I, The Absolute

Leadership Development Program

Posted by itheabsolute on July 28, 2005

The Leadership Development Program, as I had earlier written, is a unique program at ISB. This is included in the curriculum as a graded course. The program tries to give us various perspectives on leadership. There are many sessions devoted to exposing us to making presentation, group discussion, conducting meeting, etc. These are all incidental. The Program is conducted by a group of Professors, the chief priest of which is Prof Rajeshwar Upadhyaya. He is truly brilliant in the breadth of knowledge, style of pedagogy, articulation and presence of mind. The other day he took us a session on the socio-historical perspective of the current day environment. In two hours time, he covered the history of human thought. Starting from pre-historic era, Greek Civilization, he covered various social, religious, military and scientific developments to unravel the evolution of thought. What was great about it was, he brought information and perspectives from various books and disciplines to integrate them into a unique framework. He covered Aristotle, the Bible, Freud; Evolutionary Psychology; the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, Alvin Toffler’s writings, The End of History, Communist Manifesto, Hitler, World Wars…. the list is longer than i can write.

He also provided a perspective on why there is always a dichotomy between our rational and emotional/instinctive aspects. The uppermost layer of brain, neo-cortex, is a recently developed part of the brain and not so well integrated into the human brain. Hence, it is also referred to as thinking cap (cap, meaning it is removable). What are dominant, and rarely understood, are the lowermost layers of brain. Freud called them sub-conscious and unconscious. Desmond Morris covers this topic in his famous book, the Naked Ape.

In summary, rationality is a new development; instincts and emotions, such as anger, jealousy, etc were what helped the Homo sapiens survive for long and now these emotions do not seem to be too essential or at least appreciated, particularly in an organizational context. Understanding the importance of this structure of brain and what function these emotions play is very important to manage life, both personal and organizational, better. Finding a balance between rational and emotional aspects and channelizing emotions to bring the best out is a critical focus area for any manager.

He is going to cover the Program by reference to ‘Leadership through literature’ (literature reflects the social/economic/religious thoughts of the age in which it is written). He is going to use Gladiator, Satya, etc movies to give us perspectives of Leadership. It is going to be fun.

Post Scriptum: Readers interested in pursuing MBA may want to look up my write up @


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