Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Silas Hansen

Transiting, the hero's journey, early 21st century. NZ surfer Clint Read, dressed as if for winter, navigating a knife edge in equatorial Indo.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spiritual and Transcendental Leadership

It has been suggested in several studies (Elliot, 2002; Jaworski, 1998; Kouzes & Posner, 2008, Wheatley, 2006) that the journey of leadership is an internal plight to connect with a higher influence and in order to truly understand the notion of leadership we must focus on the internal development of the leader. Emmons’ (1999) treatise on ‘ultimate concerns’ defines spirituality as that aspect of life concerned with ultimate purpose and meaning in life, which translates into recognition of the transcendent in everyday experience, a selfless focus, and a set of beliefs that facilitates a relationship with the transcendent.

One might infer from this definition that spirituality is the gestalt of all manifestations of an individual’s essence, and conclude that spirituality mobilises the individual towards meaningful or ‘transcendental accomplishment’. Thompson (2000) posits that transcendental accomplishment cannot occur without spirituality. Sanders et al., (2003) conceptualise Thompson’s postulation in a mode of ‘transcendental leadership,’ which proposes hierarchical levels of desired leadership accomplishments. The model proposes three structural levels of leadership accomplishment: (1) transactional, (2) transformational, and (3) transcendental. Essentially, the model proposes that leaders’ development along three dimensions of spirituality (consciousness, moral character and faith) is associated with development along these three levels of leadership accomplishment. Sanders et al., (2003) proposed theory of transcendental leadership is intended to provide a framework. The theory is not an attempt to redefine leadership; instead their theory purports to provide a more comprehensive view of leadership by connecting traditional theories to a meaningful domain, spirituality. Cardona (2000) first broached the idea of transcendental leadership and describes the concept as a contribution based exchange relationship. He views the transcendental leader as being concerned with his or her followers and tries to contribute to their personal development.

Basically, the theory incorporates the idea that developing spirituality along these three dimensions allows leaders to become less concerned about the constraining realities of the external environment, which can limit leader effectiveness, and be more concerned about an internal development that transcends realities as defined by the environment (Elliot, 2002; Emmons, 1999). Sanders et al., (2003) model attempts to embody the demands of society by explicitly suggesting spirituality as an important component of leadership. The model also helps to fill some of the gaps that currently exist in traditional leadership theories. Traditional theories, for a large part, tend to focus on external manifestations of leadership. At the personal/individual level, the model bridges the gap between spirituality and leadership by stimulating practical and scholarly consideration about their relationship (Sanders et al., 2003).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Andy Foxx

When you're surfing, you're living. Everything else is just waiting

- Josh Mitchell -

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Servant Leadership

Robert Greenleaf regards serve and lead as words that are overused as well as associated far too often with negative connotations. He poses the question of whether the ideas of servant leader can be ‘…fused in one real person, in all levels of status and calling’ (Greenleaf, 1977: 45). Greenleaf’s desire to establish a centre dedicated to this lifestyle came about from his interest in Journey to the East by Herman Hesse (1956).

As founder of the Centre for Servant Leadership, Greenleaf (1977) describes it as thus:

‘The servant-leader is servant first It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. He or she is sharply different from the person who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. For such it will be a later choice to serve, after leadership is established. The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.’

‘The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, will they not be further deprived?’ (Greenleaf, 1977: 78).

Characteristics of Servant Leaders are as follows:

‘Servant-Leadership is a practical philosophy that supports people who choose to serve first, and then lead as a way of expanding service to individuals and institutions. Servant-leaders may or may not hold formal leadership positions. Servant-leadership encourages collaboration, trust, foresight, listening, and the ethical use of power and empowerment’ (Centre for Servant Leadership, 2008).

In a number of studies on leadership, this notion of being of service to others is considered to be one of the most important aspects of leadership (Bass & Bass, 2008; Kouzes, & Posner, 2003; Martin et al., 2006). The practice of servant leadership theory manifests itself in an ethic of care whereby the leader, who is a servant first, ensures that other people’s greatest needs are met (Greenleaf, 2002; Heifetz & Linsky, 2002; Hennessy, 2004).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Steve Conti

Sometimes in the morning, when it's a good surf, I go out there, and I don't feel like it's a bad world

- Kary Mullis -

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Feminist Leadership Theory

In numerous studies of mixed sex groups, males tend to emerge as leaders more often than females (Aries, 1976; Martin et al., 2006). In addition, leadership has traditionally been associated with stereotypical male traits and behaviours such as hierarchy, dominance, competition, authoritarianism and task orientation. It is less often associated with female values and qualities such as harmony; concern for people; unity; spirituality; caring; and relationship orientation (Henderson & Bialeschki, 1991).

Influential women have been classified in a number of ways throughout the course of history and many of these descriptors have been unflattering. Stereotypes of women leaders include the earth mother who brings home made biscuits to meetings; the mother figure who provides solace and comfort; the sex object who fails to establish herself as a professional; and the iron maiden who tries too hard to establish herself as a professional (Martin et al., 2006; McDermott, 2004).

It was believed that the 1990s would be the decade of women in leadership because more women were entering the workforce and because the authoritarian socialisation of males would not be as effective in the workplace of the future (McDermott, 2004). However, research suggests that despite the increase of woman in leadership roles, merely employing women does not suffice if women continue to remain powerless within organisations and if a more feminist model of outdoor leadership does not receive recognition (Martin et al., 2006; Saunders & Sharp, 2002).

Contemporary models of feminist leadership theory have focused on specific aspects of organisational structure change (Henderson, 1996). Within such models, attention is paid to both process and product whilst traditional notions of power are reconsidered allowing all people to experience the same potential for success. All persons additionally have the same potential to become leaders (Martin et al., 2006). A feminist transformative perspective of leadership would regard communication as upward, downward and lateral. According to Henderson ‘…the content of that communication would be orientated toward advice, counsel and collective decision making’ (Henderson, 1996: 114). Control and safety of the group would be everyone’s responsibility. Noddings (2003) supports this approach to leadership, which attempts to address underlying psychological structures, and suggests that leaders must develop an ethic of care that supersedes, and in essence, transcends gender differences.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Sean Davey

Young Hawaiian prince, Mason Ho, looking right at home despite his lower latitude. Chilly Northwest Tasmania.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Naked Ambition

Nicole Reinhardt is a German Olympian who, along with Katharina Scholz, Petra Niemann and Romy Tarangul, featured in the September issue of German Playboy Magazine. The magazine was printed in four different editions, each dedicated to one of the athletes. Reinhardt, a sprint kayaker, was pegged as a gold medal hopeful in the K-2 500.

Reinhardt began her career in the club WSV Lampertheim and at the federal state performance base Mannheim. At the 2007 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Duisburg, she got, together with Fanny Fischer, WC-Gold in the 200 and 500 metre sprint. The following year she qualified for the Olympic Summer Games in Beijing. Nicole achieved Olympic Gold together with Fanny Fischer, Katrin Wagner-Augustin and Conny WaƟmuth in the 500m K-4 sprint. In the K-2 class over the same distance she obtained fourth place with her team mate, Fanny Fischer.

Nicole Reinhardt says of her appearance in Playboy…'they're beautiful pictures'. Apparently the next spread she does, she wants her only accessory to be a gold medal...'not every girl or woman has a chance to appear in this magazine'.

I doubt she would have the same opportunity to promote paddlesports in such a unique way if she were to appear in Canoe Focus magazine!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Hugh Davis

In any job, there are times when no matter what else is happening around you, you just need to knuckle down and get it done. By way of an example, here's free-range heavy water consultant, Shane Dorian, negotiating some serious business at the Teahupoo office.