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Effective leaders understand that leadership is a critical resource that needs to be developed individually, within an organization or community, and over time. As the challenges of businesses and society evolve, so should our expectations of leadership. A review of leadership theory over the last century is a testament to how the unique challenges of each generation provide the underlying motivation for our leaders. In this way these drivers serve to create a different leadership profile that is unique to each era. 

At Bard’s MBA in Sustainability, we are witnessing first-hand how the expectations and the profile of leadership are dramatically shifting to address the pressing social and environmental challenges of today. For this reason, we are responding with a fundamentally different set of business trainings that anticipate the new leadership profile that is emerging.  

Today’s professionals share a passion and vision that is very different from traditional business leaders. They are redefining our expectations of leadership, in terms of what they aspire to as leaders, and what they respond to in leadership. Their vision of the world, as well as their role in it, is driven by their desire for a more just and civil society. Their perspective of the future is motivated by a different worldview, one that positions them and their leaders in service to society and the environment as opposed to the traditional view of being in command of society and the environment. As such they are drawn to business models that are not only financially profitable but able to improve social conditions while being responsible environmental stewards. 

These goals do not have to be in opposition to traditional business models but they do mandate a systemic perspective that supports a more complex and integrated view of leadership success. This view places our leaders and businesses not above the needs of society and the environment but rather embeds them within these ecosystems and communities so that employees feel that they can accomplish both their business goals while furthering the well being of the larger system. Leading with an integrated worldview also helps leaders by bringing a sense of purpose to the things we do. In the process it not only unleashes the desire for purpose that exists in all of us but also, as research increasingly suggests, increases well-being and health. 

At Bard, we are challenging aspiring leaders to articulate their vision, to champion their worldview, and to clearly articulate their personal leadership practice and profile so that they are ready to motivate others to lead the change that is necessary today. Regardless of your age or training, we encourage all aspiring professionals to take the time to develop a leadership profile and practice that reflects your worldview and respects your vision of the future while addressing your personal mission and your desire for purpose and meaning in your work. Leadership is a skill that is developed at all career levels.  Identifying a personal leadership profile provides the foundation from which individuals can address challenging issues with effective self-awareness on a team, company, industry or community level

The complex social and environmental challenges we face as a society today mandate a dramatically different perspective on leadership and a very different set of business solutions. While the circumstances of every generation evolve over time, the solution is and always has been strong leadership. 

Gilles Mesrobian is on the faculty of Bard College's MBA in Sustainability. At Bard, Gilles teaches Personal Leadership Development working with MBA students to develop leadership competencies utilizing a personal mastery approach. Each student creates and executes a personal leadership development plan focused around a subset of emotional intelligence leadership competencies, such as initiative, self-control, catalyzing change, influence, teamwork and collaboration. 

Join Gilles for a workshop on Mastering your Personal Leadership Skills on October 30th, 2019 in NYC. Taking cues from the Bard MBA program’s Sustainable Leadership curriculum, this session will encourage participants to incorporate their values, vision, and leadership styles into their work to build confidence as high performing individuals and change-makers.

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Group discussions, small group activities and individual reflections will lead to the formation of a personal leadership profile.

Participants will:

  • Articulate goals around personal and professional leadership
  • Reflect on the role of Vision and Values in leadership
  • Articulate 1-2 leadership challenges that might prevent goals from being achieved
  • Develop strategies to address challenges

This workshop is presented by LMHQ in collaboration with the Bard MBA in Sustainability Program. The Bard MBA in Sustainability is a hybrid MBA program that fully embeds sustainability into a core business curriculum. It meets once-monthly over a four day weekend at LMHQ with online classes in between. Information at www.bard.edu/mba.


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