we would focus.

Leaders set the expectations for those they lead. And a leader, by definition, is responsible for the behavior, tasks, work performance, and development of one or more people whom they manage. The Jetsons boss is NOT leadership.

Leaders watch the quality of your work, and put you where you’ll be best used. A good leader makes you want to show up! The best leaders are approachable, and knows you as a person!

Leaders should not be pulled from a hat. “working ok” is not the same as innovating and excelling. Work should be lead to be efficient, not a “churn and burn” prfoile, because time you are spending at work is not time with the ones you love.

Quality of leadership can be most accurately seen through employee engagement. When and employee cares and is engaged, they work harder. When they are disengaged, they cost you money and productivity.

Quality of work as measured by the happiness of the employee can be directly noted through 2 main objectives: Their relationship with their immediate supervisor, and their belief in senior leadership. More often than not, you don’t quit a company, you quit a boss.

Consider reading:  “First, break all the rules” by Buckingham and Coffman.

If stuck down into  two main points from these hundreds of interviews:

  1. First, treat each employee as a person- know things about them and care about them
  2. Secondly, Don’t make leadership the default career path- great skills do not always translate into leadership, not everyone wants to become a leader.

Communicate, Relate, and Motivate.

Consider reading: “12 – The elements of great managing” wagner and karter

Good leaders have consistently good social skills, are impactful, value people, and objectively improves the business- doing so by supporting the people (arguably the most important part [supporting the people] of the group)

Biggest obstacle to quality leadership: the idea and pat response “We’re good.” (you are fooling yourself). Poor leaders and organizations that sponsor poor leadership feel they have no need to focus on leadership or improving performance.


Here was a good exercise:

You will get points for your organization (0-5) based on the following questions, Yes or No, 1pt a piece:

  1. You’re asked to give feedback about lead?
  2. Does everyone get regular 1:1 meetings?
  3. Performance review more than 1/year?
  4. Specific training in leadership skills?
  5. Does lead ask “how can I help you?”


Are you willing to give your score and NAME your company out loud? Some were willing to give their score out loud (About half). However, when they were asked if they were will to give their company name, it dropped to 4 individuals.
Problem: you are not willing to discuss this and name this in public.


What makes you think you know what a leader is? People are more open and will talk about taking notes in meetings, but NOT about what makes a leader.

WHY? Well, this could be a reputation issue that stops you from getting hired in the future. Many people are worried that the proud nail gets knocked down. What if you are the leader? Are you prepared to self-identify as a bad leader or to ask for help? We should encourage people to ask questions! Getting up to complain on a Soap Box is a bad idea, a 1:1 meeting is the right way.


ECGC: Gamified Talent Management: Using RPG design to motivate employees and redefine work

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Gamification and Leadership

Today at ECGC (The East Coast Gaming Conference), I attending a leadership training seminar: Gamified Talent Management: Using RPG design to motivate employees and redefine work, a lecture by IBM guru Phaedra Boinodiris. This was really fantastic, and should fit nicely with the classroom gamification that I’d like to see in some of our flagging classes. Phaedra Boinodiris identified 4 major attributes of using gamification to find and motivate successful employees:

  1. Cognitive stability
  2. Cognitive complexity
  3. motor-impusivity
  4. establishes a baseline

She then demonstrated a game used for potential employees, a game in which the user built a structure with spots and lines to reach a given point. This could then be used with responsive software to determine some of the cognitive qualities of the individual to help with the onboarding process. She further showed some proprietary software (darnit!) which could be used to chart an individual’s current state and progress in a gamification environment: Nick’s portal environment result from data showing changes and adjustment over time.

Using their previous data as well as the results of the employee profile and reviews, a composite was created similarly to a character sheet– showing calculated mentor matches (along with that mentor employee’s contact information, job matches and suggested promotion track to achieve it, how that employee ranked against others in the industry, how that employee was perceived by their peers, how the current marketplace is embracing their recognized skillsets, an employee assessment, and list of training or certifications suggested for the employee.

Upon my request, Ms. Boinodiris would not reveal information about IBM’s proprietary software. 😦

Questions posed by the leaders using this software required the team to be evaluated as a group. Once all members had taken the assessment, a team could further be assessed, posing questions based upon the team performance in addition to the qualities shown by the team:

  • “To be good at my job, what paths need to be completed?”
  • “What training needs to be completed by our current team?”
  • “What training might need to be required of new or potential team members?”
  • “How many goals are being completed within the group?”
  • “What is it about the ‘class’ of employee that makes this optimal or in need to accomplish our team or individual goals?”

Based on results of these tests and questions, what kind of employees are they? Could you give them designations such as hunter, farmer, leader, etc.? After a class designation has been properly identified, can you change or adjust these designations to make your team the team you desire or the team numbers show is best suited for a particular task?

Once backed up with data, adjustments to your staff’s ‘class’ could be made by sending them ‘quests’ perhaps once per day or week. These quest tasks would slowly evolve the thinking of the team or team members, so that training is no longer siloed. For instance, you might recognize ‘Hunter’ employees as those who track down new, effective leads. ‘Farmers’ on the other hand, might be constantly revisiting old leads to grow new business in already fertile ground. You might assign hunters to revisit ‘old hunting grounds’ once a day and slowly evolve their systems. Farmers on the other hand, might strike out into leads on ‘newly forested areas’ where they can begin relationships and begin a new harvesting in new areas.

By removing the siloed training, you make continual training something that is both approachable and achievable. Also, it CAN become fun. However, you must find ways to provide tailored content to make sure your employees know what they need to do, or show them how they can improve.

It is vitally important to remember: As far as gamification goes, if you’re spending a majority of your time at the beginning determining what motivates your audience, you are doing it wrong.

When adding gamification to your school, workplace, etc, you must avoid the ‘chocolate covered brocoli’ – adding a small benefit to something which your population already hates. A badge alone will NOT motivate the students or employees anymore than covering something they don’t want with chocolate.

The Multiplayer Classroom by Sheldon Lee
The Multiplayer Classroom by Sheldon Lee

Consider reading The Multiplayer Classroom by Sheldon Lee. (I spoke with Sheldon Lee the author during a conference call last week. This was great timing!)

Serious Games for Business by Phaedra Boinodiris

Also consider reading Serious Games for Business by Phaedra Boinodiris


I felt this was a great presentation, and I learned a lot that I felt would be helpful in methods of leadership! Tell me what you think!

LEA 124 – Leadership Training: Beyond Diversity

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Tyler Dockery celebrates Diversity with strong leadership
Tyler Dockery celebrates Diversity

LEA 124 – Leadership Training: Beyond Diversity

Since I had taken LEA113 (Understanding Diversity in the Workplace) and I clearly “understand” Diversity in the Workplace, it’s time to look BEYOND Diversity and put this clear level of understanding into action.

This course was presented by Jackie Popp (Jacqueline Popp) and Kimberly Breivogel on Wake Tech Community College’s Main Campus. During this leadership training session, we tooke a look at the biases we all hold (and we all have them, even if we’re not aware of it!).

We then explored how we could respectfully interact with others while actively working to reduce or eliminate preconceived notions which prevent us from being as effective as we could be, especially in the workplace. Research-based, hands-on activities and case studies allowed us to apply learning content to the workplace. We shared experiences as we got to know each other

In this class it was very interesting to see Cindy Foster, department head of Wake Tech’s Simulation and Video Game Development curriculum. Her experiences from the state and areas where she grew up made for some excellent insights. In her case study, her group had a staff member making harassing comments repeatedly. Her team made the breakthrough realization that the staff member might not be under their management control, which opened up a loooong and frankly quite fruitful discussion on how to deal with people under your management, those outside of your management, the difference in legal matters, performance improvement plans, and written/verbal warnings.

I thought this would be a general rehash of an earlier class, and was very pleased to find it stepping above and beyond my expectations.

LEA 114 – Leadership Training: Emotional Intelligence

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Attribute of a Great Leader: Emotional Intelligence
Attribute of a Great Leader: Emotional Intelligence

Attribute of a Great Leader: Emotional Intelligence

Studies have shown that people with high Emotional Intelligence (EI) have greater mental health, exemplary job performance, and more potent leadership skills, markers of EI and methods of developing it have become more widely coveted in the past few decades.

There are three main models of EI:

  1. Ability model
  2. Mixed model (usually subsumed under trait EI)
  3. Trait model



Ability Model

The initial definition of EI was revised to “The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth.” However, after pursuing further research, their definition of EI evolved into “the capacity to reason about emotions, and of emotions, to enhance thinking. It includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.

The ability-based model views emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment.The model proposes that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to relate emotional processing to a wider cognition. This ability is seen to manifest itself in certain adaptive behaviors. The model claims that EI includes four types of abilities:

  1. Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one’s own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
  2. Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
  3. Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
  4. Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.

The ability EI model has been criticized in the research for lacking face and predictive validity in the workplace.


Mixed Model

Mixed model outlines five main EI constructs:

  1. Self-awareness – the ability to know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
  2. Self-regulation – involves controlling or redirecting one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
  3. Social skill – managing relationships to move people in the desired direction
  4. Empathy – considering other people’s feelings especially when making decisions
  5. Motivation – being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.

Consider reading “What Makes A Leader” by Daniel Goleman.


Trait Model

An alternative label for the same construct is trait emotional self-efficacy. The trait EI model is general and subsumes the Goleman model discussed above. The conceptualization of EI as a personality trait leads to a construct that lies outside the taxonomy of human cognitive ability. This is an important distinction in as much as it bears directly on the operationalization of the construct and the theories and hypotheses that are formulated about it.


LEA 123: Leadership Training – Individualized Problem Solving

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Tyler Dockery specializes in Individualized Problem Solving Strategies
Tyler Dockery specializes in Individualized Problem Solving Strategies

LEA 123: Leadership Training – Individualized Problem Solving Strategies

This leadership session built on the principles presented in both LEA 111 and LEA 112 by exploring how to formulate successful problem solving strategies through the understanding and appreciation of the extrovert/introvert dichotomy.

Our original Presenter: was supposed to be Amanda Sinodis (it was her birthday this week), however, Noah Spencer ended up being one of the presenters for this event (there were two).

This was a great time for me to acknowledge the help Noah Spencer had given me in the hiring process. I took the opportunity to give him the thanks that I felt appropriate, although it probably held little if any meaning in his eyes. Truth be told, that thanks was really all about me. I wanted to tell him that I was thankful, and to be pleased with the deal that I have been given. I think it was taken well, and we shook hands.

This class was really great. It was all about the differences in introverts and extroverts. The class was roughly 20 people, and only 2 were extroverts. It was interesting to hear everyone laying out their Jung Typology sets (I;m an INTJ). ALthough it was fairly lopsided type-wise in the class, I got some really good information.

Many of the problems of an interpersonal nature come from differences and perceived differences in thoughts and actions. This is especially true of introverts and extroverts. The fundamental issues between the two drop down mainly to internalizing vs. externalizing. SOme people think  more before acting, others go with a gut reaction. Many differences can cause feelings of unrest or displeasing behaviors to arise.

examples include:

  • An introvert may wait before taking action, causing others to think they are hesitant or do not agree
  • An extrovert may act on instinct, causing others to feel they are jumping to conclusions which might be untrue
  • An introvert may avoid groups, causing others to feel they are shunning company or feel groups are beneath them
  • Extroverts may blow up when angry or upset
  • Introverts may excuse themselves even when nothing is wrong
  • Extroverts may act on a suggestion without planning how to integrate it into their regime
  • Introverts may carefully plan several actions before beginning a single one, stalling the outcome

During this exercise, we were asked to identify introverts/extroverts based on images alone (couldn’t really do it), and to make up stories based on what they were like based on the headshot photos. We then discussed more ways to discuss passing ideas to introverts and extroverts in order to have the best integration with our teams.

At the end, we had a really fun activity called the introvert/extrovert cocktail. We divided up into groups and were designated either introverts or extroverts and had to attend the short party session by exhibiting the most extreme behavior we could. Everybody had a great time seeing all the extremes crashing into one another or trying to quietly escape. It was a great session.


NCCCFA 2013 Keynote: Unlocking Your Leadership Potential with Pat Akers

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NCCCFA 2013 Keynote Presentation: Unlocking Your Leadership Potential

Pat Akers has been training leadership in the business and the community college communities for over 30 years.

This presentation began by discussion different leadership styles and the effectiveness of those styles. Various leadership styles can be effective in different situations. A leader needs to evaluate a particular situation and choose the style that best fits that situation.

Style Characteristics When Effective When Ineffective
  1. Tells others what to do
  2. Limits discussion on ideas and creativity.
  3. Keeps group from experiencing teamwork
  • Time is limited
  • Individuals lack skill or knowledge
  • Group does not know each other
  • Control is important
  • Goal is to develop sense of team
  • Members have some degree of skill or knowledge
  • Group desires spontaneity in work
  • Goal is to develop sense of team
  • Members have some degree of skill or knowledge
  • Group desires spontaneity in work
  1. Involves group in planning and carrying out activities
  2. Asks before tells
  3. Promotes teamwork
  4. Leader makes final decision with input.
  • Time is available
  • Group is motivated
  • Sense of team exists
  • Some degree of skill or knowledge exists
  • Group is unmotivated
  • No skill or knowledge
  • High degree of conflict present
  • Group is unmotivated
  • No skill or knowledge
  • High degree of conflict present
  1. Assigns tasks
  2. Offer little or no opinion
  3. Trust employees
  4. Leader does not seem to be in charge
  • Team possesses high degree of skill and motivation
  • Sense of team exists
  • Routine is familiar
  • Low sense of team or interdependence
  • Low degree of skill or knowledge
  • Group expects to be told what to do
  • Low sense of team or interdependence
  • Low degree of skill or knowledge
  • Group expects to be told what to do
Examples and Factors Affecting the Choice of Style
Factors that effect the choice of a style TimeKnowledge and skills of you and your staff



Type of task

Using all three Student Services VP tells his/her staff that the process for handing out Pell Checks is not working efficiently and a new one must be established (Authoritative). The VP give them the new process to implement. OR Ask for their ideas and input on creating a new process(Participative). OR Delegate tasks in order to implement the new procedure (Delegative).


In setting aside these materials, Pat Akers stressed the importance of becoming a transformative leader, someone who crosses the issues and builds the team into something more than the sum of the parts. Together, we discussed 10 characteristics of a transformative leader, and the steps that might be required to achieve these characteristics.


Characteristics Of A Transformative Leader

1. Let go of things others can do.

  1. Let go of tasks and responsibilities that will help others develop.
  2. Let go of authority to make decisions about the work.
  3. Know what others in the group can do and want to do.
  4. Build people’s skills to take over by involving them in the work.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve


2. Encourage initiative, ideas, and risk taking.

  1. Actively seek ideas and suggestions from the work group.
  2. Allow people to run with an idea, even if it might involve some risk.
  3. Reward and recognize ideas and initiative through compliments, formal recognition, and, whenever possible, tangible rewards.
  4. Are careful not to put down or discount ideas.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve.


3. Ensure that people have goals and know how they’re doing.

  1. Encourage the work group to take a lead role in setting goals and assessing their own performance.
  2. Ensure that goals are clear and understandable.
  3. Let people know how they’re doing in meeting goals and provide the guidance and support they need to meet them.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve.

4. Delegate to challenge, develop, and empower.

  1. Delegate to challenge and develop people.
  2. Delegate authority to make decisions about the work.
  3. Provide a clear understanding of the responsibility, amount of authority, expectations, and constraints.
  4. Support the delegation within and outside the work group.
  5. Set up controls that keep themselves apprised of progress but aren’t seen as restrictive.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve.

5. Coach to ensure success.

  1. Coach before the person begins the task or assumes the responsibility and along the way as needed.
  2. Make coaching a regular part of their jobs.
  3. Are good coaches-their coaching sessions guide and instruct, while maintaining or enhancing the self-esteem of the person being coached.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve

6. Reinforce good work and good attempts.

  1. Use verbal praise frequently.
  2. Know the kind of reinforcement that works best for each person.
  3. Provide tangible reinforcement whenever possible (for example, recognition letters, awards, or gifts).
  4. Remember to reinforce what someone does well even when his or her work has a few flaws.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve

7. Share information, knowledge, and skills.

  1. Meet with the group regularly to share and update information.
  2. Make sure people have the information they need to succeed in a task or responsibility or know where and how to get it.
  3. Share their insights, knowledge, expertise, and skills.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve

8. Value, trust, and respect each individual.

  1. Show, that they trust and respect people by encouraging them to take control of their jobs with the authority to take action.
  2. Take every opportunity to compliment people for good work, creative ideas, and contributions to the group.
  3. Listen to people and empathize with their problems and concerns.
  4. Are careful never to put people down or minimize their contributions.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve.

9. Provide support without taking over.

  1. Understand that support is essential and know when it’s needed.
  2. Know techniques for supporting others, such as coaching, reinforcing, preparing for resistance, and gaining others’ commitment.
  3. Resist the temptation to take over when things go wrong.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve.

 10. Practice what you preach. 

  1. Let go, but also support people through the rough spots of a new assignment instead of punishing them for mistakes or taking over.
  2. Ask for ideas, but also empower people to implement their ideas– especially those that involve some risk.
  3. Tell people they’re important and show them through actions.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve.


Just like there are several characteristics of a transformative leaders, there are several types of team players. Finding out which one you might be and how you can best affect the team in a positive manner


Team Player Styles

Style Seen as… Behaviors
CONTRIBUTOR Information Focus



  1. Enjoys providing the team with good technical information and data
  2. Does his or her homework
  3. Pushes the team to set high performance standards and to use their resources wisely
  4. Is dependable, responsible and organized
  5. Has a clear set of priorities
COLLABORATOR Big Picture PersonGoal


  1. Focuses on the vision, mission or goal of the team
  2. Is flexible and open to new ideas
  3. Is willing to pitch in and work outside his or her defined role
  4. Is able to share the limelight with other team members
  5. Is visionary and cooperative
COMMUNICATOR Positive People PersonProcess Oriented
  1. Is an effective listener and facilitator of involvement, conflict resolution, consensus building and feedback
  2. Builds an informal, relaxed climate
  3. Communicates with enthusiasm
  4. Helps team members get to know each other
  5. Receives feedback without becoming defensive
CHALLENGER Candid and OpenQuestioner


  1. Questions the goals, methods and even the ethics of the team
  2. Is willing to disagree openly with the leader or higher authority
  3. Encourages the team to take well-conceived risks.
  4. Raises questions about the teams’ goals
  5. Outspoken, ethical and principled

Pat Akers spent the remaining portion of our professional development discussing how leaders “connect” with their team members.


Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.”


Leaders today face the challenge of influencing people from all sides of an organization. Yet, many managers with leadership responsibilities feel that because they are not the main leader, they cannot influence their bosses, peers and subordinates. From this comes the understanding of 360 degree leadership. Becoming a 360 Degree Leader is not easy. By becoming a better leader… one who can influence others… you add tremendous value to your organization.


“The true measure of leaders is not the number of people who serve them but the number of people they serve.”
John Maxwell


Pat ended by requesting that we identify the people in “our” college environment whom we will influence in working to become a 360 Degree leader. Identify ways that you connect with these people in your environment, and make our changes to improve things.

NCCCS Conference 2012: Developing Tomorrow’s Community College Leaders: Career Development Approaches that Enable SuccessNC

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Monday, Oct 8: 3:15-4:15

Developing Tomorrow’s Community College Leaders: Career Development Approaches that Enable SuccessNC

This session’s presenters: Molly Duggan, K. Paul Knott, and Ginger Bishop took us through three great leadership plans in this fantastic meeting.
In support of sharing best practices- a central goal of SuccessNC -this session focused on several successful approaches to developing faculty and staff tools, skills, and the perspectives that community colleges need in order to facilitate student success.
Three highly effective professional development approaches were explored in this session:
  1. Community college-based grow-your-own programs
    Offering “grow-your-own” programs that provide financial aid to students who agree to return to their school as teachers after graduation from college, and leadership programs which train teachers for department head or roles as deans, etc.
  2. Succession planning, including coaching and mentoring strategies
    This professional development program places a high value on coaching and mentoring to give faculty and staff members the training and skills they need to succeed and excel in the workplace. Emphasis was given on finding the proper mentor for the mentor/mentee relationship, and on the ability of co-mentoring within your programs.
  3. Graduate training programs.
    Ways to reopen relationships with successful collegiate candidates to expand learning options and increase hiring potentials within our programs.

I found this session, especially the co-mentoring process to be quite helpful. I think the two Wake Tech members I met earlier, Marsha Mills and Woody Hayes sound like excellent candidates for a co-mentoring situation.