Exercising Leadership: Foundational Principles
Tackle tough problems and thrive through the dangers of change
Harvard faculty teach the strategies you need to lead in a changing world and show you how to mobilize communities to meet the challenges of our time.
2-3 hours a week
What You'll Learn
In this introductory course, you will explore strategies for leading in a changing world where adaptive pressures will continue to challenge all of us. You will discover new ways to approach complex organizational systems and take thoughtful action on the work we all face ahead. Most importantly, you will reflect on how to move forward on the leadership challenges you care about most.
The course will be delivered via edX and connect learners around the world. By the end of the course, participants will be able to:
- How to identify and unbundle complex challenges
- How to understand the role of formal and informal authority
- How to identify the key perspectives of stakeholders
- How to build and renew trust relationships
- How to approach conflict
- How to implement personal strategies for surviving and thriving amidst change
Ronald Heifetz is among the world’s foremost authorities on the practice and teaching of leadership. He speaks extensively and advises heads of governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations across the globe. In 2016, President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia highlighted Heifetz’s advice in his Nobel Peace Prize Lecture.
Heifetz founded the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School where he has taught for nearly four decades. He is the King Hussein bin Talal Senior Lecturer in Public Leadership. Heifetz played a pioneering role in establishing leadership as an area of study and education in the United States and at Harvard. His research addresses two challenges: developing a conceptual foundation for the analysis and practice of leadership; and developing transformative methods for leadership education, training, and consultation.
Heifetz co-developed the adaptive leadership framework with Riley Sinder and Marty Linsky to provide a basis for leadership research and practice. His first book, Leadership Without Easy Answers (1994), is a classic in the field and one of the ten most assigned course books at Harvard and Duke Universities. Heifetz co-authored the best-selling Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Change with Marty Linsky, which serves as one of the primary go-to books for practitioners across sectors (2002, revised 2017). He then co-authored the field book, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing your Organization and the World with Alexander Grashow and Marty Linsky (2009).
Heifetz began his focus on transformative methods of leadership education and development in 1983. Drawing students from throughout Harvard’s graduate schools and neighboring universities, his courses on leadership are legendary; his core course is considered the most influential in their career by Kennedy School alumni. His teaching methods have been studied extensively in doctoral dissertations and in Leadership Can Be Taught, by Sharon Daloz Parks (2005).
A graduate of Columbia University, Harvard Medical School, and the Kennedy School, Heifetz is both a physician and cellist. He trained initially in surgery before deciding to devote himself to the study of leadership in public affairs, business, and nonprofits. Heifetz completed his medical training in psychiatry, which provided a foundation to develop more powerful teaching methods and gave him a distinct perspective on the conceptual tools of political psychology and organizational behavior. As a cellist, he was privileged to study with the great Russian virtuoso, Gregor Piatigorsky.
Ways to take this course
When you enroll in this course, you will have the option of pursuing a Verified Certificate or Auditing the Course.
A Verified Certificate costs $209 and provides unlimited access to full course materials, activities, tests, and forums. At the end of the course, learners who earn a passing grade can receive a certificate.
Alternatively, learners can Audit the course for free and have access to select course material, activities, tests, and forums. Please note that this track does not offer a certificate for learners who earn a passing grade.