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Angela Michaud

The Leadership Challenge UCF


February 24, 2014

Oh Snap!!
Oh snap! The university newspaper got a new photography editor and she is just about to
change things up! I was recently given the opportunity to take on the role of photography editor
for the university's weekly newspaper and so far, everything seems to have been going well but
the other day, Wendy came to me with a rather important concern. Wendy is a junior
photographer who has stated that the senior photographers have given them a special assignment.
As I listened to her concerns, I realized this was not just a typical situation in which the senior
photographers pull rank or play a hard joke on the junior photographers, this case is far more
serious and it attacks every last value this town stands for, the ethics this university upholds, and
the standard of justice with a fair and unbiased position that the newspaper is known for. The
senior photographers have asked the junior photographers to take a series of inappropriate photos
with various specifications for each one and then they are expected to post these photos to their
facebook pages. Some of these photos require the photographer to go so far as trespassing and
breaking laws in an effort to gain the required image. As Wendy explained what was expected,
my thoughts turned to that of the lack of integrity, credibility, honesty, and respect - all four,
values that are key to the success of this university and this newspaper.
As I held a meeting with the senior photographers and confronted them with the issue, I
was met with a great amount of backlash in that I am admittedly, not as talented of a
photographer as quite a few of them and I have not necessarily worked on as many projects as
they have. This supposedly, negates my standing and my position in their eyes due to the fact
that such a hazing type of action has "always been a part of becoming a photographer for the
newspaper". Knowing that this lashing out is more a reaction to the fact that they have been
caught as well as the fact that a few of them are rather upset that they did not get asked to be the
leader instead, I don't let it affect me too much. I am confident in myself and in the fact that the
administrative leadership at the school chose me for this very reason, for the fact that I have
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displayed a leadership capability and a value of possessing integrity and credibility. With this in
mind, I quickly move beyond the initial surface frustrations the senior photographers are
mentioning and I address the situation from a standpoint with which they will have to look
deeper, take ownership for their own values, and accept responsibility for their previous actions
as well as their roles as senior photographers moving forward from here.
The first point we will address is that of "Consciousness of Self". Not all of them will
have been through leadership classes so not all of them will have heard of the 7 C's of the Social
Change Model. With this in mind, I will explain that consciousness of self is an awareness of the
beliefs, values, attitudes, and emotions that motivate one to take action. I will ask them to think
to themselves what it is that motivates them in everything they do and then I will have them
write those things down on a piece of paper. Because this will probably be a pretty intense
conversation to begin with, I will leave out the opportunity for them to share until the end and
even then, I will allow them to opt out of sharing if they do not want to. Extremely talented
photographers are often introverted type of personalities and they tend to think deeply about
situation such as this so I expect that they will think about it on their own a lot more, especially
once we finish. I will briefly cover the various values we are looking for in our newspaper
photographers and put them on notice that it is an expectation that has always been a part of the
newspaper staff standards and will continue to be as well.
Another "C" we will address is that of congruence. Congruence is simply stated as
thinking, feeling, and behaving with consistency, genuineness, authenticity, and honesty. A
great amount of accepting the responsibility that surrounds the values of congruency is that of
engaging in citizenship. In the book, "Leadership for a Better World", authors Komives,
Wagner, and associates state, "Citizenship involves working with others and it includes
understanding of community development, and the ability to build coalitions." (p.160) I will ask
them to write down three things they value as an individual as it relates to citizenship.
We will discuss Commitment, both on an individual level, as well as a group level. I will
ask them to define what their value of commitment to their photography is and then I will relate
it to that of the newspaper's commitment to diversity, integrity of journalism, and credibility in
our practices of how we gain our information and images, as well as how we present it.

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The group goals to be discussed will be that of collaboration and common purpose.
These should both tie directly into the individual goals we previously addressed. I will remind
them that collaboration is that of working with others in a common effort. It constitutes the
cornerstone value of the group leadership effort because it empowers self and others through
trust. In addition, having a common purpose is working with shared aims and values. It
facilitates the group's ability to engage in collective analysis of the issues at hand and the task to
be undertaken. Between these two group goals and our individual goals, I should then be able to
lay down a simple set of standards and expectations. A complete listing of the 7 C's will be
posted on the office bulletin board for simple visual reference as a silent reminder, as well as a
revised statement of standards and expectations for all newspaper contributors, be it
photographers, editors, journalists, or other office personnel.
The stakeholders who have the most invested interest are my senior photographers. They
are the reason we've called this meeting to begin with. Various other stakeholders would include
my administrative overhead leadership whom I will be sending a complete report to, as well as a
community of students who depend on us to be student leaders within the school and to represent
the school in a true and honest manner with utmost integrity and credibility. The individuals that
stand to feel the effects and impact of this situation the most are the junior photographers. I will
very definitely have to keep a keen eye on the senior photographers for a little while to make
sure they are not "making the junior photographers pay" for what is likely to be considered tattletelling or ratting the seniors out. At all costs, I will keep my leadership involved and up to date
so they have a running development of the situation until we feel that it has successfully been
accepted and such a practice as the "induction of the junior photographers" has been abated.
I completely expect resistance from the senior photographers themselves. They are not
going to be happy that they are the group that got caught. No one ever enjoys being busted out
on a long standing practice that years before them, has always been an expected requirement of
the next group coming into seniority. I intend to handle it with as much calm as possible. I will
handle it in such a way that I am hoping they internalize the responsibility as individuals and are
then able to take the responsibility of taking on a higher level of integrity as a group as well. As
explained in the first part of this paper, I intend to make it an exercise and somewhat of a small
workshop in individual ownership of values, ethics. and integrity, while outlining several of the 7
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C's that will apply the most directly to the situation. Above all, we will be utilizing the
citizenship ideal in an effort to maintain community, collaboration, and over all civility in the
discussion. Lee Cockerell, former executive vice president of operations at Walt Disney World
Resorts, stated in his book, "Creating the Magic": "Take your role seriously. If you want to be
surrounded by great employees, being a teacher, coach, and counselor is far more effective than
just being a boss." (p.123) My intent is to coach the senior photographers on their actions and to
help them take responsibility for the situation and set a desired change in place, rather than
simply throwing down demands that are likely to be refuted and outright disregarded.

In the

book entitled, "The 360 Degree Leader", John Maxwell states that one should "stand in for their
leader whenever possible." In this case, I intend to handle it as much as possible so as to
thereby, establish my capability and my role as the leader. I will refer back to our leadership's
standards and expectations so as to uphold the values of the higher leadership and the
organization as a whole but I will handle the meeting on my own.
In the end, I expect a bit of push back to begin with and I still expect at least one
belligerent photographer in the group but in the way I intend to handle the situation, I do not
expect to have elevated voices or any type of major contention. My overall intention is to coach
the team into an ownership of values and a greater pride in their school and the roles they have
been given the opportunity to be a part of.

Works Cited
Cockerell, L. (2008). Creating magic: 10 common sense leadership strategies from a life at
Disney. New York: Currency Doubleday.
Komives, S., Wagner, W., & associates. (2009). Leadership for a Better World. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass.
Maxwell, J. C. (2005). The 360 [degree symbol] leader: developing your influence from
anywhere in the organization. Nashville: Nelson Business.

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