Dolores C. Renze delivered the presidential address at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) in Atlanta, Georgia, in October 1966.  The address was published in the American Archivist in January 1967.  Renze was State Archivist of Colorado from 1949 to 1973.  She was also SAA secretary from 1956 to 1963 as well as president 1965-1966.  Her papers are housed at the University of Denver.

Renze chose leadership as the focus of her presidential address.  She began with a horticultural analogy, arguing against the strategy of generating new short-lived goals each year and instead suggesting the wisdom of developing professional objectives and standards, like a tree “sending its roots deeper into the soil, making itself stronger for the future and making itself less vulnerable to the winds and to the ravages of passing attacks on its surfaces” (6).

Renze tacitly cited organizational theorist Ordway Tead and his 1935 book, The Art of Leadership, where he defined leadership as “‘the activity of influencing people to cooperate toward some goal which they come to find desirable'” (9).  Renze went on to elaborate on three prerequisite characteristics of leaders (9):

  1. intelligence — including creativity, resourcefulness, and good judgment
  2. “a genuine liking and concern for people”
  3. “willingness to assume responsibility and authority”

Renze listed numerous attributes that are necessary in order to evaluate whether one possesses these prerequisites:

  • insight/knowledge of self
  • a sense of humor
  • understanding — both of ourselves and others
  • flexibility
  • being a perpetual learner
  • enthusiasm
  • sense of purpose/direction
  • integrity
  • faith (i.e., demonstrating that a leader has confidence in his people)
  • technical mastery
  • being a teacher
  • “interest in, and understanding of, other people” — this Renze described as the “crux of leadership” (13)
  • creativity
  • intellectual ability
  • human relations skills
  • personal impact
  • decision-making
  • energy

Renze concluded with twelve essential points of leadership:

  1. self-objectivity
  2. flexibility
  3. dare to be different
  4. personal and professional standards
  5. learn to live with uncertainty
  6. rewards and recognition (i.e., accepting delayed, if any, gratification)
  7. learn to withstand stress
  8. performance standards
  9. be reasonably modest
  10. avoid “cronyism”
  11. responsibilities and obligations (i.e., recognize the burdens entailed by true leadership)
  12. recognition of ability and talent of members

With these attributes in place, Renze saw the future as “the span of voluntary effort where individuals strive for excellence, give of themselves above and beyond the call of duty, and, in so doing, give dignity, distinction, loyalty, and enduring significance to the profession we represent” (16).

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