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Leadership matters now more than ever. And yet, what is leadership?

June 28, 2019
Dr. Kathy Bishop, PhD
Sidewalk that says 'passion led us here' with people standing over it'

Leading in Extraordinary Times

We live in extraordinary times. Times like no other: technologically, socially, politically, economically, and environmentally. Times of great peril and times of great possibility. 

Leadership matters now more than ever. And yet, what is leadership? Leadership scholar Keith Grint (2005) identified person, result, position, and process as four ways to come at understanding leadership. He further questioned: Is it WHO leaders are that makes them leaders? Is it WHAT leaders achieve that makes them leaders? Is it WHERE leaders operate that makes them leaders? Is it HOW leaders get things done that makes them leaders (p. 1)? Indeed, who, what, where, and how are key questions for us to consider when we think about leadership.

As a leadership educator, I see another element critical to leadership: WHY leaders do what they do. Why speaks to the values we hold as leaders. Values are at the very core of who we are and what is important to us. Values drive our behaviour whether we are aware of them or not. “Values are energy. Values are choices. Values are priorities” (Hyatt & De Ciantis, 2014, pp. 4-8).  In dialogue with my esteemed colleague, Dr. Marilyn Taylor, we agreed that living in these extraordinary times there are no longer best practices. There are, however, best processes. Values are the way. To tap into possibility and make a difference in the world, leaders need to look deep at what is important to them and take a stand together with others; aligning personal and organizational values.

In our Values-Based Leadership Graduate Certificate program, we step into what it means to be values-based leaders and how to cultivate values-driven organizations. Now is the time to intentionally act on what is important and lead within our organizations to make positive change in the world! 

Dr. Kathy Bishop is an associate professor and the program head of Master of Arts in Leadership program (spring) and Graduate Certificate in Values-Based Leadership.



 Grint, K. (2005). Leadership: Limits and possibilities. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hyatt, K. & De Ciantis, C. (2014). What's important: Understanding and working with values perspectives. Tucson, AZ: Integral.

This post is compliments of the School of Leadership Studies and the first of many from our School. 

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash