Invited by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, Suzan Harrison of the Eckerd College, a liberal arts and sience college in St. Petersburg, Florida, I had the opportunity work to with faculty members and directors for Academic Affairs. In two workshops we took a closer look at what is needed to be a leader in a system of peers and how horizontal leadership and collaboration can be improved within the existing flat hierarchy. From the very first moment I arrived at Eckerd, I was aware of the unique spirit and values of Eckerd College.
The attendees went into very open, respectful and focussed dialogue about what leadership means to them and what is needed to connect to the IMO impulse of Horizontal Leadership. The conclusion at the end of the workshops was clear: We do live Horizontal Leadership and are connected to this impulse.
They examined how their own biographies and the biography of the college influence their leadership, and what is needed to optimize collaboration and communication. As an outcome of this they had defined clear development targets and and next steps to achieve them.
Here are some quotes from attendees:
- I’ve had some issues on my mind recently that I feel like I have a better understanding of as well as a productive path forward. I expected to learn a lot, but I didn’t anticipate how reaffirming it would be to work together with such a wonderful group of colleagues.
- I learned a great deal about myself as well as my colleagues. I also found it affirming that we seem to be doing a lot of the right things at Eckerd so far as leadership goes. Horizontal Leadership–I had no idea there was a name for how we operate!
- I learned far more about myself and my challenges with leadership than I expected. I look forward to more workshops like this one!
We agreed to keep in contact and discuss how a possible collaboration between the Department for Leadership Development of Eckerd College and IMO could be developed.