A deep, personal approach to growth and development–it’s why I’m here. Nowhere has this IMD quality been more apparent than in our Leadership stream. Since day 1, professor Jack Wood has led us down a path of self and group analysis, inward reflection, and study of leadership. Although this course is exactly as described in the syllabus, it is easily the greatest surprise I have experienced at IMD so far.
When one thinks of “leadership,” one thinks of General Patton, Winston Churchill, Jack Welch, etc–impassioned people with the ability to inspire and motivate scores of others. Instead of “how to be impassioned” (which I’m not sure can be taught) or “how to motivate others” (covered in other courses), though, the focus of this course is learning about . . . yourself. Not your persona. Not the way you think you should behave. But the conscious and unconscious emotions you feel, what behaviors they induce in normal and in stressful situations, and the conscious and unconscious emotions those behaviors induce in others.
Sound pretty touchy feely? Well, it is. It’s really less of a course and more of a journey. It started months before the program when we were asked to read books and articles on emotional analysis. We were then charged with writing a 15-page Personal and Professional Identity Narrative before school began in January. The PPIN is an honest (and confidential) history of your life and relationships, from significant childhood experiences to your proudest accomplishments to your greatest regrets. It is an opportunity to throw it ALL out there on paper and coalesce it into a foundation for real analysis. Even with just the few tools (background readings) that we had been given at the time, I found writing the PPIN to be extremely beneficial in crystallizing my thoughts about where I had been, where I was, and where I wanted to go. We will revise our PPINs with the help of additional tools throughout the year; I can’t wait.
Since our arrival we have spent a lot of time in the Leadership stream. To summarize everything I’ve learned about leadership, group dynamics, and organizational behavior–not to mention about myself–even in just the three weeks we’ve been here will take several posts. However, here are a few interesting take-aways:
- Foundations of transactional analysis and script analysis
- Humans have rational and irrational sides, conscious and subconscious parts of our minds, overt and covert intentions in what we say and do; a very significant part of our behavior is driven by the irrational.
- In groups, “rational” behavior (desire for structure, process, for example) is often just rationalization of irrational behavior.
- Groups deciding by compromise tend to make efficient decisions; groups striving to reach consensus tend to make effective decisions.
- Humans tend to think of situations in “threes:” there is usually a persecutor, a victim, and a rescuer. We externalize this model to everything from book/movie plots to how decisions are made in groups.
That will do for now. There are no text books in this course so I won’t ever really have a list of bullet point take-aways. I have already learned a tremendous amount about myself, however, and some of that will be the subject of future posts. This is my favorite class so far.
P.S. Apologies to all my grammar-sensitive readers for all the sentence fragments in this post. All of my posts are written in the wee hours of the morning so I make no claims boasts about style or eloquence.