This course is a journey in leadership development through the study of poetry, prose, drama, and film from ancient and modern sources curated by students in Norman Sandridge’s Fall 2021 course at Howard University. Sources include: Hercules (1997), Dallas Buyers Club, The Princess and the Frog, “Humans of New York,” The Hunger Games, Captain America: Civil War, Monster’s University, and Ratatouille. By gaining practice in translating your study of these works into your own leadership development, you will become trained and empowered to begin looking at all of the human cultural artifacts you encounter–literature, art, history, philosophy, architecture, etc.–as potential points of reflection for your further leadership development.
Students in this course pursued their personal and conceptual leadership development in five different ways:
- knowledge, or appreciation, of leadership: What is leadership? What are the most common challenges of leadership? What are the emotional and psychological pressures of leading? How does someone cultivate leadership? How accurately can you predict what would happen if you engaged in a certain leadership activity?
- behavior: what are the most common leadership behaviors? how do I come to practice them more often and better? Here is a list of common leadership behaviors you may wish to begin reflecting on.
- relationships: who are the best people to work with to get things done and how do I cultivate relationships with them?
- decisions: what are the decisions I can make in my life to prepare me to show the most leadership? What subjects should I study? What courses should I take? What degree should I pursue? What career?
- reputation: how can I make my leadership capacity known to others, such that I enter into the best partnerships for improving the world?
If you would like some initial practice in this process of development through study, here’s a short exercise.
To make your way through this course you need only a notebook to begin writing down your thoughts, as one of our core techniques for leadership development will be a practice of “sketching” the kinds of leadership we are observing in our lives and the kinds of leadership we ourselves want to perform (for more on sketching, check out this link). I encourage you to write by hand on paper in locations that are as free from distraction as possible, to ensure that you look as deeply inward and outward as you can.