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Why would people seek out your specific leadership? What would be different from the strengths, approaches, and behaviors that people see today?


C-suite: Leadership

The final course paper (~5 pages) is an individual written and oral assignment in which students are asked to integrate their learnings from the course and create a comprehensive guide for themselves of the essentials for successful leadership. The paper and oral presentation should include, but not be limited to, (1) the most important lessons about leadership and organizations taken from course readings, activities, and the reasons these are personally meaningful; (2) what you have learned about your own leadership behaviors, values, perspectives, and development from any group projects and other activities throughout the semester; and (3) how this knowledge and awareness can/will strengthen your future leadership and organizational effectiveness.

Ideas must be well grounded in theory from the course, and other relevant literature; and the paper must be written like a graduate-level analytic paper with thoughtful analysis, strong use of references, and accurate use of readings. Because effective leadership involves strong oral communication skills, a number of students will present a ten minute presentation of their paper to the class. Assessment for the oral portion of the project will be based on content and method of presentation along with style and audience engagement. This is not a diary, a description of what you did or will do, or a reflective story. This is an analysis. When discussing yourself, think of yourself as a case and use theories and ideas from the course to expand and probe choices, behaviors, outcomes, and implications. Theory enables you to go beyond what you would do in regular self-reflection.

More specifically, the paper should be divided into two parts.

PART I (~3 pages) contains the basics of your leadership guide from an analysis of your course learning and of your individual leadership. The course has provided a theoretical framework for thinking broadly about leadership and its components that you can draw-upon to describe your leadership understandings, critical reminders, and philosophy and to explore how all that translates into a leadership approach and practice. The course has provided opportunities in the large group for you to see yourself in action as a leader. To supplement learning from that and to ground your self-perceptions in data on how others see your leadership, you are required to collect 360 degree feedback from 3-5 other people at different levels (i.e., a boss, subordinate, peer) who know you well. These might include colleagues, present or former managers, direct reports, family members, classmates, project team members, coaches, and so on. Attach to the paper the names of all whom you have interviewed; their relationship to you; the format for the interview (i.e., in person, by phone, by email, etc.); and the questions asked. When conducting these interviews, the topics should pertain to your leadership approach and behavior.

More specifically, collect examples and stories that illustrate your

  1. Overall leadership impact
  2. Leadership approach and values
  3. Leadership competencies, core strengths, and areas for development
  4. Leadership integrity and courage

IMPORTANT: This section of the paper is not a report of the feedback others have given you, although it would make sense for you to summarize what you have learned from others in a chart for a full portrait of what people have said about you. The feedback from others should stretch your knowledge of yourself, test your perceptions of your strengths and areas for development, and be integrated into your analysis throughout the paper.


PART II (~2 pages) builds on PART I. It is a statement of your leadership vision for the future and the leadership development you will need to advance that vision. Think about yourself 5 years into the future and create a vision of what you will be like as a leader. If we could see your vision in action and watch you leading in the future, what would your leadership look like? What, how, why and whom will you create, contribute, impact, and serve as a leader? What skills and strengths will you be best known for? Why would people seek out your specific leadership? What would be different from the strengths, approaches, and behaviors that people see today? Do not describe a specific job or organization. Rather visualize how you will extend and leverage your leadership strengths and approach in whatever you are doing 5 years from now.

Again, students are expected to draw widely on the leadership literature and to reference course readings as well as other relevant literature for this paper. References and a bibliography are required. Good communication skills; developing and presenting strong, grounded arguments, self-reflection, and learning from experience are vital leadership assets.


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