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Transformative Leadership In Action

December 5, 2018
RRU Communications
Jennifer Walinga - Transformative Leadership In Action

Transformative leadership is developed through transformative learning, a pedagogical approach that allows Royal Roads students to approach challenges and create change in a way that is rooted in values and authenticity. Professors Jennifer Walinga, Wendy Rowe, and Niels Agger-Gupta are at the forefront of exploring how transformative leadership can effect positive change in the world.

Dr. Jennifer Walinga is a believer in transformative leadership in practice. Through her work with the School of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads, Walinga wants to create a more sustainable world of thriving, not just surviving, in workplace and personal challenges.“In order to lead a more sustainable world,” Walinga says, “you need to shift a paradigm. To do that, you need transformative leadership, and transformative leadership is found in many places— for us, we look for it in a good education, and a good teacher.” Walinga knows that a strong facilitator will create a transformative leader.

“Good teaching, good facilitation—they’re the same in my mind. Transformative leadership requires a certain set of skills and knowledge, and there’s a fundamental link between communication, values, and processes.” Through her research, teaching, and in practice, Walinga uses communication as an opportunity for change. The challenge, she says, is that “in our society we don’t value good communication, we value persuasion, charisma, and glamour—but communication is a web, a connection of channels. We need to change how we see it.”

To create true transformative change, Walinga believes that we must create a teaching environment and commitment to research that enacts our values. Walinga sees a personal commitment to change as paramount to bringing our values and authenticity to research and teaching. “Living your teaching, and helping your students take that into the world—that is transformative leadership,” she says, “and that is where change can be found.”

Read the full article in the 2018 Research in Action publication, pg 38.