The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

MLDP Recap: Leadership and Followership with Dr. Gama Perruci, Dean of the McDonough Leadership Center

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Who are the campus leaders at Dartmouth? Why are they identified as leaders? What kind of leaders are they? These are just some of the questions that MLDP participants were asked to discuss during the session on Leadership and Followership. Dr. Gama Perruci, who serves as the Dean of the McDonough Leadership Center at Marietta College, opened the session by asking us questions about the painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware.” Mr. Perruci asked us to give reasons for why Washington appears to be the leader in the painting, and in doing so, helped us see that many of our preconceived notions about what makes a leader are in fact, only a small part of the story. 

Following this fun and interactive case study, Mr. Perruci discussed the various components of leadership and followership, including Rocky’s own definition of leadership. He emphasized something that I had never really thought about before: leadership is not only about the leaders, it is about leaders and followers working together toward a common goal.

Then Mr. Perruci asked us all a question that required some deep introspection- why did we choose to participate in MLDP in the first place? Based on our answer to this question, we were asked to move to one of the four corners of the room. Each corner was one part of the Leadership Continuum, ranging from individualistic to the communal. By engaging in a dialogue within each group and among the different groups, we were able to analyze our own reasons for wanting to be a leader. As Suman Mathur ’15 pointed out, it was “a cool way to get other perspectives on leadership in comparison to my own.”

The ideas about leadership that Mr. Perruci brought up in the session were extremely thought-provoking and showed us that before we can improve as leaders, we need to think about what leadership - and followership - really mean.

--Written by Hayley Bacon ’15, MLDP Winter 2014 Participant

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