Over the years, the Leopold Leadership Program has developed and refined a thoughtful process for drawing out a new kind of leader.
Self-select: The first step is allowing the right people to sign up. Rather than ask senior faculty to nominate rising stars, we prefer to let the right people step forward. Pursuing committed, transdisciplinary work isn’t for everyone. It takes a person who is motivated to make change because they believe it’s right and necessary. Our fellows are conscientious and have a desire to contribute to the common good.
Retreat: We have found that the best outcomes happen when fellows are able to get away from the demands of job, family, and friends. Equally important, we create a safe, low-risk environment so fellows can acquire new skills without the edge of fear. Our findings show that practicing these skills with peers increases the odds they will practice them in real life.
Reflect: Personal change takes time. It’s hard to form new habits and mindsets. The Leopold program provides opportunities for participants to envision their future and create images or snapshots of the future they want to see. We provide time for discussions with colleagues, listening walks, and journal writing. Whatever their idiosyncratic method of synthesizing ideas, we make space for it.
Practice: After intensive work, the fellows go back to their respective universities. We send them home with practical tools: a personal development plan, a network of 200+ fellows to contact with questions, specific goals and timelines, and small support groups to mastermind problems as they arise.