Throughout the month of August, we’ll be learning about one of the key ingredients that makes Guild School special: our faculty! Check out the blog each week for interviews with instructors and inside information about their Fall Term courses.
LEADERSHIP AT EVERY LEVEL
Taught by Daniel Butterfield, MSEM, PE, UWUA Local 369, Chief Steward, Eversource
Main purpose of the class: Understand how to influence yourself and others to lead in a number of ways
Who should take it: Anyone interested in learning more about communication, organizing, and how to make change in their workplace
Course style: Presentation and question-based, with many guest speakers
How did you come to teach a course at the Guild?
I came to the Guild as a student because we had safety issues at work, and I was looking for solutions. I attended the Guild for 7 years, and through my experiences in applying all of the things I learned here, I had a lot and I wanted to share that with the other students. The Guild has taught me so many things that I found helpful in my workplace in solving our issues of unfair treatment, that I wanted to give back.
What are some of the main ideas your class will explore?
Leadership is about influencing people. It only takes a few leaders, but you have to influence people to get things done. So, a big part of leadership is leading by example.
Everyone in the class gets a book. It talks about basic leadership, building secondary leaders, identifying leaders in the workplace. I’m going to take some examples from Saul Alinsky, a great labor leader, and some of the rules he used to influence people and put that at the end of the book.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I’m part teacher, part facilitator. One thing that’s key about leadership is paying attention to your priorities. I know how important it is to listen. It’s something that for myself I try to work on and practice. I find it very helpful so I do a session on listening. I taught this class for the first time last Spring. This term, I’m going to have about 4-5 different speakers, all from different backgrounds. I think it’s going to be fun. I think they’ll find it interesting.
One of my favorite parts of teaching is learning from the people in the class. I take it on myself to ask questions in a way that gets people to learn from their experience. I learn from them as much as they learn from me. There’s some very gifted and talented students in the classes. Hearing from people about their experiences helps us all develop as leaders.
What would you tell students who are thinking about taking this class?
Labor is in trouble because of the shrinking numbers of union members. If we don’t change—start organizing and getting leaders involved in the movement—we’re in trouble. Labor is in need of leaders. So I think everyone can benefit from a leadership class, because it helps us solve problems at every level.