Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Leadership in Changing Communities: The Impact of Paradigms upon Perceptions

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Leadership in Changing Communities: The Impact of Paradigms upon Perceptions

Article excerpt

The following is a preview of one of the topics to be covered during Leadership Training Institute seminars at the Congress of Cities, held November 10-14 in San Antonio.

Within American communities, there is an ongoing cycle of change and demographic shifts. Depending upon where you live, these changes can present a new frontier to political leaders every six months.

Encounters in these communities involve a series of face-to-face human interactions, different experiences, perceptions, paradigms, values, biases, cultures and assumptions.

In these one-to-one interactions, the political leader has no control of the other person. The other person is reacting to the verbal and nonverbal behavior displayed by the political leader and vice versa. In many of these one-to-one interdependent relationships, we receive behaviors from others who may not be in our best interest.

At that moment, there is a tendency to point the finger at the other person and blame that person for your own behavioral choices. The other person may be reacting to behaviors that you unconsciously demonstrated. As a leader, it becomes important to increase your individual awareness about behaviors that you demonstrate to others, verbally and nonverbally.

The most critical area of leadership behavior will be demonstrated via nonverbal behaviors. It is generalized that 90 percent of a message is derived and demonstrated by nonverbal behaviors. Individually, a person may have at least 20 percent awareness of their own nonverbal behaviors. Consequently, a person could be unaware of nonverbal behaviors being demonstrated to others such as shaking hands, eye contact, how close you stand to another person, hand gestures, etc. One of the most powerful nonverbal behaviors is demonstrated by the voice--tone, speed, pitch and volume. …

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