General Assembly: GA Presentations: Presenter views and opinions do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the UUA.

Transformational Leadership: Skills and Knowledge

General Assembly 2001 Event 2016

Sponsor: Mountain Retreat and Learning Center

All leadership, whether by example, command, instruction or some other means, can be classed as either transactional or transformational. Transactional leadership occurs when one person takes the initiative in making contact with others for the purpose of an exchange of valued things—economic, psychological, or political. Transactional leadership occurs when people engage in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to a higher moral plane.

Today, Tom Wurth and Dr. Helen Bishop of The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center staff led a workshop designed to impart some of the skills and knowledge which people need if they would prefer to lead in a transitional manner. Some of these necessary skills include system thinking, creating or defining a shared vision, and keeping the group focused on team learning. For those who would like to learn more about this approach to leadership, the workshop was based on the work of Peter M. Senge, Ph.D., Chairman of the Society for Organizational Learning, and particularly on his book, The Fifth Discipline, The Art and Practice of The Learning Organization.

The presenters also stressed the importance of using the arts—music, drama, painting, literature, etc.—to help people find common ground and to enter more readily into dialogue. As an example, and to facilitate their own workshop, The Mountain's Shelley Jackson Denham then led the group in two songs, one of which was Holly Near's original version of We Are a Gentle Angry People.

Reported by Bill Lewis.