Lecture: Decisions make good leaders
November 1, 2010 —
In order for leaders to be successful, they need to find a constructive way in getting their teams to bring up different viewpoints.
At least that’s what Michael A. Roberto, a professor from Rhode Island, discussed in his lecture Thursday, the latest in the Conflict and Community series.
“The way we construct teams matters,” he said.
Roberto received his doctorate from Harvard Business School and has since published two books and won several awards for his research and teaching.
His lecture focused on “deciding how to decide,” which involves leaders planning four factors: composition, context, communication, and control.
Roberto said composition is about deciding who will be on the team; context is about setting ground rules and norms for behavior; communication is about how the group will talk about ideas. Control is about the leader and how much control he/she will exert and if he/ she will always be in the room for discussion.
“Divergent points of view don’t just spring about naturally,” said Roberto.
He said individuals often feel like they can’t speak up because of their place of rank. However, it is the job of the leader to construct a plan to get these ideas heard.
“The whole time I was thinking of how to implement it into my counsel,” said Kyle Rexer, sociology and psychology sophomore.
Rexer is the student adviser for a community council of freshman. After hearing the lecture, he said he is considering having the students turn in individual reports to him so that it is not a whole group opinion.
Stacy Stremlow, a history and international studies senior, said she enjoyed the lecture and that it brought up some interesting ideas. “A lot of people aren’t probing into how to make decisions,” she said.
The reception outside the theater included live music, refreshments, a book sale and a book signing by Roberto.
The event was the seventh annual event in honor of James E. O’Neill, Jr., a man widely regarded as one who helped SVSU expand from a college into a university. He was a national expert on school finance and reform and was a state representative in 1967. In May 1993, he was inducted into the Michigan Education Hall of Fame.
“[I]t will bring together people from many diverse walks of life to present lectures in areas where James E. O’Neill, Jr. dedicated his life’s work on behalf of humanity,” said the inside cover of the program.
The next lecture in the Conflict and Community series will be from Dow visiting scholar Dr. Henrie M. Treadwell 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2, in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall.