LEAP Schools South Africa and the Callaway Leadership Institute of California: learning different 21st century leadership skills
By Marguerite Moore Callaway
During more than four decades of working with leaders and their teams in diverse cultural settings around the globe, it’s been my personal and professional experience that men and women in leadership positions never intend to be ineffective, but they often are.
Two examples seem to prove my point:
1. I’ve never met a leader who gets up in the morning and decides to behave in such a way that his most valuable employee decides to start looking for another job. But it happens.
2. I’ve never met a leader who gets up in the morning and decides to interact with key external stakeholders in such a way that she makes the decision to cancel all meetings about a joint initiative. But it happens.
The Callaway Leadership Institute’s (CLI) leadership development framework is my life’s work: helping leaders and their organisations cultivate inherent capabilities and develop new ones. It’s work I love and find deeply satisfying. I’ve dedicated much of my professional career to capturing relevant insights about effective (and ineffective) leadership. My participation in and observations of varied real-life leadership challenges have been bolstered by my in-depth evaluation of what we know about leadership, human motivation in life and work settings, and principles of living systems.
Longstanding leadership now out of line
In these changing times, leaders can no longer rely on traditional, historical leadership constructs that are based primarily on hierarchical authority and concentrated decisionmaking and power. Collectively, we are learning – often at very high cost – that this leadership model has limited effectiveness within a shrinking number of contexts. The social, political and economic conditions of the 21st century have forever changed the roles and responsibilities of today’s leaders.
Contemporary understanding about leadership today acknowledges these new conditions and new requirements for leaders at this time in human history. A paradigm shift in what it means to lead is well underway. Fortunately for us, many leaders around the globe are adapting to this new reality. To meet our daunting collective challenges, however, we need many more leaders – at all levels of organisations and communities – who are also committed to this new leadership paradigm and have the requisite leadership capabilities.
Foundations and philosophies
It is from this vantage point, at the edge of the unknown, that our leadership development framework – The Three Domains of Transformational Leadership©™ – was conceived. It was borne of an intense re-examination of contemporary data and knowledge – gleaned from a wide range of perspectives – about which conditions create and sustain healthy communities and successful organisations today.1 This emerging picture formed the foundation of my first book on new business start-ups.
These new conditions also demand new requirements for today’s leaders who aspire to create and nurture organisations and communities that can adapt to the 21st century.
Recognising this fundamental paradigm shift, our leadership development framework:
• reintroduces ethics and values into the leadership role
• incorporates emotional intelligence as a core competency
• recognises that different challenges require different types
of leadership approaches
• incorporates systems thinking into all areas of strategy,
problem-solving and implementation
• balances competition with collaboration and cooperation
• uses engagement and involvement rather than brute force
to bring about change
• acknowledges that people are an organisation’s, a
community’s and a nation’s most important asset.
Practical processes and tools
It’s not enough to have insight into what 21st century leadership requires. Such insight is useless unless and until this knowledge is translated into relevant concepts and practical tools that current and aspiring leaders can apply in real-world settings. My goal has always been to create and offer a usable leadership development framework that men and women across the globe could integrate into their leadership and into their lives.
Fortunately, before my rigorous formal business training, I became proficient in the study of human beings and human behaviour. I have undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the social sciences. The fundamentals of these disciplines form the backbone of the Three Domains of Transformational Leadership©™. A graphic and verbal description follows.
When you explore deeply the actual ‘work of leadership’, it falls naturally into three broad categories or domains, represented by three concentric circles*:
The first and perhaps most important is the work of Self. This work explores who you are, and what you believe and value. It includes an understanding of your relevant experiences and inherent capacities that will help you in your leadership role. It clarifies what you stand for, to yourself and to others. As you gain self-insight and self management, your ability to be authentic in all settings is greatly enhanced, and you are much less vulnerable to ‘shifting with the winds’.
The second category of leadership work is tied to coming to terms with Reality: not as you wish to see it but as it actually is. It is the essential starting point if you want to lead others toward a better future. Knowing how to access relevant information from a broad perspective and synthesise it into a coherent, realistic picture that guides critical strategic, operational and management decisions is key to charting a course through perilous waters.
The third category of leadership work is about Relationships:how you relate to those inside and outside your organisation or community at all levels. It defines how you engage with those of your own group, as well as those who are not. It determines how you seek to accomplish goals that require collective activity. A consistent, thoughtful approach to all relationships is essential for building trust among those actually who must get the work done.
CLI and LEAP
It took five years (2005–2010) to develop the model. For the last five years (2011–2016), I’ve collaborated with individual leaders and organisations across the globe to implement the programme. Because its foundations lie within human nature, the programme can be adapted to diverse ethnicities, cultures, economies and organisations. I’m able to speak with confidence that it is proving effective with those willing to invest in their own leadership development.
I first introduced The Three Domains of Transformational Leadership©™ into South Africa in 2011 as part of a formal leadership/management certificate for healthcare professionals, which continues to this day.5 As a programme faculty member, I’ve travelled and taught in all nine South African provinces and in eight additional sub-Saharan countries. I love my leadership development work on the African continent.
In 2013, I met John Gilmour and learnt of the LEAP Science and Maths Schools.6 After thoughtful deliberation, Gilmour and I decided that my leadership development framework was aligned with LEAP’s own vision of a transformational model for its students and staff. We initiated a multiyear process of implementing the CLI programme for all LEAP leaders in November 2014. My internal partner in this implementation is Zonke Mpotulo, a leader at LEAP 6 in Ga-Rankuwa near Pretoria in Gauteng.7 Just as every LEAP student undertakes a personal transformational journey, so does every member of LEAP’s administrative and school leadership teams. I’m gratified to have a chance to work with men and women dedicated to improving the educational experience of their students, in ways that change their lives for the long term.
Distributed, non-hierarchical power creates consistent leadership at LEAP
21st century leadership relies on distributed, non-hierarchical power. If one wants to create a culture of consistent leadership, anyone sitting in a leadership or supervisory position needs undertake a self-development journey. In 2013, LEAP adopted a team model of leadership at each of its schools; all the more reason why leadership teams needed to go through the process together.
Historically, leaders have used power to get things done. We now know that no one – student or colleague – can be forced into excellent performance. Consequently, today’s leaders must
rely on their ability to engage, guide and motivate others to accomplish individual and collective tasks. These skills are innately connected to one’s emotional intelligence.
LEAP 5: ‘early adopters’
I have been honoured to work extensively with Raphael Mukachi at the LEAP Science and Maths School, Jane Furse. The school was established in 20128 to promote and improve the quality of education specifically in the Sekhukhune district, which is one of the most impoverished districts in Limpopo province. The school is known as LEAP 5.
Mukachi’s (and his team’s) technical competence as a teacher/leader needed to be strengthened through the cultivation of emotional intelligence and an internal focus. The CLI process begins with growth in self-awareness, by completing individual selfassessments
during a workshop. These self-assessments then become the context to practise:
• active listening
• constructive feedback
• values clarification.
Following these individual and group exercises, each leader prepares a multiyear leadership self-development plan.
Mukachi and his team at LEAP 5 were ‘early adopters’ of their own developmental processes. They cultivated individual emotional intelligence and focused on implementing their individual leadership plans. Not surprisingly, the quality of interpersonal interactions improved, inter-team trust was enhanced, and focus on organisational priorities was greatly enhanced. For the most part, they embody the behaviours of a high-performing team.
CLI in Swaziland
In 2015, I registered my first CLI on the African continent in Mbabane, Swaziland. I’m delighted to have Alice Tembe as a partner and its executive director. In the long run, I want all our leadership development programme on-site implementation accomplished entirely by citizens of African countries. Like Zonke Mpotulo at LEAP 6 and Raphael Mukachi at LEAP 5, Tembe embodies the qualities of a transformational leader.
1. To learn more about the core references for The Three Domains of
Transformational Leadership©™ model, please see our online version of
this article at: www.ieducation.co.za.
2. Callaway, M.M. (2006) The Energetics of Business: A Practical Guide for
Bringing Your Business to Life. Chicago: Lincoln Park Productions.
3. Callaway earned her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of
Business. (See: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/landing/chicago-campus?source
4. The Advanced Health Management Programme is a co-certificate with the
Yale University School of Public Health (USA) and the Foundation for
Professional Development (South Africa). (See:
5. See: http://leapschool.org.za/john-gilmour/.
6. See: http://leapschool.org.za/schools/.
Category: Autumn 2016