The principal goal for Leadership Practicum is to help you create your own, personal approach to leading, something that we call a Leadership Practice. More than a philosophy, a Leadership Practice integrates intentionally chosen strategies for engaging others, your values and priorities, and your interpersonal style into an authentic and effective approach to leading others.
The class introduces a set of insights each of which guide students toward building their own Leadership Practice. We address a range of topics, including:
- What are the core tasks involved in leading?
- How I become a more credible and persuasive leader?
- How do I influence in ways that motivate others?
- How will my efforts to lead facilitate excellence in others?
- What aspects of my interpersonal style do I need to intentionally monitor and calibrate in order to achieve my intended impact?
Four tasks of leading
Creating an authentic and effective Leadership Practice often takes years. To fast track your efforts, Practicum introduces a number of strategies and tactics for successfully fulfilling some of the core tasks of leading: cultivating relationships, building credibility, ensuring progress, and articulating vision. These strategies and tactics serve as source material for students as they form their own Leadership Practice. The course culminates with an assignment in which students articulate the essence of their Leadership Practice.
Clarifying and strengthening your personal approach to leading: your self as an instrument
When we lead, there are no tools or equipment that intervene between our actions and the effects of our actions. It’s just us, our own voice, our stance and gestures, the words we pick, our mix of thought and emotion in that moment. When you lead, you are the principal instrument by which you achieve an outcome. Practicum offers a variety of exercises and tools for deepening your self-awareness – of your values, your likes and dislikes, your habits and skills, what feels rewarding to you, your biases and tolerances, and more – thus allowing you to more finely calibrate how your leadership emerges from the instrument that is you.
Action and reflection
This class is being offered remotely this quarter. Leadership Practicum is a highly experiential class, and attendance and active participation is required. Class sessions will involve significant interaction and group work in breakout rooms, and class sessions will not be recorded. Students should expect to have their cameras on as a default, and come ready to actively engage and participate.
Exceptional leaders not only work from an intentionally cultivated Leadership Practice, they also possess the skill to bring their practice to life. As such, a central part of Practicum involves experimenting with specific tactics and skills for leading. Because we learn best by doing, Practicum relies as much on activities (e.g., experiences, conversations, and reflective assignments) as it does on formal instruction. Class activities require students to practice and explore different leadership tactics. The written assignments for the class, short Action and Reflection papers, similarly require students to take action in some form and then reflect on the experience. The experiential nature of the class allows both for skill development and for assessing different leadership tactics for personal resonance.
Coaching to accelerate your development as a leader
Developing oneself can be some of the more demanding work we do in our lives. To support this process, students work with a leadership coach. Students meet with a coach for at least three one-on-one appointments over the course of the quarter. In conjunction with insights from class, your coach serves as a guide and thought partner on your journey. The chance to work with a leadership coach helps to personalize and accelerate your learning. In this way, Practicum helps students to make greater progress than they might working alone.
Practicum is a class that is about three things: what it means to lead, the means available for leading, and ultimately, how you choose to lead. Because the class is focused on helping you grow as a leader, it is ideal for students who have the time and the desire to engage in the difficult work of developing themselves. Simply put, you get out of it what you put into it.