Knowing, Doing, and Being

Teaching Leadership: Approaches That Emphasize Being

“How does one teach leadership in a way that not only informs [students] about leadership but also transforms them into actually being leaders? In this section, several authors share courageous and often unconventional approaches to teaching that target the very essence of who we are, the BE component of leadership education.

“Erhard, Jensen and Granger anchor this collection by taking dead aim at the BE component.  In a highly provocative chapter titled “Creating Leaders”, this eclectic group of scholars argues for adopting a decidedly ontological approach to leadership education that promises to leave students actually being leaders. Contrasting their ontological approach−described as being and action as experienced ‘on the court’−with more traditional perspectives where leadership is observed and commented on ‘from the stands,’ this chapter presents a rigorous theory of leadership education that begins and ends with the following bold promises to students:

• You will leave this course being who you need to be to be a leader.
• You will leave this course with what it takes to exercise leadership effectively.

“For these authors, integrity, authenticity, and being committed to something bigger than oneself form the base of ‘the context for leadership,’ a context that once mastered, leaves one actually being a leader. It is not enough to know about or simply understand these foundational factors, but rather by following a rigorous, phenomenologically based methodology, students have the opportunity to create for themselves a context that leaves them actually being a leader and exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression.” –  editors comments from The Handbook for Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing, and Being, Edited by Snook, Scott A., Nohria, Nitin N., and Khurana, Rakesh, Sage Publications, Inc., 2011.