Introduction I interviewed Dr. BillindaTebbenhoff for this paper.
She is the Associate Dean, for the Division ofUndergraduate Studies and an instructor with office located at Virginia Scienceand Technology Campus. She attended Radford University where she got her BSN,University of Virginia for her MSN degree and the Johns Hopkins Universitywhere she graduated with a DNP. Dr. Tebbenhoff has taught in higher educationfor more than a decade and specializes in the scholarship of teaching andlearning. Prior to her career in nursing education, she was a researcher at theNational Institutes of Health studying the association of infection and autoimmunityand psychopathology in children and adolescents.
She has been a leader for fiveyears now. As an associate dean, Dr. Tebbenhoff is responsible for supervisingthe School’s academic program and providing general leadership and oversightfor all academic activities. She also oversees course curriculum development incollaboration with relevant School committees and the course directors. She supervisesadjunct faculty, lecturers and units providing support for students.
Her positionas a leader made her a good fit for my interview and some topics we addressedare discussed below. Leading Teams Dr. Tebbenhoff has a large team under her management.
Behindthe success of this team is her ability to communicate efficiently, welcomeconstructive feedback and, maintains great team work. As a transformationalleader, she indicated that the leadership style she implements is based on thesituation she and her team are facing at the moment, (Melnyk -Overholt, 2015). She indicated that, her success in this area is alsofrom her ability to “disconnect, not to take the role too seriously and, avoidmaking disapprovals personal or tries not to put myself first”. She mentioned agreat challenge earlier in her career in this domain when she was looking for everyone’sapproval. She now admits that, it is unrealistic but, okay for a leader not tobe liked by all.
As a transformationalleader, she is empathetic, expects high performances from her employees andbelieves that, “most people really want to do a good job”. She finds integrity,communication, and problem-solving ability as an essential tool in anysuccessful leadership,(Delgado, & Mitchell, 2016;2015;). LeadershipInnovation Leaders are often thought to be creative thinkers with the ability togenerate or implement innovative ideas that can help move the organizationforward. As a leader, one may either choose to ignore these innovative ideasand continue leading the organization the way it is, or embrace the innovationand carry the organization towards these new experiences. Innovation hasincreased competition amongst organizations, and has led to increase inproductivity using newer technology and evidenced based research. “InnovationLeadership involves adopting certain styles of leadership in organizations toinfluence employees to produce innovative ideas, products and solutions”.
Dr.Tebbenhoff indicated that, as a leader she has more information than herfollowers which enable her to reduce certain complexities by using thisinformation to bring together her followers in the pursuit of innovation. As atransformational leader, through idealized influence, she also shares the riskof innovative actions with followers thereby enabling, and empowering them tochallenge existing management processes, practices, or structures which in returncan bring positive change to the organization (Vaccaro, Jansen, Van, Frans& Volberda, 2012).
EmotionalCompetence Being able to manage emotions has been shown to be one of themain characteristic of an effective leader, (Erez, Misangyi, Johnson, LePine,& Halverson, 2008). Emotional competence according to Daniel Goleman involves”the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, formotivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in ourrelationships”, (Wang, Wilhite, & Martino, 2016). Dr. Tebbenhoff, indicatedthat emotions may sometimes pose as a challenge, or affect a leader’s abilityto efficiently decide. For example, like many leaders, she sees and treats herfollowers separately as a whole human being. If a staff is not doing a goodjob, instead of looking at the quality of the work done she looks at otherfactors that may have influenced that staff’s performance such asstress/illness, family crisis, bereavement and others, before going forth totake an action.
She indicated that putting your feet in your followers’ shoesmay help you understand what they are going through, however, a frequent self-assessmentand acknowledgement of your strength and weaknesses enables you to see theeffect your emotions may have on others. While it is hard not to be emotional, aleader must remain professional and this should not prevent them from doingtheir job because we must be accountable for our actions. Crisis Management Effective crisis management requires good leadership skillsbecause the lack of these skills may lead to inadequate management of crisiswhich can be detrimental to the organization or followers. Like Dr. Tebbenhoff,in addition to Kapucu & Ustun (2017), crisis managemententails a lot of “inter-organizational collaboration and leadership skills”. Crisisto some extent can be a test of a leader’s ability and the way a leaderaddresses it says a lot about his or her competence.
While crisis managementcan be a challenge in an organization, it may help the leader assess theeffectiveness of his or her current strategy. As a result, it may detect ifimprovement is needed or, the strategy needs to be abandoned all together. Accordingto Kapucu & Ustun (2017), crises may create a sensitive environment whereleaders may have to make sudden and effective decisions using limitedinformation which as a result, “emotions and instincts may quite easilyoverride intellect and logic”. They however went forth to ascertain that,leaders need to reduce this impact or prevent it from happening by taking anumber of measures prior to, during and, after any crisis. Spirituality Spirituality is a significant part not just in leadership andsuccess but, is a commitment that many should consider. Dr. Tebbenhoffindicated that spirituality is one of the reasons why she has been very successfulas a leader.
She believes that though as a leader she has a supervisor, theyboth are being subjected to a supernatural being who watches over all what theydo and to whom she believes she will someday give account to. She thinks thatincorporating spirituality to her work has help bring more meaning to her life.As stated in Bolman & Deal (2011; pg. 21), “Spirit and faith are the coreof human life. Without them, you lose your way. You live without zest. You gothrough motions, but do not know why.
” The concept of spirituality has beenlinked by many to religion but, irrespective of these interpretations, leadersmust be very knowledgeable and aware of how important spirituality is to theirfollowers. Like Dr. Tebbenhoff, “many people have a spiritual practice and relyon it to help them succeed as leaders and work effectively with colleagues,”(Wheatley, 2002; Pg. 21). Spirituality in workplace has been shown to be verybeneficial because, it can lead to a greater perception of trust, increaseoutput, improve organizational support and create a greater sense of commitmentamong employees. Change and Conflict Unlike the InternationalJournal of Conflict Management, that believes that, avoiding conflict canbe a way through which leaders resolve conflicts, Dr. Tebbenhoff strongly feelsall conflicts brought to a leader’s attention should be addressed.
Reasonsbeing that, unresolved conflicts sometimes can be damaging and may negativelyinfluence output by reducing productivity or lead to litigations. Conflicts area normal occurrence at a workplace if it is constructive because, constructiveconflicts can lead to changes that may positively enhance growth and foster organizationaldevelopment. These conflicts can sometimes occur from followers disagreeing amongthemselves or disagreeing to the leader’s decision and vice versa. While it maysometimes be difficult to reach an amicable agreement, Dr.
Tebbenhoff admittedto going with the majority. According to Yang, 2014, a leader’s goal “is tocreate a suitable work environment and implement change initiatives by beingreceptive to disagreements, facilitating communication and inspiring confidencefor the attainment of a common goal”. Dr. Tebbenhoff indicated that afterconflict, comes change and we can always grow from conflicts. TransformationalCoaching Transformational coach is one that identifies andcommunicates vision and values and asks for the involvement of the workgroup toachieve the vision, (Rivers, Pesata, Beasley, & Dietrich, 2011). A leaderwith knowledge of transformational coaching can be of great influence on the realizationof the organization mission, based on her ability to work in closecollaboration with her followers to make sure that, resources needed to achievethese goals are obtained in order to reach these goals in a collaborativemanner. As a great coach, Dr.
Tebbenhoff indicated that she tries to beapproachable, welcoming, resourceful, and as a result of her connections, shehas more information than her followers which helps facilitate the realizationof these goals. Along with her team, they share good practices and engage inexecutive trainings to improve success. Conclusion It was an honor to interview Dr.
Tebbenhoff. She is very enthusiastic about her role as a leader, empowering herfollowers and helping them to be the best they possibly can. It was an amazingexperience for me, since she had so much to offer as a leader during ourinterview. By the time I walked out of her office, I felt so optimistic aboutmy endeavors, and convinced that I can handle any leadership position offeredto me.
My discussion with her went beyond writing my assignment. I believe shemade me psychologically and intellectually ready for any leadership role. She indicatedthat leadership is knowledge and with the knowledge and skills acquired here, Ican lead any team.