Leadership education — how far can it be taught? We all have innate leadership abilities and a capacity to lead. Through structured processes we can all enhance our level of leadership. This is part of leadership education that makes work in this area so personally rewarding. Students are seeing how they can make their best contribution in the world. To be effective, leaders must first know themselves. How do books or leadership programmes teach this? Each of us has some level of ability in leadership. What we can teach is how to enhance this capacity to lead, and the capacity to help others lead. Author Warren Bennis notes that selfknowledge is the first step in understanding. A great start to self-knowledge is to know three things: our core values, our strengths and the way we can work most effectively (e.g., how we engage with information and make decisions, whether we do our best work on a team or as a solo contributor ). This is where we begin in leadership education. These days there is more emphasis on leadership development at the undergraduate education level? Why so, given the fact that only a handful, in the world, makes it to leadership positions? The wonderful thing is that we can all lead at whatever level we are in the organisation, with whatever title we have and age that we are. We don’t need the title ‘leader’ or ‘CEO’ in order to exercise leadership. One definition of leadership according to Stephen Covey is ‘knowing what to do and doing it.’
I like to think that part of leadership is finding out where we can make our most effective contribution to the world. In these senses, we can all be leaders, some traditional and some less traditional, according to individual style. You recently conducted a workshop for class XII students titled ‘decisionmaking, persuasion and influence.’ What was the workshop feedback? The students were bright, involved and excited to learn about a subject that spanned the disciplines of management science, applied mathematics and game theory, social psychology , political science and behavioural economics. It was an entirely interdisciplinary session that used experiential learning as a means of accessing the intellectual material. How can students maximise their leadership potential? Please share a few important pointers. General advice: Know yourself and find out where you can make your most effective contribution to the planet. It is that sense of ‘detecting our mission’ that was noted by the psychoanalyst and author Viktor Frankl. Effectively using power is another important trait.
With regard to career: find the career that combines your competence, with passion and meaning. If your work doesn’t have meaning, it will be difficult to maintain your contributions over time.