Better Angels Educational Materials

Video programs in the Leadership Skills and Values series:

Moral Values and Effective Leadership investigates the links between moral and ethical behavior and effective leadership. It examines the ways in which individuals make moral and ethical decisions and argues that empathy is the most important aspect of moral and ethical leadership. (45:00)

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Service: The Heart of Leadership traces the essential links between effective leadership behavior and devotion to serving a larger cause. It stresses the importance of Robert Greenleaf’s notion of servant leadership and applies its central insights to seven contemporary examples. (25:00) Watch the teaser below.

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What Leaders Need to Know summarizes information about the nature of effective leadership behavior in all environments and provides insights about balancing successful goal achievement with the need to maintain productive relationships within any group. It addresses the six primary contingencies affecting any leadership process: individual leader character, follower characteristics, group goals and tasks, available resources, group size and structure, and pressures of the surrounding environment. (36:00)

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Personal Mastery for Effective Leadership: You Are Your Own Best Teacher is built on the insight that leaders in all walks of life must learn to manage their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors before they can hope to lead other people effectively. It identifies the major obstacles to personal mastery and outlines several basic disciplines for developing the habits that make for individual effectiveness, especially in leadership roles. (40:00)

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The Communication Cycle at Work traces the basic processes of communication in all forms: from a sender, through a message channel, to a receiver, in an environment of feedback and noise. It provides basic distinctions between the major networks of communication: intrapersonal, interpersonal, small-group, public address, organizational, and mass media. It focuses on the nature and functions of nonverbal cues and listening behavior as keys to effective leadership and group goal achievement. (40:00)

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Working Together: Keys to Collaborative Leadership addresses the advantages of and challenges to effective collaborative leadership under a variety of circumstances. Among the most dangerous internal obstacles to effective collaborative leadership are ignorance, fear, anger, groupthink, ideology, and short-term thinking. Conversely, for effective collaborative leadership, we need courage, self-control, rational thinking, long-term perspective, open communication, and reliable knowledge. (38:00)

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The Power of Vision at Work addresses the capacity of the most effective and far-reaching leaders – sometimes called “visionaries” – not only to see clearly what is going on around them, but also to see what should be going on even when it’s not. It summarizes the processes of forming inspiring visions and offers suggestions for developing commitment to productive visions within groups. (39:00)

 

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The Courage to Lead: Putting Fear in Its Place notes that courage is a primary and necessary virtue for effective behavior in all walks of life in all times and places, and leaders generally require extra doses of courage, since they must speak up and take responsibility for results when others fail to do so. This program notes that courage is not the absence of fear but the recognition that something else is more important than fear. And for leaders, the most critical form of courage is moral courage, the recognition that the welfare of others is more important than one’s own personal safety. (38:00)

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Interpersonal Communication at Work addresses the strengths and limitations of interpersonal communication, which is direct communication between just two people. Interpersonal communication can be the most open, honest and trustworthy form of communication, but it can also be susceptible to manipulation. It offers the advantages of immediate feedback and rich nonverbal cues. This program provides practical tips for effective interpersonal communication. (38:00)

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Religion, Politics, Church, and State considers both the functional and dysfunctional aspects of religious and political institutions worldwide. Though all the world’s religious and political systems are founded on legitimate moral values, they are all subject to the distortions and corruptions of power, authority, and ideology, which all too often lead to injustice and even fatal violence. Dr. Smith outlines ways we can honor the legitimate functions of religion and politics while maintaining the integrity and security of all citizens. (45:16)

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Trust, Motivation, and Engagement at Work looks first at causes and symptoms of dissatisfaction and disengagement at work. It identifies trust as a key factor in productive and satisfying work relationships, and outlines the hallmarks of leadership that generate trust, commitment, and engagement within a team. In today’s complex, high-tech world, leaders must go well beyond simple compliance to galvanize the highest levels of motivation to keep workers, followers, and colleagues motivated. (39:00)

Thinking Together: Effective Decision-Making in Groups investigates the promise and the pitfalls of group decision-making and group productivity in general. It outlines the reasons why small groups can frequently make better decisions than individuals; identifies complexity, competition, and distraction as primary obstacles to effective meetings; and summarizes three proven strategies to prepare for effective decision-making in groups: dialogue, the six-hats method, and the world café experience. (40:00)

Effective Leadership Styles investigates the nature of personal style in leadership roles, starting with the recognition that style is always the outward expression of character and personality. In a leadership role, styles reflect the demands of task completion, goal achievement, and relationship pressures within a group. The standard academic approach identifies three distinct leadership styles: autocratic, democratic, and laissez faire. This program summarizes three additional approaches to development of effective leadership styles which have proven worthy for more than two generations. (38:00)

Ethics and the Media: The Problem of Bias addresses the challenges of providing useful news and information for a democratic society. The program features a panel of journalists and academics, and its primary focus is on problems of real or perceived bias driven by politics, culture, ideology, gender, age, profession, and other factors. (55:00)

Ethics and the Environment: The Power of Green features environmental activist and CEO of the Future 500 Bill Shireman discussing collaborative strategies to integrate corporate interests with the long-term goals of the environmental movement. He summarizes the transforming concept of the triple bottom line balancing economic value with social and environmental concerns and concludes with three success stories in which seemingly intractable problems were solved through collaborative leadership. (54:00)

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Ethics and the Environment: The Re-Use Movement: A Sustainable Business Concept features Nicole Roost presenting the case for recycling, repurposing, and reusing materials of all sorts, not only as a way to protect the natural environment, but also as a viable and profitable business strategy. Roost is one of the founders of the Saving Grace Salvage Company, a successful business that relies entirely on profitable strategies for recycling, repurposing, and reusing a wide variety of items. (47:00)

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Leadership Lessons Learned at Starbucks: It’s Not About the Coffee showcases Howard Behar, former CEO of Starbucks, summarizing the key values that drove not only his own success as a business executive but also the success of Starbucks as a company. In Behar’s inspiring and amusing stories, the importance of valuing people over profits emerges as a key to long-term effectiveness, as opposed to short-term payoffs. He also notes the primary leadership lesson that he learned as a young and rising manager: to “wear one hat” rather than switching metaphorical hats or personas to impress others. (53:00)

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Making and Keeping Peace: The Basics of Peace Studies addresses the fundamentals of peace studies, including the impact of early childhood experience, the roles of corporal punishment and competitive games, and the relationships between individual behavior and cultural expectations. His presentation addresses the potential for violence within the individual, between two individuals, within small groups, and in larger collectives like organizations and communities. (50:00)

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An Introduction to Strategic Planning examines the key steps for developing habits and systems for creating effective strategic plans. Illustrations include a variety of nonprofit organizations presented by organizational consultant Frank Martinelli. (53:00)

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Programs About Saving Endangered Species

Saving the Ghost Birds: Whooping Cranes and Their Human Partners is the inspiring story of the Whooping Crane Recovery Project, told in narrative, first-person interviews, and stunning film footage. (55:00)

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Humans of the Sea: Killer Whales and the People Who Watch Them explores the unique and occasionally eerie connection between people and a clan of killer whales living near the San Juan Islands in Washington State. Featuring footage from “the best place in the world to watch killer whales from land,” prominent scientists, boat captains, and everyday folk reveal research discoveries, stories of close encounters, and the special challenges facing this beloved group of killer whales. (55:00)

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