Seeing the Dynamic Whole

Conventional logic is usually based on assumptions of self-interest. In the academic world, for example, graduate students learn that their future will be predicated on the research they do. At each stage in their progress, from student, to assistant professor, to associate professor, to full professor, to chaired professor, they will be measured by the number of papers they publish and by how often other scientists cite their work. This sometimes leads senior people to tell junior people that it is in their self-interest to focus as little effort on teaching as possible. All their effort should be concentrated on publishing.

Given this orientation, our colleague Andy Hoffman, a chaired professor at the Michigan Business School, writes:

“The greatest joy, indeed the only real, lasting legacy of a professor, is his or her students.”

Given the prevailing rhetoric of research universities this is a remarkable claim. I believe that this sentence is not only about research and teaching, it is also about leadership. In the conventional mental map smart managers first take care of themselves and see their people as tools to be manipulated. In the positive mental map leaders find their joy and their legacy in the growth and development of the people they lead.




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