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

RLF Recap: Fellows hear about "Contemporary Leadership Competencies" from Harry Sheehy, Dartmouth's Athletics Director

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Harry Sheehy, Dartmouth’s Athletics Director, visited RLF last Thursday to speak about his experiences with leadership, especially with regards to managing teams of people. As a result of his time as an athlete, a coach, and an administrator, Mr. Sheehy has identified common underlying themes in how a leader can best interact with his/her followers in working towards an organization’s goals. He began the session by talking about his personal background, including the challenges he faced during coaching and how they added value to his role as a leader. 

Following this, Mr. Sheehy played clips from Remember the Titans and highlighted both the subtle and not so subtle messages about good and bad leadership. One major point was that the successes and failures of a leader are reflected through the attitudes of those being led. This brought about a transition into an analysis of the different character qualities of followers, split between energy-taking traits and energy-giving traits. Through constructing and repeating a clear vision, a leader can help foster self-awareness and group motivation. 

Ultimately, the process of leadership is the most important thing to focus on, but this raises complex questions about how to address obstacles to progress. Two HBS case studies in sports were used as examples of how to think critically in the face of decision-making. To conclude the session, Mr. Sheehy commented on a number of take-away messages on how to avoid leadership mistakes in the present day world of diverse personalities, work cultures, and distractions. The Fellows left the session with increased self-awareness and confidence to handle the problems encountered during organizational management.

--Eric Yang '14, 2014 Rockefeller Leadership Fellow

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