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!
“That great business philosopher Confucius said, two thousand years ago, ‘What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. But what I do, I learn.’ And that’s what entrepreneurship education is all about,” says Dooley.
Watch the 17-minute video and catch lecture highlights below.
Top 5 skills of a successful entrepreneur:
Do something. Try something. Many successful entrepreneurs have been fired or let go from a former employer and have to act quickly to pay bills. So they start a business without having written a formal business plan, but have a sketch on the back of a napkin.
Beg, borrow or convince people to give or loan resources. Entrepreneurs must figure out how to get resources, assistance and seed funding.
Embrace surprise. Juggle the unexpected and shift gears quickly by seizing opportunities.
Minimize the downside of risks. Great entrepreneurs do not take huge risks. They reside in a state of “heads I win, tails I don’t lose too much” in starting a new business.
Be an effectual thinker. Through entrepreneurial education, emerging entrepreneurs learn to realize they are the pilot-in-command. They are running and starting a business and by trying a business idea out, they may fail. But they will learn from mistakes and can continue moving forward.
More entrepreneurship advice, insights from Emer Dooley’s TEDx lecture:
“Entrepreneurial thinking is a way of looking at and thinking about problems, but very much about doing something about problems.
“There’s this myth about entrepreneurship. Who pops into your brain? It’s Gates or Bezos or Richard Branson. But there is no one type of person that’s an entrepreneur. When I think about the characteristics of an entrepreneur, they can be incredibly gregarious. They can be really shy. They can be these big, big picture thinkers or they can be these obsessive control freaks.
“If you’re a loud-mouth like Ted Turner, it’s natural. You’ll start CNN. If you’re a geek and you’re afraid to approach girls directly, what are you going to do? Start Facebook. If the only way to be an entrepreneur was to be born one, Colonel Sanders would never have started Kentucky Fried Chicken when he was in his 60s and on Social Security.
“There’s the strategic approach or the entrepreneurial or affectual approach. An affectual entrepreneur is someone who thinks they can affect their own world. What can I do with the resources I have at hand? Not, what is the end goal and how do I get there?”
After 11 years of teaching entrepreneurship to UW business, engineering and computer science students, Emer Dooley now serves as strategic planner, board member and faculty advisor for the UW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
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