Chapter 12 - Leadership
KEY STUDENT QUESTIONS
Students have an intrinsic interest in leadership - they come into class wanting to know:
“Do I have what it takes to be a leader?”
“Are the people I know who are in leadership positions doing
the right things?”
The problem is that when professors start talking about “leadership theories,” students start to go to
Your approach to solving this problem depends on your preferences for applied vs. laboratory
research, but whichever you prefer; brush up on your storytelling skills!
If your preference is applied research, emphasize leader traits and behaviors in your lecture.
a copy of any of Kouzes’ and Posner’s books
- they are crammed with examples and stories you
can use to bring the criteria for being a leader to life.
When discussing contingency theories of
leadership, rather than talking about path-goal theory and the least-preferred coworker model,
describe leaders such as Rudy Guiliani, who were seen as effective in certain circumstances, but
not in others. Review research from the Center for Creative Leadership (
additional information on the successful leadership strategies of corporate executives.
If your preference is for laboratory research, the trick is to tell the students the story behind the
For example, Fiedler’s work was influenced by a seminal review of the leadership
literature published by Stogdill in 1948.
In his work, Stogdill suggested that it was time to stop
looking at the traits of leaders, and instead look at how they were affected by their situations.
Some of Fiedler’s earliest work was with basketball teams - he asked basketball players to
describe both the people on the team and those rejected from the team.
The results of that study
showed that when basketball players were able to describe the people rejected from the team in
positive terms, the team was more effective overall.
: A day or two before you are scheduled
to teach the leadership chapter, ask your students to
Discussion Question 7
question reads “Who are your heroes?
them heroes, and what can you learn from them?”
By reviewing this input before
class, you can create examples that will be more meaningful to the class.
especially important if you have a very diverse class, as student responses can
be very interesting and unusual!
In one recent class, students chose Billy
Graham and Hugh Hefner as leaders, as well as a prime minister from Thailand
and Guan Zi Zai, the Chinese name for the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.
Kouzes and Posner,
Credibility (Revised Edition),
Kousez and Posner,