Leadership and B-School

A provocative call to transform the MBA.


Here’s a terrific piece from The Economist on an emerging view of leadership and leadership development. Sure, you can criticize it as too academic and too idealistic, but many of our best ideas start in the academy before they find their way into the world.

A couple of really interesting aspects leapt out at me:

  • Business leaders who cultivate the courage to say “I don’t know.” In other words, leadership ought to start from a place of not knowing, from a lack of knowledge. Wasn’t it Socrates who said “The more I learn the less I know?” Leadership can come from having a couple of really good questions you need the answer to.
  • The power of moral humility. This follows immediately from realizing you don’t know. Reflecting, then critiquing oneself as much as others.

Regular visitors to this blog won’t be surprised to read that all these things bring me to the notion of self-awareness. All leadership emanates from this.

As the world continues to shrink, holism and empathy will take the place of fragmentation and selfishness:

“Business schools could become more like the agora of ancient Athens, a place where commerce had its place alongside the academy, where philosophers discussed the meaning of the good life and how best to achieve it; a place of dialogue where citizens collectively addressed the limits of their knowledge.”

What do you think?