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DHolzmer Kravitz-De Roulet Proposal

DHolzmer Kravitz-De Roulet Proposal

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Published by: davidholzmer on Sep 14, 2011
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10/12/2013

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Commons Competencies: Rethinking Hard and Soft Skills for a Disruptive Era 1
 
Commons Competencies: Rethinking Hard and Soft Skills for a Disruptive EraProposal for the 21
st
Annual Kravis-de Roulet Leadership ConferenceDavid Holzmer, Ph.D. CandidateThe Union Institute & UniversityCincinnati, OH
 
Commons Competencies: Rethinking Hard and Soft Skills for a Disruptive Era 2
 
Commons Competencies: Rethinking Hard and Soft Skills for a Disruptive EraProposal for the 21
st
Annual Kravis-de Roulet Leadership ConferenceIt is hard to ignore the growing concerns that we now live in a time of deep,disruptive change. For many, this period in our history has become characterized bypervasive fear and uncertainty as long-held cultural assurances—such as the relianceupon enduring economic progress (Heinberg, 2011; Krugman, 2009; Reinhart andRogoff, 2009) or a dependence on the our planet’s ecological resiliency and the Earth’sability to furnish us with unlimited natural resources (Gilding, 2011; Gore, 2009; Senge,2010)—sway and falter in the face on ongoing turmoil and mounting breakdowns. Thisis a time when many people, including leaders and those who study leadership(Hendrickson, 2010; Stames, 2010; White and Shullman , 2010) increasingly findthemselves confronted by the gnawing question “Are we going to be OK?” A notableresponse to this wide-spread anxiety can be found in the words of Vaclav Havel (1995)who wrote thatthere are good reasons for suggesting that the modern age has ended. Today,many things indicate that we are going through a transition period, when it seemsthat something is on the way out and something else is painfully crumbling,decaying, and exhausting itself—while something else, still indistinct, were risingfrom the rubble. (p. 46)This presentation will discuss that which I will argue are critical new perspectivesleaders will need in order to facilitate this multi-domain transition from breakdown to“rising from the rubble.”This idea, here articulated by Havel (1995), that one way of life is deterioratingwhile another is gaining form and substance, is calling growing legions of leaders andscholars of leadership (Fullan, 2005; Gardner, Avolio, and Walumbwa, 2005; Scharmer,
 
Commons Competencies: Rethinking Hard and Soft Skills for a Disruptive Era 3
 
2007; Senge, 2010) to closely question many of leadership’s underlying presumptionsand practices while also pondering how a new way of thinking and action could assist inthe development of more sustainable social (Gilding, 2011), ecological (Cafaro, 2011) ,and economic (Kallis, 2011) systems. In this presentation I will argue that a carefulreconsideration of the leadership skills and capacities known as “soft skills” is crucial toformulating a framework that will help leaders to effectively address the most complexchallenges they are facing more and more frequently. I will assert that, while manyproblems may still be adequately addressed by leaders’ current skills and thinking, anew, more integrated conceptual framework can play a central role in effectivelyresponding to present breakdowns while simultaneously nurturing the emergence ofmore generative systems.By employing an interdisciplinary lens this presentation will interweave ideasderived from models employing a more reflective and psychologically-attunedorientation of leadership (i.e., Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee, 2001; Heifetz, 1994;Scharmer, 2007) with the integrative perspectives found in later stages of cognitivedevelopment (Joiner and Josephs, 2007; Kegan and Lahey, 2009; Torbert, Cook-Greuter,
et al.,
2004). Such a synthesis supports my assertion that our presentconfounding, systemic challenges call for a more integrated conception of leadershippraxis than that typically afforded by the rigid segmentation (Urciuoli, 2008) and, what Iargue is, a subtle but pervasive paternalism that permeates traditional approaches to“hard” and “soft” leadership skills. Furthermore, by employing a vision of distributedskills and capacities based on the traditional notion of the social commons (Pisano andShih, 2009), I will propose instead that leaders and followers alike are better served by

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