01 Sep 2013
MBA students enrolled in the elective course Authentic Leadership Development (ALD) are encouraged to check their public personae—the polished resumes or stylized Facebook pages they've crafted that tell a version of their life story—at the door. Inside the classroom, the focus is on understanding one's true
self with the goal of creating authentic leaders.
"This is really a human development course. We believe, to the extent that you are more authentic and more clear about what you're about, you'll be more likely to step up when there's an opportunity to lead, be more effective when you do so, and live a more meaningful life—a happy, flourishing life," says Scott Snook (MBA 1987, PhDOB 1996), the MBA Class of 1958 Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, one of the professors who teach the course. Part of the MBA Elective Curriculum (EC) since 2005, ALD was introduced by Professor of Management Practice Bill George (MBA 1966) and is based on his 2007 book True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership. George is now faculty chair of the Executive Education version of the course, which is being offered three times a year.
One of several innovative "platform" courses designed to enrich the EC, ALD is structured to help students fully explore their own leadership style and determine their inner compass. They are invited to draw up a contract establishing norms and confidentiality, allowing for openness about vulnerabilities as they share their life stories and confront long-held notions about success and failure. Throughout the semester, students read chapters and complete exercises from True North, consider cases illustrating the core values of a particular businessperson's life, discuss the importance of real and consistent leadership that empowers others, and submit written reflections. Fundamental to the course is participation in six-member leadership development groups that are designed to bring students of diverse backgrounds together for intensive, personal discussions that offer them a transformational experience.
"ALD helped me grow both roots and wings," says Neda Navab (MBA 2013), partner marketing manager of the cloud computing company Box. "In answering questions about my motivators, in taking a stand for my values, I grew roots that firmly planted me in a worldview and a leadership view. But I also grew wings—the confidence to go out into the world and act with purpose."
Authentic Leadership Development exemplifies innovations in the Elective Curriculum that will be supported by the Connell family gift.
Class of MBA 2013, Section H