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NGCSU lecture aims to inspire leadership
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Lecture series
When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Mondays
Where: Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St. NE, Gainesville
How much: Free
Next topic: “Preparing Teachers for 21st Century Students” by Barbara Dixon, coordinator for post-baccalaureate education studies

During tough economic times, local, state and national organizations are in need of good leaders.

As part of North Georgia College & State University’s ongoing lecture series, two professors talked Monday night about the qualities of good leadership.

“It’s so relevant to what we’re all experiencing right now,” said Wendy Walker, an assistant professor in the Mike Cottrell School of Business. “In uncertain times, there can be big tragic events such as Sept. 11 or stock market crashes but also disasters in organizations and businesses on a smaller scale that have a more immediate impact.”

During uncertain times, true leaders can emerge.

“It’s when you really don’t know what the future holds that you measure how people react,” said Ruben Boling, director of NGSCU’s Center for the Future of North Georgia and instructor of strategic management and entrepreneurship. “‘Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors,’ the saying goes. In the mid-2000s it was almost like being a genius without being one — any decision was probably going to be successful.”

But leaders now must “never waste a good crisis,” Boling said.

“A crisis is creative destruction because it causes us to think in a new way. It’s a new norm,” he said. “It’s never going to be what it was before. In the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, the next decade wasn’t the same. It’s not going to be the same now, no matter how much we long for it, and that’s the key to entrepreneurship, innovation and risk-taking.”

Boling and Walker spoke about general leadership characteristics, avoiding political and current business examples. They focused on characteristics such as integrity, determination, self-confidence and emotional stability.

“Why does it matter? Leaders affect people and society. They get things done in a good way,” Walker said. “With major movements for civil rights, scientific advancements and new types of travel, they come our way because of leaders. Some are more visible and some are invisible, but they make things happen.”

Leaders are able to convince people to see a vision larger than themselves and accomplish a goal that will benefit the organization or society as a whole, Boling said.

“With job loss, foreclosures, bank difficulties and the ups and downs of the stock market, we need the good leaders to come out,” he said. “The whole situation is greater than people can fathom.”
Integrity should direct leaders in the years ahead, the two professors said.

“In uncertain times, good leaders hold to their beliefs ...” Boling said. “They’re not always going to be right, but some movement is better than no movement.”

The lecture will be given again 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hampton Park Library in Cumming and 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday at North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega. The series then continues Monday in Gainesville with the next topic, “Preparing Teachers for 21st Century Students.”

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