Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Leadership Deveolpment

Written by: on March 13, 2015

This week’s articles were insightful and I enjoyed reading them. In her article, Management learning: A scholarship of practice centred on attention, she approached the problem of managerial learning by looking at both the academic and practical aspects of learning. Ramsey studied the attitudes, experience, and way that managers employ what they have learned. Dr. Ramsey states, “I have sought to develop a scholarly practice that will support manager-learners improve their practice. In doing so, like Antonacopoulou (2010), I have proposed a change in the scholarly practices of business schools; I have argued for a scholarship of practice that centres attention rather than knowledge.”[1] Ramsey is seeking to help academic institutions change their teaching style from “book learning” to incorporate practical ways for students to experience what they are learning.

In a second article, Provocative theory and a scholarship of practice, Ramsey illustrates the, “three elements of such a scholarship of practice: an engagement with ideas, a practice of inquiry, and a focus on moment-by-moment relating within practice.”[2] The article explores the, “provocative theory, which provides space for management learners to experiment with and evaluate ideas, rather than emphasizing the development of sound understanding of those theories.”[3] These three elements remind me of the way I learned basic leadership skills in the military. We did have classes and training on leadership, but we also had hands-on and real world experience. A book can explain how a leader should think, reason, and act. However, throughout my professional life I’ve found that a book or formal training only introduces me the concepts. Leadership is not just following the rules; rather it involves understanding how to live by the spirit of the law and not the letter of it.

Ramsey provides three aspects of practice-centred learning. “First, practice-centred learning involves the physical; it is not a learning that just goes on inside the head, so to speak, apparent only in knowledge, understanding or attitudes but is seen more in actions. Second, these actions are generative; they make the world rather than express it in some way. Finally, these actions are frequently spontaneous rather than the result of some form of premeditation. This spontaneity emerges relationally; it is a social performance, created and recreated ephemerally, moment by moment.”[4] As people develop leadership traits and experience, they increase their practical knowledge. This can then be harnessed within an organization to enhance the effectiveness of the workers and operation of the business. Leadership and management is an art form that is developed as a person matures and grows in their unique style and skills. There isn’t a “one size fits all” model that makes a person a great manager. The situation and climate in which one manages is also part of the equation. Just because one is a good manager in one organization or industry, doesn’t mean that they will be good outside of their area of expertise or in a different culture. Good leaders within an organization can move things forward. Bad leaders or managers detract from positive performance.


[1] Ramsey, Caroline. Management Learning: A scholarship of practice centred on attention? Saga Publishing. (2013)

[2] Ramsey, Caroline. Provocative theory and a scholarship of practice. Saga Publishing. (2011)

[3] Ibid., 12

[4] Ibid., 5

About the Author

Richard Volzke

5 responses to “Leadership Deveolpment”

  1. Richard,
    You have a “skill” to take concepts — including (especially) complex ones, distill what is presented into a synopsis that brings forth the essential elements — the essence so that it might be utilized. It shows again in your writing this week. Thank you!

    In the reading I began to think of “managers” as people in the center – almost like a cog in the wheel. There are expectations and factors that are streaming toward the manager, but it is how the manager utilizes and implements the influences, expectations and structural factors towards and with those he/she is responsible for that is the critical factor — the outward movement.

    One of the challenges I sense is that one can be a manager and not necessarily a leader. There are situations both in Christian organizations and in the business arena where a manager is a task accomplisher. When I think of a leader I think about many things, one of those being empowerment. Any thoughts on how a manager employs flexibility and adaptability after reading Ramsey and thinking back to Open Leadership by Li? (Just beginning to think about the connection myself!).

    • Richard Volzke says:

      Thank you. I want to throw out caution regarding the concept of a manger as being the center of everything, because if a manager would think in this way then he or she would not be able to handle everything that would come their direction. If they act as the center, then they can’t effectively manage. I understand the concept of a manager as taking in many factors and redirecting the movement outward. However, a manager should also know how to effectively delegate so that they aren’t stuck as the cog in the wheel. In many ways, the manager should be able to sit outside of the process and to have oversight of the people and work efforts. At the same time, the manager needs to be able to step into the trenches with the team when necessary and feasible. I have known managers that act as the center of all of the input and output that needs to flow through the day-to-day work, however they quickly get in over their heads and become overwhelmed. Often, these types of managers become a bottleneck.

      You are right that there are situations where a manager role is little more than a task accomplisher, and I believe those companies that have listed such a position have incorrect titles for these roles. Those individuals are supervisors, and not managers. What I have found in my years in business is that organizations have a habit of miss-titling positions to make them more attractive to prospective employees. At the same time, there are people who are good at managing specific processes or tasks, but are not leaders. Alternatively, there are people in leadership positions that aren’t leaders either. People often use the words leadership and management interchangeably, but they are different.

  2. Richard,

    You say in your post, “Leadership is not just following the rules; rather it involves understanding how to live by the spirit of the law and not the letter of it.” I could not agree more. Leadership is so much more than “playing by the rules.” It is ALWAYS about understanding the context into which one is coming that makes the difference. It is also rooted in building and maintaining good relationships with others — and not just for political reasons.

    Frankly, I have met more poor leaders than good leaders. What accounts for this? Lots of things I am sure. But the biggest reason is that most leaders, in my opinion, don’t understand what leadership really is. If leadership is only about power and position then we are in trouble. If leadership is about sincerely and humbly serving people and is dedicated to the good of all, then we just might have some hope.

    My hope during this LGP program is that we each come away with a handle on what it means to be a good leader. I am not sure we are there yet, but I am hopeful that we are going in the right direction.

    • Richard Volzke says:

      You are correct that it seems there are more bad leaders than good ones. In mt opinion, one reason for this is that people are promoted above their level of competence or abilities. I have seen, in my business career, that many individuals have been moved into management roles that did not possess the training, maturity, or spiritual wisdom necessary to be a leader. God calls each one of us to certain roles in the body of Christ, and not everyone is called to be a leader. Unfortunately, in US culture, we have instilled the belief that everyone should be a leader on some level. I don’t believe that this is true. Some are called to be leaders and some followers.

  3. Telile Fikru Badecha says:

    Richard, It makes sense to me when you say, “Leadership and management is an art form that is developed as a person matures and grows in their unique style and skills. There isn’t a “one size fits all” model that makes a person a great manager. The situation and climate in which one manages is also part of the equation.” Leadership also requires openness, sensitivity, and empowering others to work together toward the common goal. Thank you.

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