Bard MBA

Leadership I

Fall, 2012
3 Credits

The key learning objectives for the course are:
  • Developing a greater awareness of your sense of self
  • Identifying your passions, strengths, and weaknesses as an individual and communicator
  • Identifying the boundaries of others, setting your own boundaries
  • Setting goals and managing failure
  • Identifying and understanding different leadership structures
  • Learning how to lead transformative efforts

Student Outcomes:
The class is designed to prepare and empower students with the skills necessary to become transformative leaders in their future organizations.

  • Pink, Daniel, Drive: The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us, Riverhead 2009.
  • Price, Alan, Ready to Lead? A Story for Leaders and Their Mentors, Jossey-Bass, 2004.
  • Kouzes, James M. and Barry Pozner, The Leadership Challenge, Jossey-Bass, 2008.
  • Select readings from:
    • Card, Orson Scott, Ender’s Game, Doherty Associates, 1985.
    • Gentile, Mary, Giving Voice to Values, 2010.
    • Heen, Sheila, Bruce Patton and Douglas Stone Difficult Conversations, Penguin Books, 1999.
    • Obama, Barack, Dreams of My Father. Random House, 1995.
    • Plato, The Republic, Trslt. Grube, Hackett, 1992.
  • Additional articles on transformative leadership from HBR and other sources.
The course will be a combination of experiential exercises, group discussions, and student projects. Active participation in class discussions will be essential. Grading will be determined by participation in in-class exercises, cases, group work, completion of homework, and group presentations. There will be no traditional exams in this class.

Course Outline:
The Bard MBA curriculum is modular, with each module topic corresponding to a residency. The outline below provides the Leadership 1 set of topics for each of the semester’s modules, with each set of topics corresponding to three to four weeks of conventional instruction.




From The Republic to the Social Network. Starting with Plato’s Republic, we reflect on training for leadership, and the degree to which today’s companies are or should be run by philosopher kings and queens.


Self awareness. We begin with a focus on developing a greater understanding of self through a number of experiential and reflective activities. How do issues of race and gender affect leadership?

Transformative leadership. We will look at different leadership models and the differences between transactional and transformative leaders and organizations.

Stakeholders and Communication

Audience. We discuss here how empathy is developed, our ability to teach it to others, and its role in communication.

Communication & Negotiation. The focus will be on developing the skills to communicate successfully with the world around you.

Frames for Decision Making

Understanding boundaries. We will learn how to identify our own boundaries in life and at work, set boundaries for ourselves, identify the boundaries of others and respect them. 

Converting challenges into change. We will focus on how to convert negative feedback and failures into positive opportunities for change.

The New Information Landscape

Millennial leadership. We will focus on generational leadership. Has the internet changed everything?