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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sam Allis on Leadership

Sam Allis writes a weekly column, The Observer, for the Boston Sunday Globe. This week's column is titled "The leadership thing". This caught my interest due to the leadership discussion underway over on the blog Synergy.
He writes of a new program being introduced at Tufts to address what previously had not been taught in college. Professor Robert Sternberg, currently Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, had created the Rainbow Project while at Yale. In the new minor in leadership program to be offered in the fall of 2007:

They'll learn to appreciate other points of view, to perceive how people perceive them, to clarify their own strengths and weaknesses, and then compensate for the weaknesses. They'll learn that formulas change and that unlike a multiple choice test, solutions are contextualized.

How come no one taught me any of this?

The man is also near and dear to my heart because he honors the skills of the ''Happy Bottom Quarter" -- the much-maligned C students who often go on to run brokerage houses, law firms, countries. Credit them with the emotional smarts to figure out there's no point in herniating yourself in the classroom when what matters are relationships that will yield rich benefits for the rest of your life.

''It's the skills, not just the relationships," he corrects. ''They learn early that they'll never get anywhere trying to be the best student, so they must develop another set of skills to achieve. This is the tacit knowledge to know what they need to succeed. The correlation between academic and practical intelligence is, like, zero."

So with the academic world will be offering courses in 2007, you can either wait until then, or join the discussion over at the blog Synergy to get the latest on leadership.


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