Professional and Alumni

Leadership Academy

Leadership: 101

Attributes of Vital Organizations

By Dorothy I. Mitstifer - © 1999 by Kappa Omicron Nu. All rights reserved. Permission granted to KON chapters and members to use with appropriate credit.


Required Materials: 

  • 3x5 sticky notes
  • Flip Chart or Poster with sentence stems:
  • The best organizations I know . . . 
  • The worst organization I know . . . 
  • 9 transparencies (accompanies script)
  • Overhead projector

Introductions: Ask each participant to introduce self and respond to the following question.

What gives you joy in a leadership role? 


The rationale for this topic today isn't just that you are interested in providing better leadership to the student organizations in this University or in the profession. The more important rationale is that all the things you learn in organizations these days are skills that you will need as employees now and in the future-such intangibles as compatible personality styles, ability to take risks, willingness to share knowledge, decision-making skills, adeptness at learning, ability to handle contention and stress, and management of criticism. 

Many of these skills are learned through experience. One of the things I know about leadership is that all of you know more than you think you do. So we're going to start with what you know.

Activity: Bests and Worsts

Use your memory as a videotape playback of recent meetings you have attended.

  • In dyads, describe the best and worst organizational experience.
  • Identify characteristics to complete the following stems:
    • The best organization I know . . . 
    • The worst organization I know . . . 
    • Place ideas on "sticky notes" and place on the poster.
    • What do these ideas tell us about leadership? 
  • Share ideas. 
  • Group the similar ones. 
  • Identify the best and worst key ideas. 


Has anyone heard of the Herman Miller Company in Holland, Michigan?-the maker of home and office furniture?

Max DePree, retired CEO of Herman Miller Company, has become a leadership guru. His book titles are Leadership is an Art, Leadership Jazz, and his latest, Leading without Power, is perhaps his most famous. When asked for the best book on leadership, another leadership guru Peter Drucker says this latest book is his favorite. As a way of summary, I am going to explain our work today by giving DePree's recipe for organizations that become places for "realized potential."

View transparencies
(please note: clicking on the files below will allow you to download each transparency in MS PowerPoint format.)

Last Word

Max DePree says that "At the core of becoming a leader is the need always to connect one's voice and one's touch." We would do well to incorporate some of DePree's recipe into our own style so that we can be sure that organizations we lead are places of realized potential

Thank you for your participation.


DePree, M. (1997). Leading without power: Finding hope in serving community. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Contact if you have questions or need resources. Best wishes for a successful year!

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