On Leadership…

Part art, part science – we know it when we see it. It’s hard to define and often elusive. But, none the less, it is critically important to study, practice and develop.

Much has been written about leadership. I remember reading the 1,184 page Bass and Stogdill’s “Handbook of Leadership” in my graduate program. In the 17 year timespan between the latest version of the book it has grown to 1,536 pages.

Authors and speakers attempt to categorize leadership as ethical, situational, transformational, transactional, trait-based, service-oriented, entrepreneurial, global, motivational, or relational. They analyze the relationship between leadership and management or leadership and followership. In this election season, campaigns and the popular press bombard us as they identify the leadership characteristics and faults of each candidate.

Leadership is something we have always fostered in our college. We help students gain skills by allowing them to lead teams of their peers in applied projects. They serve in leadership positions for student organizations and other outside of class activities. We also work to develop leaders within our faculty and staff, building capacity in the classroom, across the university and through research and service related to their professions.

For the past two years, we have been working through a major revision of our MBA program. In the new program all students will engage in a class focused on understanding leadership and identifying personal strengths and weaknesses while working to realize their own leadership potential. This course and other efforts across the college will allow us to continue to focus on our mission which includes: “Providing an engaging environment for educating undergraduate and graduate students that advances critical thinking, entrepreneurial leadership, ethical behavior and an appreciation of diversity.

This week our students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to learn from a UWW graduate, Michael O’Halleran, chief executive and founder of AON Benfield, as he shares his own stories of leadership. Come join us Thursday, Oct. 11 at 4:30 in Hyland Hall 1000.

Written By:  Dr. John Chenoweth, Associate Dean, College of Business and Economics

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