This spring I am teaching an upper-level leadership seminar. In this course, we will review research and theory on leadership and discuss the most compelling questions about leaders and leadership. I am inviting you to join us.
Each week we will post some of the lessons learned, review some of the class discussion, and wrestle with questions about leadership and its importance to society. In addition, students will work on developing their own leadership skills in the class, so there will be plenty of tips for your own leadership development.
The idea is for you to follow along virtually. Hopefully, you will get the sense of being in the class as we explore leaders and leadership. I'll try to provide links for additional information and for your own study of leadership topics. And, you can join in the discussion with your own comments and questions via this blog. I'll share with the class and with you.
Let's begin. First, let's talk about the course content and expectations. The course is, as you can imagine, very psychological in nature. Psychologists have studied leadership for more than 100 years, so there is a rich background of theory and research on the topic. In the course, we will use a textbook by Richard L. Hughes, and his coauthors, Ginnett & Curphy (6th edition). Of course, I don't expect you to buy an expensive, new text, but you can find older editions of this book, or other leadership texts, on-line for a few dollars. Besides the Hughes book, I recommend the texts by Northouse and one by Yukl. You could even pick up a copy of an early edition of my I/O psychology text for as low as 33 cents and read the chapter on leadership.
How much work is involved? (you might be asking yourself). Only as much work as you want to do! (after all, you're not paying tuition [you don't want to know how much our tuition is] or getting a grade). But let me try to persuade you to follow along, so we can call this, "Why I love the study of leadership."
Leadership is the most complex of human phenomena. Leadership, or at least the notion of dominance hierarchies, is "hard-wired" into us. As social animals, we have evolved a sense of leading and following for survival purposes. The history of civilization, is, in many ways, the history of social movements. Whether it is the great dynasties, the wide-ranging religious movements, the nations, the wars, or just local politics, it is all about this collective process that we call leadership. So, lesson one is that leadership is not just abut the great leaders. Leadership is a process of leading and following. It is a shared, collective process.
I also love leadership because while the study of leadership is fascinating, it is also a very practical subject. We are all leaders in some area of life, and by studying good leadership, we can become better leaders (and better people - but more on that in the future).
So, I hope you will join us for all or part of the course. Feel free to add your own thoughts and ideas to the ongoing discussion. As I tell my students, the more you put into the course, the more you will get out of it.
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