COM 597: Leadership in the Digital Age: Establishing Authenticity through Story (Crofts)

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCDM, 3 Credits

Please Note: This class will not substantially differ from the Cohort 13 required core class “Leadership Through Story and Community: Creativity and the Digital Age” class, so this class is appropriate for Cohort 12 students or earlier.

Course Description:

Leadership skills are not just traits you are born with, but competencies you learn and refine throughout your life. Today, with office structures flattening and transparency at a premium, authentic leadership is critical for success in the digital age. Whether it is crowdsourced decision-making, the arrival of the Millennial Generation as customers and colleagues, or the wider reach of personal narrative in the age of new media, the challenges and opportunities that leaders face are evolving as quickly as the technologies themselves. In this course, we will consider how the rise of new media has amplified the teachings of traditional leadership development scholarship, called into question outdated models of engagement, and accelerated the need for genuine relationship building. As leadership development is a deeply personal pursuit, we will emphasize individual leadership development and theory, nested in the context of leading within an organizational structure. We will pay particular attention to the concept of storytelling, or life narrative, as a key leadership tool in the 21st century. Leaders at all levels and across all sectors will be able to apply teachings from this class to their work.

Student Testimonial:

“When I first read up on Leadership in the Digital Age, I had planned to take it as a sort of capstone to the end of my time with the MCDM. I figured by then, I’d fully be ready to learn about and embrace leadership. However, through last minute scheduling changes I ended up taking as part of my first quarter in the program, which ended up being the option I recommend! The term “leadership” I think can be a bit loaded, with the expectation that you are a manager of people or high-up in the organizational chain. I am neither of these. But through this course, I learned leadership really has nothing to do with that. The class is a very good combination of enlightening readings, discussion based class within a small group (you really get to know everyone by the end of the course!), and great guest lecturers from the community. I was surprised that the eight-hour weekend classes actually seemed to flow by very quickly, and Anita organizes your time during these days very well, so the classroom time is well spent. There is a lot of reading, writing and the final project that pushed me out of my comfort zone to interview local leaders I admired. The course is challenging, but in the best way – I learned a lot about leadership and even more about myself. Anita is a very nurturing presence and allows for a very safe space to explore your own belief system, and I left the course with a major boost to my self-confidence. I highly recommend that everyone take this course during their time in the MCDM, it should be a requirement!”