UACES Facebook iLEAD Virtual Seminar Exceeds Expectations
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iLEAD Virtual Seminar Exceeds Expectations

by Brad Runsick, County Extension Agent-Staff Chair, Baxter County - September 26, 2022

Dynamic Ethical Leadership

iLead Virtual Session #2 was a great official start to the virtual component of the cohort.

With our iLead leaders scattered around the globe for other leadership trips, Emily Smith, a program associate in community and economic development, did a phenomenal job lining up an agenda for this session.

I hate to generalize, but I think I speak for most people when I say this. Any time I see a virtual meeting, training, etc. on my calendar that is scheduled for more than 30 minutes, I have this visceral, negative response. Thoughts of dread of the imminent mental fatigue and visions of glazed over participants’ eyes fill my brain. Thanks to our facilitator and speakers, this session did not live up to that expectation at all!

This session was led off by 4-H Instructor Hope Bragg giving us the rundown on 4-H record books and how that process of recordkeeping could be beneficial to us iLeaders in our own positions and roles as leaders. For the rest of the time, we heard from Dr. Michael Mills, associate dean at University of Central Arkansas, and the different ways leaders find themselves in the role, particularly emergent and assigned (or appointed) leaders. Some great breakout discussions were had, and here’s what I took away from our time, which was not at all filled with mental fatigue or glazed over eyeballs!

It's curious how I’ve looked at those who have led me in the past. Those who were emerged leaders, I probably never really looked at them as leaders at all. I would guess that I rarely had the thought, “oh, this person is my leader.” However, that’s exactly what role they were playing. They were either someone I just liked being around or was able to get on board with their mission for the group. And as mentioned in Dr. Mills’ presentation, that person wasn’t always the formal, titled leader of the group.

On the flip side, those folks who have been in positions over me that were assigned or appointed, it had a much more authoritative, managerial feel. That might have a negative connotation for some, but I can certainly point to some of those assigned leaders who were still effective.  Still yet, there seems to be much more room for error for these leaders to not be able to garner the respect of the group, which will no doubt cut into their effectiveness.

One feels innate. One feels a bit more forced.

So, what do we do with this information? The way I see it, we must first identify which we are, and it may very well be different to different groups of people that we lead. Knowing whether we, ourselves, are an emerged or assigned leader to a given group of people will shed a light on how we’re viewed by those we lead. It might change the approaches we use, the words we say, and what leadership methods we employ.

A great topic to consider as we roll through these iLead sessions! Onward to Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center and Northeast Research and Extension Center in October.

To learn more about the iLEAD program contact Julie Robinson, or Lisa Davis,