The Meaning of Leadership — the class

December 18, 2014 by Joshua
in Education, Exercises, Leadership

NYU posted my course next semester: “The Meaning of Leadership.”

I designed it to cover developing the fundamental skills of leadership as comprehensively as one semester allows. I expect many students to find it one of if not the best class they ever take. From the syllabus, the course description begins:

The Meaning of Leadership will prepare you to practice effective leadership and teamwork in a variety of contexts—business, politics, community organizing, entrepreneurship, sports, teaching, sales, coaching, etc—without relying on authority, status, hierarchy, or other external conditions.

You will learn to create more meaning, value, importance, and purpose in your teammates, work, and professional relationships. As a result, your teams will accomplish more with greater satisfaction. Your teammates will feel inspired and will want to work with you again.

The course will also help you make leadership and teamwork more calm, rewarding, and enjoyable for you and your teammates—and your relationships and life in general too. You will develop professionally and personally, in a process that will continue throughout your life.

The course focuses on learning and practicing fundamentals. As in any discipline, people who have achieved mastery tend to focus on fundamentals and beginners can learn them readily. They also apply to all contexts. Once you have the fundamentals, practice leads to mastering high-level principles and skills, such as how to create meaning, value, importance, and purpose to inspire yourself and others. We begin with simple basics and build to advanced techniques.

The course is experiential. It will lead you through a series of exercises. As leadership is fundamentally behavioral, social, and emotional, these exercises develop behavioral, social, and emotional skills such as self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and empathy, which research shows to predict successful team performance.

The exercises are simple, introspective, challenging, active, and need few resources. Each develops useful skills on its own, builds on earlier ones, and contributes to later ones.


The class uses many exercises I on posts here and that I’ve used in seminars and with clients for years, refining and improving them.

I’m nearly finished creating an online version for anyone to take. I have a few people interested in taking the first version. Please contact me if you’re interested, keeping in mind finishing may take a month or so. These testimonials will tell you the value people get from my seminars, coaching, and courses.

I can’t wait to start teaching this course. I hope someone reading this will hold me accountable that at least several students in the class consider it the best class they’ve ever taken.

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