Genuine Humility: Power Under Control
By Don Janssen, DVM
There it was, completely helpless except for its piercing cry. In 1999, Bai Yun, a seven-year-old giant panda, gave birth to the first panda cub born in the US through artificial insemination. But would the cub survive? Many panda cubs in those days died when they were infants. With the big size difference between the mother and cub (220 pounds vs. 4 ounces), too often a little cub would be crushed by an inexperienced mother. As I watched on the closed-circuit monitor with the keeper and a researcher that night, I wondered: how could a mother panda ever sleep and not roll over on her cub?
Bai Yun soon answered that question. And the answer was a lesson in power under control. As Bai Yun was about to fall asleep, she lay on her side and positioned the tiny cub on the inside of her forearm. It rested right next to her nostrils and inches from her powerful jaws. That position allowed her to keep the cub warm and in view. She could sense movement or hear the cub cry if it fell off her forearm. This clever tactic protected the cub from Bai Yun's power and weight. Bai Yun slept soundly. The cub was safe, and, years later, became a successful mother herself.
Humility Is Power Under Control
Animals are not capable of being humble, per se. Still, Bai Yun's extraordinary maternal behavior illustrates an important characteristic of humility. She gently restrained and controlled herself for the benefit of her cub. The cub's well-being was her priority. In a similar way, humble leaders find ways to control their use of power for the benefit of others. Their followers trust them, and grow into capable leaders themselves.
What are some ways servant leaders can practice genuine humility and keep their power under control?
- Stand in authority, but resist using it.
There's nothing wrong with being an authority. If you have that role and calling, embrace it; your leadership is needed. Even so, humble leaders are circumspect about using that authority. They acknowledge people's free will and work to influence rather than coerce.
- Deflect attention and share credit with others.
We tend to think highly of the leader who gives rather than takes credit for a team effort. Cheering the team on, if done without selfish intent, works to bolster morale and builds trust, loyalty, and confidence.
- Choose to see the "big picture."
Seeing the broad, organizational perspective and supporting other departments requires unselfish thinking. Using intimidation and power to strong-arm other people and departments is power out of control—i.e., arrogance rather than humility.
- Never use power for personal gain or to dominate others.
Having a position of power grants leaders the opportunity and responsibility to get things done. That's a good thing. Too often, though, leaders wield their power for personal gain and to control others. That tempting, inward-directed path of power usually ends badly for both the leader and those they lead.
To do what's good and right for the long term, therefore, humble leaders must learn to control their use of power. This is not a sign of weakness. Indeed, humility of this order requires a good deal of strength, assertiveness, and self-control. Power tends to cloud and corrupt our thinking. But leaders, even the most powerful ones, can steer clear of this trap by being alert to that tendency, and being humble and controlling their use of power.
People often ask me, of all the animals I've worked with, which is my favorite. Bai Yun has to be at the top of my list. She was special to me in many ways. But mostly, like a humble leader, Bai Yun was able to control her considerable power for the good of another. Call it what you will, but for me, it was a great lesson in humility.
What leaders have you worked with who held positions of power and were able to keep that power under control? Were they effective? Why or why not?
For more information about this article, please contact Dr. Don Janssen at email@example.com.
Leadership insights are contributed by San Diego Zoo Global's retired corporate director of animal health, Dr. Don Janssen, the first of which appeared in the March 2019 issue of the Academy newsletter. Click here for the Academy newsletter archive.
You can read more about how to lead with humility in Upside-Down Leadership: A Zoo Veterinarian's Journey to Becoming a Servant Leader. It's available at shopzoo.com. Click here for more information about the book.
Something Fishy Is Going On
By Dr. Rob Jones, "The Aquarium Vet"
Ultraviolet Radiation (Part 3)
Intensity of UV Radiation
A joule is a unit of electrical energy, and a watt is one joule per second. UV intensity is measured in watts per square meter (W/m 2). This intensity is the sum of UV rays from ALL directions, and if it is constant with time, then it provides a UV dose. The UV dose is thus calculated by the following equation:
UV dose = UV Intensity x Exposure time
W x sec/m2 = W/m2 x seconds
This means that, effectively, the same UV dose can occur at a high UV intensity and shorter time exposure as a lower UV intensity over a longer time exposure.
Line of sight is important for UV to be effective, as UV rays will not go around corners. The pH and temperature of the water do not really alter the effectiveness of UV radiation when used for systems that include fish.
Doses of UV Needed for Treatment
There are three factors that impact the dose of UV needed:
The effective dose of UV can really only be increased by one of two factors (refer back to the UV dose equation), providing that the clarity of the water is not an issue:
- UV output from the unit.
- Size and type of organism. Generally, the larger the organism, the larger the dose of UV radiation needed to kill the organism. The dose of UV required is called the minimum lethal dose (MLD). Larger organisms have more cytoplasm surrounding and protecting the nucleus, which absorbs the UV before it reaches the DNA and RNA in the nucleus. However, there can also be species variation, and even strain variation, depending on the ability to repair the DNA.
- Turbidity of the water column. The turbidity dictates the extent to which the UV rays can pass through the water, and therefore has the greatest effect on UV effectiveness. The water needs to be clear, with minimal dissolved and suspended solids present. Any dissolved organics (adding a yellow hue to the water) will greatly reduce the depth that the UV rays can reach, and hence their efficiency.
New Aquatic Animal Welfare Module from the Aquarium Vet
- Increased intensity with a higher UV lamp.
- Decreased flow, which increases contact time.
I am excited to announce that after a nine-month gestation (commencing at AZA 2018), a new course module is available that solely focuses on aquatic animal welfare. It is the only one of its kind on the planet.
The Aquarium Vet's vision is "To Advance the Health and Welfare of Aquatic Animals in Aquariums and Zoos Globally." We achieve this through consultations and education (the e-quarist course). To advance the welfare of aquatic animals, we are pleased to offer our FREE Aquatic Animal Welfare module, designed for aquariums and zoos, which focuses on Fish and Aquatic Invertebrates. The module will take about three hours to complete, including a short examination. After passing the examination, you will be able to print a Certificate of Completion.
This module represents a toolbox that a curatorial or husbandry team can use to view each individual display at their institution with a fresh set of eyes, and to advance the welfare of their aquatic animals. Register for the Aquatic Animal Welfare Module here.
E-quarist™ Courses—Academy Subscriber Special!
The San Diego Zoo Global Academy is excited to share an additional Academy subscriber benefit regarding our collaboration with The Aquarium Vet: as an Academy subscriber, you are now entitled to a discount on the e-quarist™ courses. We are also happy to offer one of our free monthly webinars.
For more information about the SDZGA discount, or anything about the e-quarist™ course, including next month's free webinar, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The One Word That Can Improve Your Next Presentation
By Andy Goodman, Director, the Goodman Center
Yes or no: when you attend a presentation in the public interest sector, do you usually learn something valuable?
When we presented this question to public interest professionals across North America as part of the research for our book, Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes, 66 percent replied "no." Take a moment to let that result sink in: that's two-thirds of the audience reporting that, more often than not, their time is being wasted.
More than a decade has passed since that survey was conducted, but if my travels across the United States of Boredom are any indication, we still have too many colleagues exiting speeches, panel discussions, and workshops feeling that the only thing they learned is to never attend that conference again.
Why is this still happening? There are several possible explanations—unskilled presenters, lackluster content, and PowerPoint would be the usual suspects—but if the essence of this particular question is why aren't people learning, the answer may have more to do with how they are being taught. And that's why one word to consider before preparing your next presentation is andragogy.
You are probably familiar with the word pedagogy, which Merriam-Webster defines as "the art, science, or profession of teaching." The word is a derivative of the Greek paidagogia, which literally translates as "to lead a child."
The word andragogy is attributed to Alexander Kapp, a German educator who first used the term in 1833. It combines the Greek andr-, meaning "man," with agogos, or "leader of." So, while pedagogy means leading children, andragogy means leading man, and Dictionary.com defines it as "the methods or techniques used to teach adults."
In the 1950s, Malcolm Knowles revived Kapp's term and popularized it in the United States. Knowles served as executive director of the Adult Education Association of the USA from 1951 to 1960, and wrote several books on how adults learn, including The Adult Learner (1973) and Self-Directed Learning (1975). Knowles believed that adults learn differently from children and, consequently, should not be taught with the same techniques.
Knowles espoused four principles of andragogy. For anyone who presents to adults and wants to foster an optimal environment for learning, these are clear guidelines to follow. Here are Knowles' four principles, with examples (in italics) of how we have adopted them in Goodman Center presentations and workshops.
Among those who study learning styles, not everyone is convinced that adults and children learn in distinctly different ways. As Wikipedia notes in its section on andragogy, "There appears to be a lack of research on whether this framework of teaching and learning principles is more relevant to adult learners or if it is just a set of good practices that could be used for both children and adult learners."
- Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.
Adults tend to be more self-directed learners than high school or college students. If you can build flexibility into your presentation that allows your audience members to shape the content to their needs, they will be more engaged from the beginning.
In our online storytelling classes, we begin the first session by asking each participant what they hope to learn from the course. We use this feedback to customize the succeeding three sessions more specifically to their needs.
Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for the learning activities.
Adults bring a greater range of experiences with them to learning situations than children, so facilitators of adult learning who consciously attempt to leverage those experiences will find a higher level of engagement.
When we teach story structure, we ask participants to tell personal stories based on this prompt: "Think about a time in your life when you really wanted something." After they share stories at their respective tables, we then ask them to identify the elements that were common to all their stories. In this way, participants draw on their own experiences to identify the essential elements of story.
Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance and impact to their job or personal life.
Our audience research for Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes told us the same thing: relevance was among the three most highly desired aspects of a presentation. Adult learners want to know "How can I use this today?"
Prior to our workshops on presentation skills, we solicit sample PowerPoint decks from the host organization, so we can see how well (or poorly) the presentations are structured or individual slides are designed. Rather than simply offering broad principles for structure or design, we'll redesign parts of the sample presentations to demonstrate exactly how they can be improved.
Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented.
Adult learners prefer to cut to the chase. Get to the heart of the problem, show them how to solve it, and then let them take a crack at it. This can lead to a discussion of the broader principles at work, but don't start with the abstract concepts.
When we teach organizations how to have better meetings, we go directly to the single greatest source of problems: poorly prepared agendas. Workshop participants bring samples of their organization's agendas with them, and we show them, point-by-point, how to transform what is often little more than a list of topics into a reliable road map for a productive meeting.
Knowles himself acknowledged late in his life that andragogical techniques might work with children, too. But what does not appear to be in dispute is that the core principles of andragogy can help create a more productive learning space for adults. And if that's the audience to whom you are presenting, it may be one word that makes a big difference.
For more information about The Goodman Center, visit thegoodmancenter.com.
In February 2018, we introduced Andy Goodman of The Goodman Center as a new contributor. As a refresher, here is the link to the archive of Academy newsletters, where one can access all of the past articles by Andy Goodman, including the February, April, July, and October 2018 issues, and now February 2019, too: SDZG Academy Newsletter Archive.
Why Does the Academy Feature Articles on Storytelling?
You have a message to share, information to impart, and news to announce. What is the best way to communicate? Certainly reports, statistics, images, and content are critical. But, storytelling will engage your audience, allowing them to make connections, remember your points, and understand your message. People seldom remember the details, but they will remember—and possibly share—how they feel when they hear your message within a compelling context.
For more information about our focus on storytelling, please contact Becky Lynn at email@example.com.