Bauer Business Focus

Rice Program To Teach Executives How To Lead Effectively

“The value of leadership education is to prepare people for a set of responsibilities that they’re generally not prepared for, honestly.”

Brent Smith, PhD, teaches executives in Rice University’s new Leadership Accelerator.

Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business has launched a leadership accelerator, a four-day program that teaches executives to become better leaders.

“The value of leadership education is to prepare people for a set of responsibilities that they’re generally not prepared for, honestly,” said the course’s instructor, management professor and senior associate dean of executive education at Rice Business Brent Smith.

The program includes four “building blocks”: leading oneself, leading others, leading the team and leading the enterprise.

Smith said people are often looking for a simple recipe to improve their leadership skills. But it’s not that simple.

“I can’t define leadership,” he said. “It’s not something that I’ve ever attempted to do in my two decades being a professor. Because as soon as I define leadership at a general enough level to apply to a large population of leaders, it’s so general that it’s meaningless.”

Instead, Smith tells his executive students to understand the context of what they are leading.

“The people that you lead and what are their expectations,” he said. “The outcomes that you’re expected to accomplish and how those might be different from the outcomes that you were expected to accomplish six months ago; strategy and how it might have changed in your organization; culture and what you’re trying to reinforce.”

Smith said studies consistently show bad leaders are unable to understand emotions, whether in themselves or others. They are insensitive or intimidating in their management style, don’t adapt to different people or the circumstance they are in, and don’t take responsibility for their team’s performance.

The first Leadership Accelerator course is fully booked and starts on Monday, June 17. The next one will be offered in The Woodlands Oct. 7 through 10.

The one after that takes place at Rice Nov. 4 through 7.

Click on the audio above to listen to the interview with Smith.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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