Bruce Avolio, executive director of the Foster School’s Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking, spoke at TEDxUmeå on January 17, 2013. The theme was “Leadership, creativity and innovation” and Avolio’s talk was titled, “Showing up for leadership…Ta Dah!” In his talk Avolio discusses three types of leadership: leadership that grows people, leadership that sustains people and leadership that diminishes people.
When a leader grows people, she empowers them to take ownership and challenge conventions. Leaders who grow people share a common trait—they all had people in their lives who set extremely high expectations for them. When they failed to meet these expectations, they were supported and encouraged to get up and do it again, and this process was repeated over and over. As a result they developed the ability to transform other people into leaders.
Avolio shared examples of how people can show up for leadership. You can be a leader who grows people by:
Showing up with great expectations.
Showing up claiming leadership.
Showing up over and over.
Showing up with everyone.
Avolio said, “We can all grow a better world together. Why don’t we do it?”
Up until two weeks ago, Umeå, Sweden, was just a dot on the global map to me.
Since going there, it has become a place of special significance for me.
Working with the Center for Leadership, Umea, whose tag line is, “science that is useful,” we held a conference for 400+ delegates focusing on leadership, creativity and innovation. We also participated in a TEDx event, at which I lectured for 16 minutes….full stop on “Showing up for Leadership…Ta Dah!” What strikes you about Umea and the folks who reside there is that they seem to realize they are building a very special city. This may be due in part to the world renowned design college there and also because Umea will become the capital of European culture in the next year.
At the design college, I saw a full classroom where the floor operated as an iPad.
We talked about the importance of using science to support leadership development with executives, coaches, trainers, etc.
We explored leadership in a country that has not been in a war for over 250 years.
Umeå & Sweden. Wow!
And I met some new best friends, some great new colleagues, and sopped up the energy of Umeå at -27 centigrade. Also, at an officer’s quarters (sometimes Swedish and sometimes Russian depending on the state of wars a couple of centuries ago) turned restaurant, turned museum, we witnessed the standoff between the use of wine and beer in enhancing one’s cuisine. The beer guy talked of blatant discrimination against beer in restaurants, where the wine list was two pages long and beer got two lines! That night, in a far off place at -27 centigrade the beer guy ruled!
A few weeks ago, I was a part of an audience at the University of Washington that had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Gunnar Oom, the Swedish Secretary of trade, who discussed Sweden and the Euro Crisis. His role as the state secretary of trade is to promote Swedish exports.
Mr. Oom started by briefly addressing some Sweden’s economic advantages and disadvantages. He stated that more than half of Sweden’s GPD originates from its exports and about 70% of its exports go to the European Union (EU). In the future, he said, he would like to see more of Sweden’s exports go to developing markets. Mr. Oom mentioned that Sweden’s economy has suffered because of the housing market and other challenges, but was optimistic about the growth of the economy and stressed the importance of avoiding uncertainty in pushing the Swedish export industry forward.
Mr. Oom briefly addressed some of the solutions he would consider for Sweden’s economy. He suggested increasing investment in infrastructure as a way to build efficient and effective transportation networks, including new railroads. Sweden is consistently ranked in the top 3 most innovative nations based on the quality of its institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure and market business sophistication, and the results of innovations like patents and software, and Mr. Oom is committed to making sure that Sweden rises even farther to the top.
During the last half of his presentation, Mr. Oom addressed the current Euro crisis. He stated that without better policies, the worst could be yet to come, and recommended that the EU’s main focus should now be on evenly distributing the wealth of health care and social services. He concluded his presentation by saying, “More implementation, less talk. Instead of discussing what were going to do, we must take action now and do it.”
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