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Newsletter of the School of Public Administration Spring / Summer 2012 exchange University of Nebraska at Omaha 6 Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. - Ralph Waldo Emerson “Leading for the Future” Paul Bryant - Teaching by Example Paul Bryant teaches that a person’s standing in the community is not the only factor that empowers success. It’s also how you stand. And sit. And shake hands. And maintain eye contact. “I teach the value of interpersonal communication,” says Bryant. “How to stand tall and straight. How to make and keep eye contact. To give a strong ‘executive handshake.’ To listen with your eyes and your ears. “Kids today don’t use their phones to talk, they text. They get their information off a screen. Their social networks are all online. It’s robbing them of the ability to interact on a human level.” Whether it’s a weak handshake, slouching in a chair or looking down when you speak, Bryant says poor interpersonal skills can limit a person in school and in business. “Employers hire and promote those who they know, they trust and they like,” he says. “If there’s an opening and an employee they trust says they know someone who might be right for the job, the reality is they may get 150 applications but that human connection will make one rise to the top of the stack.” If management is a goal, strong interpersonal skills become even more vital. “Being able to interact and communicate,” he says, “is what gets employees to believe in you and follow you.” Bryant knows how to lead. He has enjoyed success in both the corporate and non-profit worlds. He served as a senior vice president with the Gallup Organization and in management positions with Wells Fargo and First National Bank. He was president and CEO of the Urban League of Nebraska and the United Minority Contractors Association. He left his six-figure paycheck to become executive director at Wesley House, where he led the city’s oldest social service agency back from the brink of failure due to poor money management and transformed it into the Wesley House Leadership Academy of Academic and Artistic Excellence. Most recently, he moved on from Wesley House to teach leadership classes at the School of Public Administration, at Buffett Middle School, the Douglas County Corrections Center and through the Leadership Institute for Urban Education he founded. Many of his lessons are drawn from his first book, “The Purpose-Living Leader,” which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and spawned a followup, “The Purpose-Living Journal.” In “The Purpose-Living Leader,” Bryant weaves personal stories into a compelling account of perseverance, faith, hope and determination. Chapter three contains a formula he created to explain the traits exhibited by leaders of substance. “The Equation for Purpose-Living Leadership,” he writes, is (VP + CP) ÷ (F x H) = I. That translates to Vision & Purpose plus Courage & Perseverance divided by Faith times Hope equals Influence. “A Purpose-Living Leader has a vision for where they want to go and an altruistic purpose for reaching that destination,” Bryant writes. “Courage is a must . . . because pursuing their vision will often take them to the road less traveled. Perseverance is what they need to stay the course when the road gets rough and opposition surfaces. Faith is an unwavering belief that they will succeed no matter the obstacles and it empowers them to persist without quitting. Hope is future focused on faith. “Influence is the most important element of leadership. Without followers, a leader will find it difficult to reach their destination.” (continued on page 2) THE

2012 Spring/Summer Newsletter

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