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

MLDP Welcomes Winter 2011 Participants, Leadership Experts Darin Eich and Elizabeth Winslow '83

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The Rockefeller Center welcomed students for the first Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) sessions of the winter this week.  Rocky hosted two trainings for small group facilitators as well as the first regular session of the term.

“What Makes a Good Leader? Vision, Confidence, Training and Commitment”
The inaugural session for the Winter ’11 MLDP was designed to enable participants to examine leadership in a broad sense, as to lay the foundation for their entire MLDP experience.  Professor Elizabeth Winslow ’83, Associate Director of the MBA Program at the Tuck School of Business, presented a session on the fundamentals of leadership. First, she asked the group to offer suggestions of personal characteristics of a “good leader.” From there, she encouraged participants to think empirically about good leadership, drawing on a Harvard Business School case study that participants read before the session. Students broke into groups to discuss the quality of the leadership of the administrators of an inner-city magnet school, as presented in the case study.

Professor Winslow then gave an overview of leadership theory, underscoring the best way to determine the ideal leadership approach is to “assess the situation, the people, and yourself. “  Professor Winslow allowed participants to put this theory to practice, again returning to the HBS case study, but this time, asked participants to evaluate the protagonists’ leadership abilities according to a leadership matrix. Professor Winslow then turned to the MLDP participants to explain the “take-aways” of the session. Sahil Joshi ’13 identified a good leader as someone who has “the ability to evaluate our own strengths and the strengths of others.” Richard D’Amato ‘13 added, “Leadership isn’t about your own qualities. It’s about the situations and the relationships involved."

"Tools & Techniques for Facilitating Group Leadership Discussion and Activities"
On Monday, January 3rd, and Wednesday, January 5th, MLDP hosted trainings for those program participants who were interested in facilitating the small groups. Dr. Darin Eich, who is a leadership consultant, motivational speaker, and founder of an innovation generation company called BrianReactions, taught attendees some tools and techniques for facilitating group discussion. Dr. Eich began the session by having participants reflect on why and how they intended to use their facilitation skills, while simultaneously demonstrating the discussion facilitation techniques that they would soon formally learn. Dr. Eich then identified some especially helpful facilitation techniques, and discussed how a group’s fundamental identity is established by its relationship and task.

Before the group broke for dinner, Dr. Eich introduced a game to help cultivate the group’s relationship. Called “This Is Not a Circle,” the icebreaker challenged players, to imagine what else a nine-foot nylon loop of mountain- climbing rope could be aside from a circle. Participants offered: "This is not a circle; it is an earring." "This is not a circle; it is a bowl of soup." "This is not a circle; it is a robot gorilla destroying Taiwan." The group reconvened to put their newly-acquired facilitation skills to use. The participants each facilitated a seven-minute discussion on the leadership topic of their choice. To wrap up, the session participants reflected on how they could best use what they learned to enhance their facilitations in the future.

-- Kristen Clifford '13

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