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The Discipline of Leadership

University of Notre Dame via Coursera


Because it is likely you either want to improve your leader effectiveness or you may want to increase the number of leadership opportunities you have, this course will focus on outlining the factors that predict leader emergence (whether someone will emerge as a leader) and leader effectiveness. Because those predictors are numerous, this course will be broken down into three distinct parts: 1) who one is as a leader (evaluating leaders/leadership and applying to your own personality/traits/character); 2) what one's knowledge, skills, and abilities should be (KSAOs); and 3) how leaders should approach and resolve problems when in a position of leadership. Leadership develops over time and can be aided by repetition (experience), feedback, and self-reflection. Unfortunately, no one can teach you how to lead. My goal as your professor is to give you the tools that will enable you to teach yourselves how to be better leaders.


  • Leader Emergence and Effectiveness
    • This module will cover key concepts related to personality, leadership traits, and character that can help develop your capacity as an ethical leader as we begin to develop your knowledge of leadership (the K in KSAOs—Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Other). Through lectures, readings, and self-assessments, you will learn about predictors of leader emergence and leader effectiveness. These concepts include the “Big 5” (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism), affect, and mindset. Finally, you will learn that, although your personality, traits, and character might be one way right now, these are also changeable.
  • KSAOs: Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Other
    • While Module 1 started to build your knowledge (the K in KSAOs), Module 2 goes in more depth to add to your knowledge while also covering key skills and abilities (the SAs in KSAOs) that impact leadership. Specifically, we will cover key leadership behaviors, including consideration, initiating structure, and transformational leadership. This week’s lessons also go over the importance of trust, and how to increase the likelihood that you behave in ways that show others you are worthy of their trust. In the second lesson, we will put the content that you have learned thus far together to help guide you through critical thinking about the discipline of leadership. Specifically, you will get to respond to a challenging leadership situation. Together, these elements contribute to your development as an ethical leader.
  • Common Situations in Which Leaders Find Themselves
    • Week 3 covers common leadership situations and includes learning fundamental negotiation basics and change management principles (including effective influence tactics). We will also review essential insights to help you respond effectively to emotionally charged conversations. Learners should leave this week understanding that leaders need a broad array of knowledge to identify and effectively implement optimal strategies for the situations leaders face at work. This insight is key to developing as an ethical leader.
  • Putting it All Together
    • The final week in this course addresses the other factors that can impact the extent to which you are able to execute the leadership lessons we’ve covered so far (the O in KSAOs). Although situational factors are discussed less frequently in the context of leadership, they nonetheless play an important role in leadership effectiveness. Ethical leaders are able to effectively address these situational factors to deliver optimal results.

Taught by

Cindy Muir (Zapata)


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