Why is leadership a "dirty word" for academics?


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Why is "leadership" a dirty word in academia?

According to CSAIL principal investigator Charles Leiserson, science faculty need it more than anyone. In the latest issue of Nature, he writes about his experience teaching the topic to hundreds of professors over the years through special workshops.

From Nature:

Being a professor is a human-centred activity. We work with people. We teach students in classrooms, mentor our PhD students, collaborate with peers and try to persuade people in funding agencies to give us money. But leading people can be difficult, because people are not entirely rational2. At most universities, junior faculty members must learn leadership skills on the job by trial and error, to the detriment of their students and careers. Senior faculty members may not understand that a failure to provide a supportive and collegial culture harms the reputation of their department or laboratory, and that they may be ill-equipped to engage effectively in large collaborative projects, such as those that dominate genomics and particle physics.

We call on academic institutions to invest in developing their professors' human-centred leadership skills.

Full story in Nature: http://bit.ly/1I5CTgk

More info on his leadership course: http://web.mit.edu/professional/short-programs/courses/engineering_leadership_skills.html