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Character Clearinghouse

Florida State University

How to Lead in Turbulent Times

Reviewed by Allison McComb

Dr. Rue’s article on How to Lead in Turbulent Times is the kind of piece that should be standard reading for all managers; it summarizes key information that would be helpful as early as the on-boarding process. Via analogy and a fairly thorough (though concise) literature review, Dr. Rue posits tangible behaviors (accumulating micro-adaptations or connecting peers with purpose, for example) based on well-known change and leadership authors.

Leaders, by definition, are thought of as having strong character, however, character (specifically, the behaviors that might define it) can be tested heavily in times of crisis and change. It is not enough to assume that staff, colleagues, or students will understand leaders or their leadership style. And there’s no guarantee they will appreciate or respond to a leader simply for their positional role. Dr. Rue highlights hallmarks of both leadership and character in addressing the rapidly shifting sands of higher education: connection, transparency, capacity-building, empowerment and self-care.

The article is written more specifically for an administrator (and perhaps faculty) audience but can be applied, with some adaptation, to students and student leaders as well. The concepts and lessons of depersonalizing conflict and creating small (collective) change are, to this reviewer, universal across all audiences. Thinking of advocacy and activism, the article’s focus on change is perhaps most relative. Change is done at all latitudes, interconnected, and can be facilitated by one person (or a small group). In thinking about moral behavior, Dr. Rue’s article is a quick road map that goes beyond leadership. That is, treating people as thinking individuals, valuing their voice and creativity, giving them (colleagues, staff, students) wings and acknowledging their contributions, and working on one’s self first… is a larger prescription for being construed as both authentic and successful as a self-manager. Leaders, after all, lead by moral example.


About the Character Clearinghouse

Character Clearinghouse is an online center of information about research, curricula, and practices relating to the moral development of college students and features resources such as program descriptions, interviews, and other types of articles. […] Find out more »