Creativity and Leadership
Course Leader: Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D.
April 12, 2013
Conventional notions of leadership hold that leaders are powerful, famous, and charismatic persons who not only present grand visions of change for their organizations, but also persuade or subjugate others to follow these visions. This course takes an alternative perspective, arguing that a true leader is someone who: (1) has identified inherent interests and strengths and devotes considerable time, attention, and resources in pursuing them, and (2) has taken (or is willing to take) personal responsibility for manifesting the traits that he/she would like to see in others. From the perspective of this course, therefore, true leadership is not something one strives toward for the sake of the power, fame, and money; instead, it is a natural by-product of leading an already fulfilling and authentic life.
Class discussions and exercises will consider: (1) why identifying inherent interests is a prerequisite for being a true leader and (2) how to transcend the derailing influence of social factors in finding and then following one’s calling. The course material draws from several fields, including psychology, economics, and philosophy.
Mid- to top-level executives at for-profit or non-profit firms will benefit most from this class. Further, those who feel they are no longer satisfied with their careers as well as those working for organizations that emphasize the “triple bottom-line” (profits, customer welfare, and employee welfare) will be most receptive to the course content.
Dr. Raghunathan, an associate professor of Marketing at UT Austin, juxtaposes theories from psychology, behavioral sciences, decision theory, and marketing to document and explain interrelationships between affect and consumption behavior. His work has been cited in mass media outlets such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Austin American Statesman, The Houston Chronicle, and Self magazine. He has taught in the executive program at the McCombs School of Business for more than seven years. In addition, he has taught executives from around the world, including Thailand, Finland, and China. He writes about his views on creativity, productivity, leadership, and self-regulation on his popular Psychology Today blog (with over 1,700,000 pages views at last count), Sapient Nature.