A PLEA FOR LEADERSHIP THEORIES
Keywords:Leadership Education, Trivialisation of Leadership, Aha-experiences, Theory-practice-cycle
This article addresses the challenge of teaching theory to people who view theorising sceptically. This is often the case in the context of leadership trainings. In this article, I critically analyse the trivialisation of leadership, often based on success stories, and offer seven methods to include theory in leadership classes, namely electing students; reversing the order: practice-theory instead of theory-practice; creating aha experiences with theory; selecting “good” theory; pointing out the benefit of a special theory; viewing theories as eye-glasses, and suggesting eye-glasses from different disciplines. I then argue, first, that leadership theory is needed, because real leadership is non-trivial and, secondly, that we need to teach more than one leadership theory, in order to encourage critical thinking.
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