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Are leaders born or made?
Thomas A. Stewart is the Chief Marketing and Knowledge Officer (CMKO) of the global management consulting firm Booz & Company. Stewart most recently served as editor and managing director of Harvard Business Review, and is a best-selling author, an authority on intellectual capital and knowledge management, and an influential thought leader on global management issues and ideas.
During Stewart’s six years with Harvard Business Review, the magazine was a two-time finalist for general excellence in the National Magazine Awards, and received an “Eddie” in 2007 from Folio Magazine.
Previously, Stewart served as the editorial director for Business 2.0 and as a member of Fortune’s Board of Editors. He is the author of two books, Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organizations, and The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the 21st Century Organization, published by Doubleday Business in 1998 and 2003, respectively.
Stewart is a fellow of the World Economic Forum. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, and holds an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Cass School of Business at City University, London.
Question: Are the best leaders born or made?
Tom Stewart: I think they’re made. And actually, Jeff Sonenfeld who’s at Yale has done some very interesting research about the attitudes of leaders who have flamed out in often morally reprehensible ways. And they tend to believe that leaders are born. They tend to believe that … that … that leadership is a right. That they have been endowed by their creator with certain exceptional abilities, and that therefore you and I should shut up and follow. You know, clearly there are important attributes of anything that are inherited. And clearly, for example, some people … I mean emotional intelligence, empathy, things like this are important things that leaders have. And some of it comes from your parenting. And, you know, some of it, I think, is innate. But whatever your endowment in these areas is, I think people can get better at it. And certainly there are, you know, people who rise to leadership occasions who are entirely … entirely unexpectedly. I do think that the most important aspects of this are … are … are things that you … that you can teach yourself or be taught by life to … to obtain.
Recorded on: 6/22/07
The worst leaders are those with attitudes of natural superiority.
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- If you or someone you know is attending school remotely, you are more than likely learning through emergency remote instruction, which is not the same as online learning, write Rich DeMillo and Steve Harmon.
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- In a future involving more online instruction than any of us ever imagined, it will be crucial to meticulously design factors like learner navigation, interactive recordings, feedback loops, exams and office hours in order to maximize learning potential within the virtual environment.
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- This video features religious scholars, a primatologist, a neuroendocrinologist, a comedian, and other brilliant minds considering, among other things, the evolutionary function that religion serves, the power of symbols, and the human need to learn, explore, and know the world around us so that it becomes a less scary place.
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- The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
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A study finds people are more influenced by what the other party says than their own. What gives?
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