Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How to develop leadership

From an article in the current Harvard Education Letter:

More Than IQ

Researchers found just this sort of inner motivation to be a common ingredient among the children they tracked who held leadership posts as early as high school. While there was “a little overlap” between those with the strongest inner motivation and those with top IQ scores, the data showed that stronger motivation trumped higher IQ in winning top roles in clubs. “The motivationally gifted were significantly more likely to be the leaders,” according to Adele Gottfried.

The importance of inner motivation to leadership is not surprising to Carol S. Dweck, psychology professor at Stanford and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. She says the study offers a strong argument for schools “to do things fundamentally differently.”

“We have fallen into a culture that tests and labels—and we need to be creating people who are visionaries, who are risk takers, who know how to adopt a challenge and pursue it over time,” says Dweck.

Dweck says her work shows that those who are encouraged to have a “growth mindset” and find satisfaction in achieving their own intrinsic goals are more likely to persevere and succeed at tough tasks than those who are simply labeled “smart.” And yet both Dweck and Adele Gottfried point out that schools place such heavy emphasis on extrinsic rewards like test scores and classroom prizes that they risk stifling development of students’ inner drive.

When classroom teachers provide a rich variety of experiences and give students choices as they tackle required material, they help students take charge of their own learning, Adele Gottfried adds.

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