Valencia Leaders Share Insights on Becoming an Inspirational Leader – Part V

sliceFor this final installment in the series based on a five-step action plan outlined in the Talent Management magazine article “Are You an Inspirational Leader?” Joyce Romano, vice president student affairs, shares her insights on inspirational leadership and creating opportunities for growth.


Step Five. Work at it.

Don’t wait for inspiration or passion to find you. Get up, get out, explore, find it yourself, and grab hold with both hands.

During her first year in college, Joyce enrolled in Philosophy 101 with Dr. Milton Mayeroff, who had published a book titled “On Caring.” The book examines the act of caring in detail, considering what it means and how it works, and points out that the object of caring can be a person, an idea, an organization, or a community.

Since that class, Joyce has been able to continuously work at incorporating the foundational ideas of the book into her own leadership development. Caring, Joyce learned, is a process – a way of relating – that involves development and growth.

Joyce’s way of improving the world is to create opportunities for others to grow in their own way and in their own time. “For my work with our student affairs team, this means many different ways to express my caring for the team as a whole and for individual members to the extent that I can,” she said. Dr. Romano demonstrates her caring by creating opportunities that celebrate their passion for students as a team with activities such as Professional Development Days. In addition, she routinely recognizes individual and team effort and acknowledges when folks are struggling or working hard during particular times of the year by saying “thank you.” Caring, for Joyce, is expressed through her congratulations, well wishes, and get well or sympathy notes when life happens to someone on the team. She shares difficult news in person rather than sending an email – and most importantly, is available to talk when someone needs an ear or an explanation of a decision.

“There are many ways to show you care as a leader. I try to take advantage of as many opportunities as I possibly can because inspiration and passion come from within the individual person – and caring is the way to nourish and grow it,” she said. “Through caring, a person lives the meaning of his or her life. Caring has a way of ordering other values and activities around it.”

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