Leadership Principles and Practices-
PUAF 692 -- Fall 2013
The class will meet on eight Thursdays from 1:30 pm to 6:15 pm
Kenneth S. Apfel
Professor and Director,
Management, Finance and Leadership Program
University of Maryland School of Public Policy
Rm. 1125 Van Munching Hall
College Park, MD, 20742
Office#: 301 314-2485
Fax#: 301 403-4675
Course Description and Overview:
What is leadership? While there is no universally accepted definition, many leadership scholars would generally agree with a definition used by Peter Northouse: “a process whereby an individual influences a group to achieve a common goal.” Over the course of the semester we’ll explore this “process” of leadership in detail. The goals for the course:
- To explore a wide range of theoretical and experiential leadership perspectives, and thus to help you create an increasingly full and rich map of the field of leadership;
- To enable you to use the materials covered in the course in several ways—in assessing your own practice of leadership (whether you are serving in a role designated as a leader, or whether youare simply leading from where you are) in deepening your understanding of leading organizational change, and in observing leaders and assessing their effectiveness.
- To help you articulate your own personal theories of leadership to serve as a guide in your future professional work life.
This course emphasizes how understanding group and organizational life is a critical leadership competency. This class is both practical and theoretical, and learning will be through a variety of approaches, including very active class participation. Through lectures, discussion, case studies, videos, surveys, readings and experiential activities, this course offers opportunities to learn about and to understand the dynamics associated with the exercise of leadership and authority in organizational settings.
This course is designed as a small interactive seminar – a series of “leadership off-sites” -- in which we will spend longer than traditional blocks of class time together exploring theories, practicing skills of leadership, and examining the experiences of people who lead. The longer class format allows us to settle into the subject in a more thoughtful way – a format that organizations often use to give their leaders a chance to step back from the day-to-day demands of their work, and to learn together.
I would hope that during our time together we could address a series of issues:
1)How are the inner dimensions of leading (for instance: awareness, psychology, beliefs,) related to the outer dimensions of leading (vision, motivation, communication, courage, sustainability) and what are the practices and structures that sustain both the inner and outer dimensions?
2)How is leading related to the process of learning?
3)How is leading both an individual and a collective undertaking?
I will do my level best to guide our explorations, but I am counting on you as well to provide leadership in our work. Too often, classrooms focus heavily on listening and thinking, and not enough on participating, collaborating and doing. Since we will be a small, interconnected group, I want you to jump in and be an integral part of our learning experience. Help us to move in the direction of becoming a “learning organization”.
Readings for the Course:
Required of all students
Senge, Peter, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. New York: Doubleday. Revised and substantially updated in 2006, so don’t purchase the older edition. This book is referred to as “Senge”in this syllabus.
Cohen, Dan, The Heart of Change Field Guide. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School, 2005. Referred to as “Cohen” in the syllabus.
In addition, we will be reading a number of case studies. Almost all of the cases are available for purchase on-line through the Harvard Business School. The names and numbers of the cases are included in the weekly readings below.To download all Harvard cases, go to the Harvard Business School Case web site for the PUAF 692 case study packet.First, register for the course on-line, and thento purchase and download the cases. Go to:
All of the other readings for the course -- except for the items below -- will be available on the U/MD ELMS course website.
Note that onlyone of the books below is required for purchase by each student. Student teams will be assigned to read one of the books from the list below and the team will then “school” the rest of us on the ideas in the book:
--Goleman, Daniel, McKee, Annie and Boyatzis, Richard E. (2004). Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
--Lencioni, Patrick (2002). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
--Heath and Heath. (2010). Switch: New York, NY: Random House
Academic integrity is a foundation for learning. The University has approved a Code of Academic Integrity available on the web at The Code prohibits students from cheating on exams, plagiarizing papers, submitting the same paper for credit in two courses without authorization, buying papers, submitting fraudulent documents, and forging signatures. Please be sure to fully understand these policies, and be aware that I check papers electronically if I suspect plagiarism.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:
The University is legally obligated to provide appropriate accommodations for students with documented disabilities. In order to ascertain what accommodations may need to be provided, students with disabilities should inform the instructor of your needs before the beginning of the semester.
Religious Observance: Attendance and Academic Assignments:
The University System of Maryland policy Assignments and Attendance on Dates of Religious Observance provides that students should not be penalized because of observances of their religious beliefs; students shall be given an opportunity, whenever feasible, to make up within a reasonable time any academic assignment that is missed due to individual participation in religious observances. It is the student’s responsibility to inform instructors of any intended absences for religious observances in advance.
Student Responsibilities and Assessment:
I don’t use the logic of the bell-shaped curve in grading this course,and I expect everybody to be able to achieve a high level of excellence. That takes a lot of work, however, and much of the work entails conversation, presentations, engagement and writing.My assessment will be based on class participation, written assignments and oral presentations. I will be using the +/- grade system. Note that a downward adjustment in grades will be made if a student misses classes or does not actively participate in discussion or for late delivery of an assignment.
Team Presentations (40%): The class will be divided into several teams to make presentations and to lead class discussions on case studies and leadership books. Each student will be assigned to two different teams – one for a case study and one for a leadership book. Each team that leads a discussion will also submit a three-page memo to the class prior to the class meeting. Team members will be graded on presentation styles, content of the presentation and the degree of class involvement in the topic.
Leadership Paper and Final Presentation (40%): Each student will write a 15 page paperon your assessment of leadership by “shadowing” a leader, assessing his or her effectiveness and identifying lessons for your own leadership. It should be a carefully written, thoughtful, integrative paper that reflects on course materials.Each individual will also make a short 10-15 minute oral presentation on the paper during the last class period.
Overall Class Participation (20%): Overall class participation will be part of the assessment. Students must prepare for class and actively participate during class. If you know you must miss class, please e-mail all of us and let us know what’s up, so one of your classmates can collect any materials for you.
Detailed Course Requirements:
1. Team Presentations:
The class will be divided into teams to make presentations and to lead class discussions on case studies and leadership books. The syllabus identifies the topics to be covered by each team. Within each team, division of labor is encouraged and individual team members may cover pieces of the assignment in order to cover the entire assignment, but, for the purpose of presenting and leading the discussion, the team will have to integrate the individual work of its members so that the overall analysis presented to the class is a seamless whole which will allow the class to see the leadership issues involved in the team assignment. Presentations can use power point if desired, but total slides should be limited to a maximum of about 20 per presentation.
Each of the teams will lead the discussion of their assignment in front of the whole class. About an hour and fifteen minutes maximum will be reserved for the topic – including presentations and the class discussion engendered by the presentations. Definitely no more than a third of the time should be taken up with team presentations, with the balance of the time reserved for small group “break-out” sessions as well asfull class discussion. By relating the material to everything studied up to that point in the course, the group should elicit class discussion of major issues and significant learning to be garnered from the readings.
Creativity is strongly encouraged in the presentations (e.g., use of role-plays, exercises, breakouts, short videos etc. are all encouraged). It is important to find ways to involve your classmates in the presentation.
--The case study presentations: Teams of students will make presentations and lead discussions on real life public agency case studies. Two days before the class presentation, each team will email to the class (through the course web-site) a three page single spaced memo providing a short summary and a tight analysis of the assigned material. The memo should include a section on the relevance of the materials to course topics. Use the UMD/SPP memo writing guidelines for memo preparation.The analysis should focus on the leadership challenges raised by the written materials, and make reference to the relevant theoretical course readings. The memo should conclude with two or three questions that will be used to elicit class discussion. Discussion should focus on how leaders were effective -- and/or what they should have done differently -- and why.
--The book presentations: One week before the presentation on a book, the team will email to all students a PDF of short excerpts (roughly 20-30 pages) from the assigned book. These excerpts are to be read by all students prior to the class. Two days before the class presentation, each team will email to the class (through the course web-site) a three page single spaced memo providing a very brief summary and a tight analysis of the assigned material. The memo should include a section on the relevance of the materials to course topics and a section on the questions/issues raised in book content.The memo should conclude with two or three questions that will be used to elicit class discussion. Use the UMD/SPP memo writing guidelines for memo preparation. Teams of students will then make presentations and lead discussions on the three leadership books. The presentation is not a simple book report. In addition to a summary, be sure to help all critique the texts. How does the author’s view of leadership support or complement what we’ve studied in class? In what ways is it counter to what we’ve discussed? What are important “take-aways” from the book? It may be helpful to have the class reflect on prior cases that we have discussed in the class, to see if the book provides new insights on leadership issues raised in the cases.
The team presentations are a shared responsibility:
1) The team has the responsibility to think through the issues, to identify the significant discussion questions about leadership issues involved in the readings and to engage the class in the issues. The team may engage in discussion among themselves as a means to get the class started, or they may use any appropriate, helpful, creative technique to focus the class on learning.
2) The class has the responsibility to be fully prepared to engage in meaningful discussion with the team about the major issues, options and questions raised by the team. All students in the class are required to carefully read the background materials and the team memo before class, and to be open to exploring the relevance of the case to course content. All students must come to class fully prepared to discuss the questions raised in the team memo; that means taking time before the class thinking through responses to the questions. Everyone in the class should come to class with a command of the material developed by the teams so that the teams can lead discussions on the topics raised by each reading. This will allow everyone to be part of the class discussions that will be led by the various student teams.
The team will receive one grade for its work. All members of the team will share in that grade.
2. Leadership Paper:
Each student shall write a paper (about 15 pages double-spaced),linking course material to a leader that the student has “shadowed” some time during the semester.The overall purpose: to articulate how an individual deals with leadership. Your objective here is to observe and interview a leader/manager that you have identified as “successful” and assess how this individual approaches the challenges of leadership in his or her work. Gaining insights learned from the course readings is essential. My hope is that your final paper will go beyond shadowing by also serving as a guide for your own professional career.
This is not a paper based solely on personal experience; the paper should also be grounded in the readings and materials from the course. Be careful to cite sources either in footnotes or with in-text citation and include a bibliography at the end of the paper. When using another person’s words in a written assignment, be sure to put them in quotation marks and cite the source. When paraphrasing another person’s words, cite the source. Stringing together direct quotations or paraphrases from other authors, whether cited or not, does not constitute a graduate level written product. Written papers for this course should be your reflection on and analysis of the challenges of leadership, using the ideas learned in the readings, lecture and other course work, but put into your own words, based on you own careful thinking about the issues.
Arranging the “shadowing” experience: Call the person and explain the purpose of the course, and of the assignment. If your leader wishes to be in touch with me about the assignment or the course, I am happy to do so. Sometimes individuals ask me for an email confirming that this is an “official” course project. I’m happy to provide that, if necessary.
Ask to accompany the person for a day in their work—to follow them throughout their day. And also request a period of at least an hour or so to interview them about their perspectives on their leadership. Please note that leader “shadow” experiences have ranged from just a few hours to two or three days. Once youhave made connections with your shadow, it is important to shape the experience in a way that makes sense to both of you.
Explain that our goal as a class is to learn about the variety of ways that leaders approach their work. If your leader says that he or she is not really a leader, you might share the perspective that leadership is not role dependent but is often exercised by individuals in a variety of positions or by individuals without formal executive authority. If your leader is concerned about confidentiality, indicate that your paper will go only to me, no further; you can withhold the name of the shadow during your class presentation, if appropriate. Let the shadow know that this is not about judging his or her leadership against some measuring stick, but rather appreciating and observing the particular gifts the person brings to the work.
Following are some questions for you to ask your leader to begin the interview. They are only suggestions. They are designed to invite reflection. Try to ask questions that only that person can answer—questions of their experience, their perspective, what they notice, what sense they make of it. Avoid questions that have a sense of fishing for a right or wrong answer. If you follow your own curiosity, you will ask great questions. This list is only a beginning point.
- •What path, what series of events, or choices or steppingstones, brought you to where you are in your work and your life? Were you involved in leadership activities early in your career?
- •Have you had differing experiences with leadership--your own and others--and what insights do you take away from those differences? What do you think makes it possible for an organization to learn to adapt to change?
- •How do you view your role in introducing and/or implementing change within an organization? Can you provide specific examples of your experiences leading change, leading people and getting better results for your organization?
- •What counsel do you now give yourself when you step into a new leadership role?
Lastly, what does this shadowing experience mean for you and your present and/or future leadership? What are your own “lessons learned” from the exercise? That’s the final part of the assignment.