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LEADERSHIP IS A PROCESS OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE, WHICH MAXIMISES THE EFFORTS OF OTHERS TOWARDS THE ACHIEVEMENT OF A SHARED GOAL.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
For the past decade, Chris Maxwell, associate director of the Wharton School’s Undergraduate Leadership Programme, and Anne M. Greenhalgh, the Programme’s director, have begun their foundation course for Wharton undergraduates with a simple question – “How would you describe the essence of leadership?”
They ask each student to find or create an image that captures the essence of leadership and to explain why in a short essay. Over time, Maxwell and Greenhalgh have used these essays to search the most frequently used words in order to construct the overarching story the students tell, and they have used the student’s images and essays to create in-class exercises and to foster classroom discussion.
Here are the most often used words:
The Wordle image makes clear that the primary subject of the students’ leadership story is an individual leader in the context of people, team, group, and other. The primary qualities that describe leadership are moral; in students’ eyes, the leader is good, great, able, and true. In addition, the Wordle highlights that the students most frequently refer to the subject of leadership as his. Finally, taken as a whole, overtly transformational actions such as make, show, inspire, help, and believe are twice as prevalent as the transactional actions take and order.