On Thursday, February 28th, we attended the monthly meeting/luncheon of the First Friday Club of Cleveland where we listened to a presentation by Dr. Michael D. Johnson, a social scientist by training who became the 25th President of John Carroll University (JCU) in June of 2018 after serving admirably in other important positions, such as the Provost of Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
On this day, Dr. Johnson talked about the values and benefits of the administration of power based on the Jesuit Catholic principles of inspired leadership and Ignatian conversation. A very kindly person, Dr. Johnson shared with us his notes that summarized his message as follows:
- Don’t take leadership for granted. It is happening around you every day.
- Take time to develop a clear vision for your team.
- Practice leadership in all that you do, big and small, and how you interact with others on a daily basis.
- Don’t rush to judgments and decisions. Give conversations and decisions the time that they need, because discourse and reflection trump simple decisiveness. But, once decided, implement those decisions and move on.
- Inspired leadership is about leading by example rather than authority, avoiding micromanagement, and putting everyone in your institution first even if it is painful for some. Your success will be measured by the success of others, not a list of individual accomplishments.
- Inspired leadership is a process of thinking forward about how your life will change and preparing yourself accordingly.
- Your greatest reward will be the people you meet and love along the way.
On that last point, Dr. Johnson said that he often tells his students, “no one goes to meet their maker wishing they had put more money in the bank. Rather, we go thinking of all those who led us, who we have walked with, who we have led, and the resulting gift of the love that God has given us.”
Mr. Johnson’s wife, Ms. Jill Kobus Johnson, and several officials from JCU including Dr. Ed Peck, Vice President of University Mission and Identity, who introduced Dr. Johnson and Mr. John Scarano, Director of Campus Ministry, who gave the opening prayer, accompanied him.
Another conversation that we had was with the parents of a young man whose wife immigrated to the United States from China with the assistance of Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC. They told us that when their son and their daughter-in-law performed emcee duties at a Chinese cultural event, he announced in Chinese and while his wife announced in English. As a result, quite a few heads were turned in surprise.