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Spring 2023 Seminar

Leading from the Middle

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam

This offering explores how to be an effective leader and an agent for positive change during the first 10-15 years of one’s professional career.  The offering will feature a cross-disciplinary set of materials: traditional texts from literature, classics, philosophy and the social sciences; case studies and business texts; videos of speeches and talks. No specific background or knowledge is required.  Key questions to be explored include:

  • What does “leadership” look like below executive officer or “C suite” level in a large organization? What defines leadership and opportunities to lead at this level?
  • How do people learn and practice leadership skills in an effective way in the first part of their careers?  Are there particular styles or methods of leadership that middle leaders can deploy effectively?  
  • What are some of the challenges that middle leaders face?  How can middle leaders think strategically about those challenges?
  • Can leaders “from the middle” be true agents for positive change within larger institutions or organizations? How do leaders “from the middle” identify opportunities to make changes or improvements – and, once identified, successfully implement those changes?

Students will be required to write two short papers, from a selection of topics provided by the professor.  The topics will be based on the readings, materials and topics discussed in class.