Leadership by the Books

Leadership by the Books

By: 25323 OCdt Kathleen Haddon

On Thursday, March 24, 2011, I had the opportunity to attend Harvey Schachter’s presentation entitled “Leadership by the Books”. Harvey is a well-known journalist working for The Globe and Mail, and is RMC’s current “Writer in Residence.”

He gave advice on leadership while highlighting theories presented by different authors. “As we begin our careers, we get even more insight into leadership – good and bad – as we watch the folks around us.” Harvey has seen many leadership “dos and don’ts” over the years through the observation of past and present leaders, and assessing his own leadership approaches.

“Certainly for many of you in the audience who are in the military, that organization takes leadership training seriously, and it’s at the core of this military college’s beliefs.” He comments on the importance of strong leaders in the military, an institution that demands it. He asks the audience: “How do you see leaders? Do you see them at the top, or at the centre? How do you see yourself, if you are leading today? At the top, or at the centre?” This question is one that has great relevance when regarding the students and the staff at RMC. In an environment where leaders are supposed to be made, it is important to assess all levels of leadership at the college as well as an individual basis.

Harvey takes a “no opinion” approach to his presentation while he discusses other people’s opinions and books. He attributes this middle-man stand point because he is a journalist, and journalists are supposed to report. Therefore, he gave advice that is only a report on findings or readings.

Harvey quotes: “…you have to look in the mirror and figure out who you are because you can’t lead in any other way. People change how they lead and manage only by changing who they are and how they think.”” Thinking outside the box of how to lead is important if one wants to be a great leader. In order to be a leader, one must have people willing and eager to follow them.

The fourth year business class learned some great advice on leadership that was presented in a way that explored different avenues and leadership styles. As fourth year 24802 Kaity Baskerville left the presentation, she said: “Harvey’s presentation allowed me as a future leader to really think about what kind of leader I want to be.”