Introductory Reading For Being a Leader and The Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological Model
Executive Summary — Effective leadership does not come from mere knowledge about what successful leaders do; or from trying to emulate the characteristics or styles of noteworthy leaders; or from trying to remember and follow the steps, tips, or techniques from books or coaching on leadership. And it certainly does not come from merely being in a leadership position or in a position of authority or having decision rights. This paper, the sixth of six pre-course reading assignments for an experimental leadership course developed by HBS professor emeritus Michael C. Jensen and coauthors, accompanies a course specifically designed to provide actionable access to being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership as one's natural self-expression. Key concepts include:
- One of the conditions for realizing the promise of the leadership course is that students must be open to examine, question, and then transform their worldviews (models of reality) and frames of reference (mindsets).
- Students create for themselves a powerful 4-part contextual framework that calls them into being as a leader. Having done this what remains is to confront one's own Ontological Perceptual and Functional constraints so as: 1) to relax their ability to restrict one's perceptions of what must be dealt with in any leadership situation, and 2) to relax their ability to restrict one's freedom of choice for action in any leadership situation.
- Students cannot master that which they do not create for themselves. This is especially true of anything that is at first counterintuitive.
This paper is the sixth of six pre-course reading assignments for an experimental leadership course developed by the authors over five years (2004 - 2008) at the U. of Rochester Simon School of Business working with students, alumni, executives, and faculty from various academic institutions. It is currently taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy, was taught in June 2009 at the Erasmus Academie in Rotterdam, and a version is currently taught at U. of Rochester Simon School of Business, and the Erasmus University Law School. This course will be taught at the Mays School of Business, Texas A&M University June 9 to June 16, 2010.
The intention of this course is to leave the participants actually being leaders and exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression, and for the course to contribute to creating a new science of leadership for ourselves and others to use, experiment with, research, improve on, and innovate from.
This leadership course is different from others you may know of or have experienced. This course is based on the proposition that: 1) given being and action by the right context for leader and leadership, everyone has the capacity to be a leader, and 2) there are certain personal obstacles that must be dealt with in order to actualize that capacity. In the course students master a context that gives them the being of a leader and the effective exercise of leadership as their natural self-expression.
Rather than teaching "leadership strategies" or being a "how to guide", this course allows participants to create for themselves that enabling and empowering context that gives one the being and action of a leader as one's natural self-expression. And, in the course we provide participants the opportunity to become aware of and deal with their personal obstacles. This allows them to remove, or at least relax, those obstacles and access their natural capacity for leadership.
The promise of this course:
- You will leave this course being who you need to be to be a leader.
- You will leave this course with what it takes to exercise leadership effectively.
While you will not necessarily have all of the experience and knowledge you need to be a truly extraordinary leader, you will have experienced whatever personal transformation is required for you to leave the course being who you need to be to be a leader, and with what it takes to exercise leadership effectively. 82 pages.
- Full Working Paper Text
- Working Paper Publication Date: April 2010
- HBS Working Paper Number: 10-091