Leadership Depends on Accumulated Experience as Much as Packaged College Courses

(p. 17) The dominant brand, Harvard Business School, claims to “educate leaders who make a difference in the world.” The University of Michigan’s Ross School does one better, developing “leaders who make a positive difference in the world.” Kellogg at Northwestern develops “brave leaders who inspire growth in people, organizations and markets.” And Duke’s Fuqua says it does what it does because “the world needs leaders of consequence.”
. . .
Which raises the question, once again, of whether leadership can be packaged and taught, rather than accumulated through experience.
John Van Maanen, a professor of management at M.I.T. Sloan who teaches a course named “Leading Organizations,” isn’t so sure it can. “Even today, three-plus decades in, there’s no real definition of it,” he says. “We can make people more conscious of ethical dilemmas in business, of the difficulty of directing people in times of adversity, and the confidence and communication skills necessary to do so. But the idea that such skills can be transmitted so that you can lead anybody at any time, that’s ideologically vacuous.”

For the full commentary, see:
DUFF McDONALD. “Can You Learn to Lead?” The New York Times, Education Life Section (Sun., APRIL 12, 2015): 17.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date APRIL 7 (sic), 2015.)

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