On LeadershipI've often given thought to the type of leader that I am and, based on personal experiences, feedback and what I know of myself, I've always concluded that I have a somewhat maternal, care-about-everyone-on-my-team, hands-on kind of leader. I care that everyone on my team contributes to the process at hand and gets the opportunity to develop their skills and deepen their knowledge. At the same time, I still recognise that responsibility for the final decision rests with me.
To me, this has always been incongruent with the 'ideal' of leadership portrayed in popular media i.e. the stern, strong and very authoritative head honcho, who is capable of single-handedly pulling corporations from the brink of bankruptcy; reviving desperately-flagging staff morale; or resurrecting sports teams from an abyss of losses to capture that all-important cup, through the force of their speech and, very often, sheer bravado. In short, perhaps not me.
Business school, in my mind, is inextricably linked to that stereotypical concept of leadership and so has never appealed to me - particularly as I am so devoted to non-profit work. However, as I speak with friends who have attended or are currently studying at business schools, I start to learn the value of what they learn and just how broadly it can be applied. Business school now is no longer for self-proclaimed 'business types', nor exclusively for people who wish to forge a career in the banking and consulting industries. Instead, people from a broader range of professional backgrounds are being drawn to B-schools, not only for the rigorous grounding in business theories which they get, but also for the invaluable exposure to people from varied work and cultural backgrounds. I cannot count the number of people who have told me that they learnt far more from talks with their fellow students than they did from formal classroom lectures.
I stumbled across a profile of students at Harvard Business School and each person's background is surprisingly quite different from the next. I have never seen B-school in my future plans, but now I'm starting to keep a more open mind.