Leading With “The 5C Leader” Dr. James Weese
I had the pleasure of recently interviewing Author and international leader Dr. James Weese, when he was in Windsor as a Keynote Speaker for a Rotary event in February. Weese has been speaking all over the world, most recently in the Netherlands, in his role as Acting Vice Provost (International) and Professor of Leadership at Western University.
Dr. James Weese was Dean of the Faculty of Human Kinetics at the University of Windsor before becoming the Dean of Health Sciences at Western. His current position in Leadership — both as an educator, consultant and speaker — has culminated in his book, “The 5C Leader: Exceptional Leadership Practices for Extraordinary Times.” It explores how leaders can effectively energize colleagues to solve problems, engage in the leadership process, develop a clear vision and open the way to greater clarity, alignment and effectiveness.
The book contains exercises and a diagnostic tool to assess leadership strengths and areas for development. Even the cover has a message about leadership, symbolizing five ladders climbing to success and a reminder that “when you get there, don’t forget to throw one back down to help the next person’s climb to success!”
It was while Weese was travelling internationally that he had time to reflect on what makes a successful leader and came up with the 5Cs. These components are; Credibility, Compelling Vision, Charismatic Communicator, Contagious Enthusiasm and Culture Builder.
- Credibility involves being trustworthy by living by example, being truthful, having follow-through, and being accountable and consistent.
- Compelling Vision is an attempt to accomplish a desired end by having others focus on a clear plan. Valuing clear expectations, helping everyone to be accountable and knowing what is needed for success.
- Charismatic Communicator displays strong emotional intelligence, engages and cares about people, recognizes what they do is important and connects on an emotional basis by being inspiring and uplifting.
- Contagious Enthusiasm is infectious and shows a passion for people and the organization, inspires and excites others to go above and beyond to continually learn, develop, re-inventing themselves and looking for new challenges.
- Culture Builders can determine dominant beliefs and values of their followers and modify them to be consistent with the aims of the organization.
When I asked Weese if women had different leadership skills, he talked about their strengths in emotional intelligence and strong communication skills.
As both of us are Human Kinetic graduates, it led to a discussion about how sports develop leadership skills, discipline, teamwork, resilience and working for a common goal.
Weese stresses “the importance of creating opportunities for inclusion and diversity, having progressive policies and progressive human resources practices that actively recruit while developing and maximizing skill sets.”He also talked about the importance of having mentors and role models of leadership.
“Bob Boucher had a huge impact on my leadership path, as well as a former boss Dan Johnson from Dresden Trucking Company,” he comments. “Both led by example and taught me to never ask others to do something I wasn’t willing to do.”
He also mentioned a mentor he and I have in common who has influenced both our paths — Richard Peddie, former President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.
In our interview, I posed an interesting question to him on what three leaders he would invite to dinner (living or not)? He chose Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and his own mother who had a huge impact on his business life and leadership.
His advice to young leaders is “to always be a work in progress, read and stay current, be an active participant, seek out and take on leadership opportunities and remember that you can lead from any position.”
One of his favourite quotes is from Simon Sinek: “Be the leader that you wish you had.”
Learn more about Weese, read some testimonials and how to purchase his book, on his website.
Sherrilynn Colley-Vegh is the Director of Leadership Windsor/Essex at United Way. She is a former Principal, Chief Communications Officer and business owner with over 30 years of experience in education, administration, mentoring, consulting and community leadership. If you know a leader in the community to profile here in this column, please email: [email protected]