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Environmental Leadership Equals Essential Leadership

Environmental Leadership Equals Essential Leadership: Redefining Who Leads and How

John C. Gordon
Joyce K. Berry
with a foreword by Norman L. Christensen,
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Environmental Leadership Equals Essential Leadership
    Book Description:

    The important new approach to leadership that John Gordon and Joyce Berry explain in this book is built upon the experiences of environmental and natural resource organizations as they contend with complex, long-term problems. But the lessons learned apply beyond these groups--to all modern organizations, for-profit and non-profit, that are dealing with the complicated conditions of the twenty-first century.

    Leadership is a learned skill and can be acquired by anyone willing to make the effort, say the authors. And, through case studies of a variety of organizations, they emphasize that all members of productive groups must be ready to take the lead when their specific skills are most relevant to the problem at hand. The authors analyze how organizations and individuals can adopt this new leadership mode, and they discuss the results of a recent survey of leadership ideas and attitudes among active environmental leaders. Shifting emphasis away from celebrated leaders on the world stage, Gordon and Berry focus on "essential" leadership-the kind that engages each member of an organization on an everyday basis.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13297-7
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Management & Organizational Behavior

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xx)
    Norman L. Christensen, Jr.

    Fifteen years ago, I was asked to lead a new enterprise at Duke University, an entity we had the chutzpah to call a “School of the Environment.” The expectation of the university’s trustees was that this school would become a world leader in “education, research, and service to understand basic environmental processes and to protect and enhance the environment and its natural resources for future generations.” Like so many would-be leaders, especially in academe, I was selected to lead for reasons that were largely unrelated to the challenges I would face. I had been a pretty reasonable teacher and scholar...

  4. Preface: Why This Book?
    (pp. xxi-xxvi)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  6. Chapter 1 Becoming an Essential Leader
    (pp. 1-12)

    Environmental problems have characteristics that make them particularly hard to solve, and we define environmental leaders as people who are capable of solving environmental problems. As world population increases, so does the demand on natural and human resources. Increased human need coupled with the increased ability to travel and communicate make problems more complex. For example, the consumption of paper still increases in lock step with the number of people in the world. Most of the raw material for paper comes from forests, and forests provide many benefits to people other than paper. Thus arguments arise about the use of...

  7. Chapter 2 Leaders See Today’s World
    (pp. 13-34)

    In our first book,Environmental Leadership: Developing Effective Skills and Styles, we asked environmental leaders to contribute chapters describing their own personal leadership path and the skills and styles they believed were most important for today’s leaders. Nine years later, we returned to these chapter authors, as well as other environmental leaders, and asked them to respond to a questionnaire about leaders and leadership in the twenty-first century.

    The purpose of the questionnaire was to reexamine the lessons learned fromEnvironmental Leadershipand to provide a broader social context for environmental leadership. For instance, collaborative leadership styles were “front and...

  8. Chapter 3 Essential Leadership Attributes
    (pp. 35-46)

    The most important personal leadership characteristics to nurture and practice are:

    Vision, the ability to see ahead and communicate what you see

    Information, the ability to find, understand, and transmit needed information

    Inclusion, listening and using all available skills and ideas

    Decision, defining and pursuing an action agenda

    Dispatch, doing things now rather than later

    Standard setting, formulating the definition of success

    Humanity, using empathy and humor in dealing with others

    We think that creating a shared vision is the key to environmental leadership. This can involve the construction of formal vision or mission statements. The core activity, however, is...

  9. Chapter 4 Solving Environmental Problems: Long Times and Complexity
    (pp. 47-66)

    Environmental leaders are those who solve environmental problems using the resources of organizations, so problem definition is central to environmental leadership. In Chapters 4 and 5 we describe how environmental problems are defined and how, in turn, definitions shape solutions.

    Most environmental problems are first described as belonging to large classes that include general threats to the environment, such as “air pollution,” “water quality,” or “deforestation.” To be solvable, however, each instance within a class must have its own complete definition. We rely heavily on examples from our own experience to illustrate this. All of these involve forests and the...

  10. Chapter 5 Solving Environmental Problems: Emotion, Values, Integration, and Focus
    (pp. 67-82)

    In this chapter we examine two more examples from our experience in terms of our problem definition elements and try to derive leadership lessons from them. As in Chapter 4, both are complex sets of human activities related to complicated ecosystems and ideas. We have tried to summarize them accurately; the sources we cite at the end of the book can provide a much fuller (but still not complete) understanding of them.

    The Seventh American Forest Congress (SAFC) (Bentley and Langbein 1996) was an attempt to bring together all the stakeholders in American forests who were willing to concentrate on...

  11. Chapter 6 From Old Leadership to Essential Leadership
    (pp. 83-96)

    From the base of experience provided by the survey and our own, we describe what we think is the essence of environmental leadership. A new or changed form of leadership arose and was first recognized in organizations with an environmental purpose because they were most often faced with problems that were long term, complex, and with a particular need for integration across disciplines. For example, the USDA Forest Service began to change to a new leadership model in response to controversies over resources (see Chapter 4 for a Pacific Northwest example). It was clear by the early 1990s that the...

  12. Chapter 7 Installing Essential Leadership in Your Life and Organization
    (pp. 97-118)

    In this chapter we describe how to learn, and how to install in an organization, the principles we discuss in the preceding chapters. Each of the characteristics that environmental problems share shapes what has to be learned to practice effective environmental leadership.

    Long solution timesmean that very often the same individuals that define the problem are not there at the “end” for its resolution. Recall the Northwest Forest Plan example from Chapter 4. The lead organization, the USDA Forest Service, has had four chief executives in the ten years from the plan’s inception to the present time. And, almost...

  13. Chapter 8 Lessons from Popular Leadership Books
    (pp. 119-140)

    To many people associated with the environmental movement, effective opposition to business and industry exemplifies environmental leadership. Thus it will seem strange to some to look for leadership lessons in the business literature. For those who consider capitalist enterprise the major environmental problem, we offer two reasons to read this chapter anyway. First, if private enterprise is seen sometimes or always to be the opposition, the phrase “know your enemy” provides incentive. If, like us, you think that business and industry are not only the source of some environmental problems but also potentially the largest engines of environmental improvement, it...

  14. Chapter 9 Essential Leadership Now and in the Future
    (pp. 141-150)

    In the years since our publication ofEnvironmental Leadership: Developing Effective Skills and Styles,we have confirmed many of our initial ideas and modified others. Today, although we feel that there are more similarities between environmental leadership and other kinds of leadership than ten years ago, we also believe there is a special distinctiveness about environmental leaders. After many years of surveying students and professionals about why they pursue a natural resource or environmental career, one constant theme emerges. They have a passion for natural resources and a desire to “do good” for the environment and society. For most environmental...

  15. Appendix Leadership Survey Respondents’ Organizations and Positions at Time of Survey
    (pp. 151-152)
  16. References
    (pp. 153-156)
  17. Index
    (pp. 157-164)