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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Educator Corner: Building skills to follow

Educator Corner is a new feature on the blog that will appear monthly. Each entry will feature 1 of the 9 Leadership and Civic Engagement educators from around the state providing space for their thoughts on what is happening in their work that may be useful for leaders practicing in their communities and organizations.

jody.jpgI recently visited with people in a community as they discussed their future. The conversation moved to this statement - "If we only had more leaders..." This mindset is one that I, too, get caught up in. But over the past two years I started focusing on teaching skills for following as part of leadership training. So what is it all about?

It's as simple as this. Without followers, who would leaders lead? When it comes to leadership, it is important for leaders to understand the concept of followership in order to be more effective as leaders.

Researchers have studied the relationship between leaders and followers for years. Robert E. Kelley, author of the ground-breaking article, "In Praise of Followers" that first appeared in the Harvard Business Review in 1988, identified 4 types of followers:

  • The Passive Follower. These followers are passive and uncritical - often unable or unwilling to think for themselves - and they do just what they are told and no more.

  • The Conformist Follower. These followers are active, but uncritical - they don't question the leader - and they allow others to take advantage of them.

  • The Alienated Follower. These followers are passive, critical thinkers - who have developed a "learned helplessness" - and they are often cynical, but not motivated enough to do anything to make things better.

  • The Effective Follower. These followers are active, critical thinkers - with the ability to solve problems, raise up new ideas, self-manage, take risks - and they fully engage with (and often challenge) leaders.

I share these types of followers to make the point that just as there are both effective and ineffective leaders, there are also effective and ineffective followers. We build skills for following by teaching many of the same concepts we use to teach leadership such as critical thinking, questioning skills, framing issues, communication, positive psychology, and many more. When both leaders and followers understand the value of leading and following, they can be more effective in their work and in their community.

For more information on this topic, click here.

Jody Horntvedt, educator for Northwest Minnesota, works out of Extension's regional office in Roseau.

Any use of this post must include a credit to Jody Horntvedt. For questions, please contact Eriks Dunens, University of Minnesota Extension, at (612) 626-5943 or

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Opportunity: Doing Business Online webinar series

online.jpgIf you are a manager, owner, or social media staff of a small business or nonprofit, consider this webinar series. Participants will learn about strategically using online tools to have a more effective online presence. The cost of $40 allows you to attend as many live webinars as possible from the available six.. For information on dates and time, visit the Doing Business Online information page.

Topics will include:
  • Managing online reviews
  • Mobile eMarketing
  • Location based services
  • Social media for business
  • Getting listed higher in Google search results
  • Using analytics to inform business decisions

Friday, October 18, 2013

Opportunity: Health Grants and Facilitation Practice

1008200_312776625523313_906389965_o.jpgTwo neat chances to impact your communities and support your work!

The first is a funding opportunity for community-based organizations that want to use community engagement as a key strategy for reducing tobacco use, heart disease, and preventable cancers.

Why focus on engagement? People are a key ingredient to creating change in their own community. For that reason community members who care about, or are impacted by, the issue at hand should be included in the execution and success of creating community health change. Examples of community engagement include garnering input, cultivating leadership, and growing participation of community members.

The deadline to apply is October 25, 2013 so check out the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota website for more information and the link to apply.

The second is an opportunity to learn and practice an engagement technique for hosting conversations:
The World Cafe Learning Program event is a 3-day practicum and workshop designed to deepen your World Cafe hosting practice and develop your skills in applying the World Cafe design principles to bring forth the creative power of conversation and engage "questions that matter."

The event will take place on November 6-8 at the cost of $200 (previous costs for events like these have been as high as $1,500). If you want more information, check out the online event flyer.

Not certain what the World Cafe technique is? This quick primer gives the basics.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Alumni Gather, Consider How to Make an Impact

ULAA 2013.jpg

In late September, alumni of the U-Lead Advisory Academy, a leadership cohort provided by University of Minnesota Extension, met in St. Cloud to determine how best to apply their skills in their communities given new trends throughout Minnesota. As part of the day, Jane Tigan from Minnesota Compass provided information about how the state's population and workforce are changing.

If you are wanting to see data and trends for your region, check out the Minnesota Compass site. How might you use this information to inform your work and action?

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