By Jonathan Greenstein, Illinois State ’11
Barry Posner, California-Santa Barbara ’70, spoke yesterday to an enthusiastic crowd on organizational leadership. Posner is a co-author of The Leadership Challenge, a book named as one of the top 100 business books of all time. In fact, many of SigEp’s leadership and member development programs have been heavily influenced by Posner’s work.
The presentation was broken up into six lessons that are essential to good leadership. One lesson, which seemed to resonate well with the audience was, “YOU make a difference.” Posner said, “Leadership begins with understanding that you matter, you make a difference. The question is never, ‘will I make a difference?’ but ‘what difference will I make?’”
Posner also covered his past research and described the five best practices of exemplary leaders. For each practice, Posner used a fraternity situation where the practice would be applied. These practices included: model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act and encourage the heart. Posner’s research suggests that those who engage in these five practices have more leadership impact than those who don’t.
Throughout the speech, Posner used quotes from students at a variety of universities to convey the important message that leadership is just as relevant at the university level as it is in the “real world.” Fraternity brothers and executive board members should begin implementing these leadership practices now, as they will serve them well in the future.