Training for a New Generation of Leaders: MLD-322 The Art and Adventures of Public Leadership with David Gergen

Having spent an extraordinary lifetime advising and observing top leaders in politics, diplomacy, the military, business, higher education, and philanthropy, Public Service Professor of Public Leadership David Gergen is uniquely positioned to guide Harvard students aspiring to the highest levels of leadership.

Watch: David Gergen on what is necessary for leadership. CBS Sunday Morning profile video. May 2022 (Click to view)

In his course MLD-322 The Art and Adventures of Public Leadership, Gergen aims to help prepare rising members of a new generation for lives of service and public leadership. In an intimate seminar setting – smaller than past enrollments of this course – Gergen and students will explore together some of the key questions that confront those who seek to make a difference in an increasingly turbulent world.

Questions explored range from the personal to the political.  For instance, as you leave the Kennedy School and build a career, what are the personal qualities, values, and skills that one needs have or develop to lead successfully? When and how can one successfully jump into the public arena and still manage a balanced life at home? When facing a serious setback – a “crucible moment,” as Gergen calls them — how do you, as a young leader, find the resilience to recover and push yourself forward?  When is it the right time for you to enter the public arena? How do you find your voice and mobilize others? How do you build and nurture a strong team? How do you build and sustain a social movement?

For answers, Gergen draws on life journeys of leaders from different points in history, seeking out parallels and differences that can help students in their own leadership development. The leaders studied reflect the diversity of those who have struggled to create a more just and open world. The coursework includes biographical readings, leadership literature, films, classroom discussions, and also guest appearances by a diverse set of leaders who have wisdom to impart.

Cover of "Hearts Touched with Fire" a book by David GergenThis past Spring Gergen published an inspiring playbook for emerging change-makers called Hearts Touched with Fire. In the book Gergen has collected many of the stories and lessons learned from his years closely studying leaders, and he issues a call to the younger generations around the world to step up and lead through the array of challenges we are facing today. Both Gergen’s new book, and his previously published classic Eyewitness to Power are excellent companion readings to MLD-322 and other leadership development courses at Harvard Kennedy School like the courses in adaptive leadership, moral leadership, public narrative, and, also, American presidential leadership.

MLD-322 will be offered at Harvard Kennedy School in the fall semester. If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

MLD-208 Moral Practice for Public Leadership with Chris Robichaud

For Chris Robichaud, HKS Senior Lecturer in Ethics and Public Policy, it’s not enough to teach interesting ethical principles: “I want students to see ethics all around them, not just as something we talk about in a classroom.” With HKS students aspiring to a wide variety of leadership positions, Robichaud’s new course, MLD-208: Moral Practice for Public Leadership explores how moral practice can inform, complement, and most importantly improve all sorts of good public leadership. This new course does not simply offer another theory of leadership—“moral leadership”—but instead Robichaud aims to foster “moral practice,” specifically, a set of exercises, activities, and methods, to teach students to cultivate their moral perception, moral imagination, and moral character, all of which are directed towards improved moral action in the public sphere.

Students will come away with insight into their own ethos, strategies on how to continue to develop it (a lifelong pursuit), and models on how to have it deeply inform their own public leadership practice.

Students in MLD-208 will explore cross-cultural philosophical traditions, ancient as well as contemporary, to learn about this conception of ethics, understood not merely as a set of intellectual doctrines—not merely as a kind of thinking or reasoning—but as an entire ethos—as a way of life. As a bonus, students will come to learn how several of the most popular notions in leadership studies—purpose, character, authenticity, happiness and more—have their roots in philosophy, roots worth examining. MLD-208 is therefore a valuable complement to other HKS leadership courses, such as MLD-201, -202, -204, -215, -340, 355 and -617M.

Chris Robichaud pointing and smiling against a purple background with a diagram behind him
Sr. Lecturer Chris Robichaud

Robichaud who also serves as the Director of Pedagogical Innovation at Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard is consistently one of the school’s most pedagogically innovative instructors. His focus ever since arriving at Harvard has been on developing ways to teach ethics to students through active experiences. “There’s a stickiness that comes out of ethical simulations; students remember the kind of learning they have around them,” he says. Recent HKS alums will always remember the “Zombie Apocalypse” exercise that Robichaud created and fielded during the school’s student orientation.

For more on Robichaud’s pedagogy, including a brief preview and discussion of the Zombie Apocalypse simulation, view his SXSW EDU 2021 conversation “Why Teach Students About Zombies & Superheroes”

See also Robichaud’s 2020 article with Tomer J. Perry in Journal of Political Science Education “Teaching Ethics Using Simulations: Active Learning Exercises in Political Theory” (Vol.16; No.2): 225-242.

In addition, says Robichaud, “I’ve tried to take popular entertainment, with a focus on scary movies and superheroes (things I love), and show that you really can extract some interesting lessons in moral philosophy and ethics from that entertainment.”   See, for example, this discussion with Robichaud courtesy of WIRED magazine, titled “Harvard Professor Explains What the Avengers Can Teach Us About Philosophy.” 

In keeping to form, MLD-208 will employ a variety of tools to accomplish its learning goals, from the “usual suspects”—cases, simulations, film and other forms of fiction—to new experiential exercises. Students will come away with insight into their own ethos, strategies on how to continue to develop it (a lifelong pursuit), and models on how to have it deeply inform their own public leadership practice.

MLD-208 will be offered in the fall semester at the Harvard Kennedy School. For questions about these courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

Fundamental Negotiation Training at HKS: MLD-215 with Rob Wilkinson and MLD-223 with Kessely Hong

Among the signature curriculum of the Harvard Kennedy School, negotiation training has always stood out as among the most popular due to its practicality and necessity across all sectors and policy domains. Founded by one of the luminaries of negotiation science, Howard Raiffa, HKS faculty have always been at the forefront of negotiation research and training. Furthermore, we recognize negotiation skills are a critical contributor to effective leadership of organizations, campaigns, and social movements of all types.

With the two introductory negotiation courses outside the MPP core, MLD-215 Negotiation and Leadership: Essential Theory and Practice for Enhancing Your Personal Effectiveness with Robert Wilkinson and MLD-223 Negotiating Across Differences with Kessely Hong students can learn the fundamental, time-tested frameworks of negotiation analysis. Both courses introduce the core concepts of distributive bargaining, value creation, stakeholder analysis, trust-building, barriers to agreement, and strategic approaches to negotiation.

Portrait photo of Robert Wilkinson, Lecturer in Public Policy and Leadership
Robert Wilkinson, Lecturer in Public Policy and Leadership

MLD-215 (Wilkinson) will provide students with the fundamental principles, theory and practice of the field of negotiation, but MLD-215 is especially distinctive in blending leadership and negotiation principles in a single course. The curriculum will balance theory and practice, and draws on the classic literature, as well as more recent work. Students will learn using the case study method, active simulations, group work and lectures to bring the conceptual material to life, as well as to build students’ personal negotiation and leadership skills. Drawing on his extensive experience as a practitioner in the field, Wilkinson will emphasize bringing in international examples and cases throughout the course, to provide both domestic and global perspectives on negotiation and leadership.

 

 

Kessely Hong smiling and teaching students in a Harvard classroom
Senior Lecturer Kessely Hong

MLD-223 (Hong) offers more complex, multiple-stakeholder cases and simulations, some of which include salient cultural or power differences and multi-party dynamics. Students are challenged to navigate differences in expectations, attitudes toward risk, culture, power, status, and partisan perceptions. In Hong’s course, students read and analyze a variety of very rich real-world cases, in which interpretations of the protagonists’ actions provide illuminating insights into similar spectrum of dynamics (personal, psychological, political, cultural, etc.) at play in negotiations over public policy.

 

 

Both MLD-215 and MLD-223 serve as pre-requisites for MLD-280M Advanced Workshop in Multiparty Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, the January-term course, taught by Brian Mandell, Mohamed Kamal Senior Lecturer in Negotiation and Public Policy.  Students wanting to additional venues to study, research, and design new ways of negotiation practice will be interested in exploring the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Collaboratory. Established and directed by Brian Mandell, the NCRC develops ways to connect students of negotiation with practitioners on the frontlines and faculty leading cutting-edge research. They seek to advance the field of experiential learning and motivate innovations in teaching advanced negotiation in simulated environments. In addition, NCRC faculty affiliates within the Center for Public Leadership engage in the interdisciplinary study of developments and trends at the intersection of negotiation and leadership.

MLD-215 and MLD-223 are offered at Harvard Kennedy School in Fall semester. MLD-215 will also be offered in spring semester. MLD-280M is offered in January term. If you have any questions about these courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

MLD-355: Public Narrative with Marshall Ganz — A Leadership Practice Translating Values into Action

According to MLD’s  Marshall Ganz, the Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing, and Civil Society, “To lead is to accept responsibility for enabling others to achieve shared purpose in the face of uncertainty.” But where should a student aspiring to lead for the the greater good begin?  For Ganz, the process of leadership starts with the “self” and builds outward into a constituency, creating “us,” a group that’s ready “now” to meet the challenges on the path to shared goals.  In MLD-355: Public Narrative Ganz and his highly collaborative teaching team introduce students to the discursive process through which individuals, communities, and nations learn to make choices, construct identity, and inspire action. The goal is teaching students to link their our own callings to that of a community that shares a call to action, translating deeply held personal values into effective action. Ganz continues, “Because it engages the ‘head’ and the ‘heart,’ Marshall Ganz's Public Narrative Leadership Pedagogy: Head, Heart, Handsnarrative can instruct and inspire – teaching us not only why we should act, but moving us to act.” Based on a pedagogy of guided reflective practice, students work in groups to learn to tell their own public narrative. Developing their own personal practice of public narrative builds students’ leadership capacity, and is especially critical when they are called to respond in moments of challenge like facing loss, lacking power, confronting inequality and difference, and enacting meaningful change.

Over the years Ganz and his course graduates have introduced public narrative training widely across the globe including in  the Obama presidential campaign (2007-8), Sierra Club, Episcopal Church, United We Dream Movement, the Ahel Organizing Initiative, (Jordan), Serbia on the Move (Belgrade), Avina (Bogata), National Health Service (UK), Peking University (Beijing), Tatua (Kenya), Community Organizing Japan (Tokyo) and elsewhere, proving the relevance of narrative practice across disciplines, professions, and cultures.

Students seeking to extend their narrative practice and learning often follow up MLD-355 in the spring by enrolling in Ganz’s other course MLD-377M: Organizing: People, Power, Change, in which put into practice what they’ve learned in organizations, movements, and campaigns of their own.

Beyond HKS, Ganz and graduates of his teaching have established the Leading Change Network, a global community of organizers, educators and researcher aiming ” To meet the challenges to democracy by developing the leadership to organize communities which build power and realize the values of equality, solidarity, and dignity.”

To learn more, view a complete (~75 minute) mini-workshop with Marshall Ganz introducing public narrative pedagogy on the YouTube channel of The Resistance School which was founded in March of 2017 by graduate students of HKS and other Harvard schools. Lesson 1 of the 15 short videos is below; the full set is here.

Well before COVID-19 moved HKS teaching online during the 2020-21 academic year, Ganz and his team with HKS Executive Education were pioneering the teaching of leadership and organizing online. With over 10 years experience developing his online public narrative Exec Ed course Ganz and his team have created an exceptionally strong model of experiential, interpersonal, and interdependent learning. For a sample of, and in-depth introduction to their online teaching pedagogy, view here a (~60 min) video of an online interactive session led by Ganz for Harvard Kennedy School faculty on his approach to online teaching.

MLD-355 will be offered at the Harvard Kennedy School in the fall semester, and MLD-377M will be taught in spring. For questions about these courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator. You may also contact Emily Lin, Program Director for Ganz’s Practicing Democracy Project (emily_lin@hks.harvard.edu).

MLD-113M: Strategy and Decision with Peter Zimmerman

How can effective leaders learn from experience and decisions in the past to make more effective decisions that advance one’s strategic purpose?

Book Cover: Strategy: A History, by Lawrence Freedman, Copyright Oxford University Press, 2013

Strategy is expressed in the decisions we make every day. There are no choices or actions that are truly neutral with respect to one’s strategic purpose.  Yet few decisions come labelled as “strategic”; instead policy makers, analysts and managers face an unending stream of judgments and choices that arrive in varied frames from every imaginable direction.

No decision stands alone. Today’s decisions are linked undeniably to decisions in the past reflected in the experience of individuals, groups, teams and organizations, even nations.  Experience both enables and limits our perceptions, beliefs, values, predispositions and capabilities. We both learn from the past (it’s all we’ve got) yet our learning can be limited by the deceptive clarity and presumed certainty associated with explanations of past events.

MLD-113M Strategy and Decision with Peter Zimmerman will help students develop more robust explanations of past decisions, their strategic impact and will help students make better predictions of the effects of future decisions.  Taking as the course text cases and stories involving others, from different times and places, and even students’ own stories and experience, students will work on three parallel tracks. First, students have the chance to analyze and explain decisions large & small while experimenting in a tentative qualitative way with how things might come out differently. Next, they explore the science of behavior & decision-making (i.e., what are the sources of influence on decision and what’s going on in the black box?). Finally, they develop a framework to help improve our explanations & predictions and to integrate individual choices into a pattern of strategic decisions.

This course is offered in the spring module 2 semester. If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

MLD-352: The Leadership System: Leaders, Followers, Contexts with Barbara Kellerman

History attests that leadership has never been just about single individuals perched at the top of the greasy pole. It has always been more complex a process than the leader-centric leadership literature would seem to suggest,” says Barbara Kellerman, the James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership. In her Fall 2020 course MLD-352: The Leadership System: Leaders, Followers, Contexts, Kellerman and her students explore that notion by examining the interconnected dynamics that followers and context play in the story and success (or failure) of a leader.  Through her many years of reading and writing on leadership Kellerman has developed a novel framework to help students analyze situations in which leaders (and followers) find themselves, and to understand what roles they can, should, and (perhaps) should not play. “This is not in any conventional sense a ‘how to’ course. Rather it is an intellectual journey into the heart of leadership,” explains Kellerman. Portrait photo of Barbara Kellerman

Drawing on a breadth of thought from Confucius and Machiavelli to James MacGregor Burns, and examples from Nazi Germany to modern leaders like Angela Merkel and Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook, this course covers concepts of the leadership “industry,” our ideas about authority, the dynamics of contextual change, and varieties of leadership, good and bad. Harvard students can view a video course preview with Kellerman.

Learn more about Barbara’s approach:

View a (~10min) video with Barbara describing her 2012 book The End of Leadership and summarizing her view of the Leadership System and the Leadership Industry.

Read her regular blog on current events and issues of leadership in the news, or explore her latest books Leaders who Lust (Cambridge Univ. Press)  Professionalizing Leadership (Oxford Univ. Press).

Listen to a Leadership Perspectives Webinar from the International Leadership Association about about how and why leadership and followership have changed over time, especially in the last forty years. She also raises questions about leadership as both a scholarly pursuit and a set of practical skills including: Does the industry do what it claims to do—grow leaders? Are leaders as all-important as we think they are? What about followers? Isn’t teaching good followership as important now as teaching good leadership?

MLD-352 will be offered at the Harvard Kennedy School in Fall of 2020.  Kellerman’s other course MLD-349M: Bad Leadership: Leaders, Followers, Contexts will be offered in Spring of 2021, respectively. For questions about these courses, or any other leadership courses in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.