Unit One: Developing A Personal Leadership Philosophy

In this unit, students examine different views of leadership and establish the foundation for a personal leadership philosophy. Excerpts from the Humanities include material from Plato's Republic. Paulo Friere's letter on the indispensable qualities of progressive teachers is a philosophy of leadership to change societies. Excerpts from the films, Twelve O'Clock High and Iron Lady portray contrasting leadership philosophies and students explore the underlying assumptions of each approach.


Unit Two: Leading By Serving

Service to others and the public good is the cornerstone of great leadership. This unit explores in detail Servant Leadership and demonstrates compellingly that leadership in any field of endeavor requires a reversal of the conventional wisdom that exhorts simply to lead: it argues that the important thing is to serve. Included as the Classic Case are excerpts from Journey to the East by Hermann Hesse, which inspired Robert Greenleaf's seminal writing on "The Servant as Leader," also part of the unit. The Leadership Profile comes from a narrative of Harriet Tubman's leadership showing service combined with leadership. Students also learn about Florence Nightingale and her unique approach to leading and serving to accomplish a different kind of social change. Contemporary and unusual examples of true servant leadership are portrayed in the Film Studies Born Free and Hotel Rwanda.


Unit Three: Understanding Ethical Leadership

This unit introduces students to the concepts of personal and institutional social responsibility and social responsiveness. It also surveys the process of ethical reasoning and its tools. In Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, key characters face critical ethical dilemmas. Confucius' philosophy of leadership from The Analects contains significant excerpts on ethical leadership. Some of Gandhi's writing on the philosophical foundation of non-violent resistance appears in the additional readings for this unit. Finally, the Film Studies of Miss Evers' Boys, about the true story of The Tuskeegee Experiment and its lessons in ethical leadership, and Billy Budd, provide opportunities to investigate the challenges and barriers to ethical leadership.


Unit Four: Articulating A Vision

Inspiring a shared vision is one of the most difficult tasks a leader faces. There is a critical link between a leader's vision and his or her ability to communicate its essence powerfully. Three speeches from Shakespeare's Henry V, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Lincoln provide students the opportunity to examine excellent examples of articulating a vision. In addition, students observe the skill and drive with which suffragettes Alice Paul and Lucy Burns and others communicated their vision in the film Iron Jawed Angels, and in the film Citizen Kane.


Unit Five: Team Building

An effective leader engages in team building activities to increase the effectiveness of groups and the satisfaction of individuals working in groups. An excerpt from John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath underscores the importance of trust, courtesies, and establishing routine procedures for effective team building. A speech by Cesar Chavez demonstrates the organizational side of creating a team with unity of purpose. Students also observe the phenomenal team-building skills of football coach Herman Boone in Remember the Titans, and how a group of characters with different personal goals becomes a team in The Wizard of Oz.


Unit Six: Leading With Goals

Goals are the stepping stones to personal, interpersonal, and career development and are critical for effective leadership. The Classic Case from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion illustrates the importance of keen focus on goals and the necessary ingredients for reaching goals. Frederick Douglass' autobiography provides a historical example of effective goal setting. Excerpts from Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning, and Film Studies of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Argo provide further examples of the importance of effective goal setting.


Unit Seven: Making Decisions

This unit investigates the processes of decision making first from a personal perspective with an excerpt from Huckleberry Finn, and then from a broader perspective when decisions will affect many with Chief Joseph of the Nez Perces who recounts the difficulties of weighing consequences in his 1879 speech "An Indian's View of Indian Affairs." George Orwell's essay "Shooting an Elephant" reflects on the power of outside influences on our decisions. Students examine the decision making processes in the Film Studies of To Kill a Mockingbird and Milk, as well as in an exercise using the film Twelve Angry Men.


Unit Eight: Guiding Through Conflict

In this unit, students learn that the leader's task is not to remove conflict, but to choreograph it so as to reduce its harmful side effects, maximize its positive benefits, and maintain civility. Excerpts from Homer's The Iliad illustrate the kind of conflict that can bring organizations down. Maureen Dowd and Jehan Sadat demonstrate the exchange of competing ideas with civility in excerpts of their writing following the September, 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. The Federalist: Number 10, by James Madison, offers profound insight regarding the corrosive effect of organizational conflict and makes specific recommendations for its remedy. In addition, film excerpts from All the President's Men and Freedom Writers provide examples to explore what makes the difference between dysfunctional, destructive conflict and creative, productive conflict.


Unit Nine: Realizing Change

One of the most important tasks of the leader is to encourage the ongoing rejuvenation of a group or organization. Plato's Allegory of the Cave speaks eloquently to the problems a leader faces when he or she tries to change the organization. The words of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony describe the resistance they face and their determination to bring about change. Finally, "Letter From Birmingham Jail," by Martin Luther King, Jr., compellingly explains the need for change and how change can happen. Inherit the Wind and Lincoln are the Film Studies for the unit and provide powerful examples of how one person can initiate important and meaningful change.


Unit Ten: Empowering Others

Empowerment is an important concept for effective leadership. A contemporary play, The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn, illustrates how an individual with no structural or formal power can give power and meaning to individuals or a community. Nelson Mandela also empowered many even while imprisoned and excerpts from his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom describe his approaches. Student can compare and contrast his approach to empowering others while imprisoned to his approach as President of the Republic of South Africa in the film Invictus. The film Norma Rae portrays the empowering leadership of a union organizer and a determined factory worker.


Unit Eleven: Exploring the History of Leadership Studies

The use of the Humanities is on center stage in this final unit. Excerpts from Aristotle's Politics highlight the importance of European Ancient Civilizations in leadership studies, and excerpts from Lao-Tzu's Tao Te Ching show the importance of Asian Ancient Civilizations. Together, these selections point out the ancient roots of two prominent schools of thought regarding leadership: Great Man/Great Woman theory and Servant Leadership. This unit includes more Humanities readings than any other with additional literary excerpts from The Once and Future King, by T.H. White, and The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, to illustrate the dominance of Great Man/Great Woman theory and the emergence of Scientific Management theory. An excerpt from Abram Maslow introduces Human Relations theory, and the autobiographical writings of Aung San Suu Kyi introduce Systems theory. The films Elizabeth and 42 give students the opportunity to consider whether Great Man/Woman theory provides a framework for understanding the leadership of charismatic individuals or if other theories better describe their leadership.