Exploring Leadership: For College Students Who Want to Make a Difference

Article excerpt

Exploring leadership: For college students who want to make a difference by Susan Komives, Nance Lucas and Timothy McMahon examines leadership within a framework of relationships and collaboration with others. The text is specifically written for college students and tends to focus on college students of a traditional age (17-22). The theme of collaboration and relationships resonates throughout the text as the authors address areas of understanding leadership, oneself, others, teams and groups, and balance and renewal. Each chapter ends with a set of activities that includes a list of questions and processes that encourage students to think about the implications of the concepts presented within the context of their own lives. In addition, each chapter provides a section on further readings for students who want to explore a particular concept in depth.

Part one, "Leadership for a Changing World," examines leadership from an historical perspective through the current thinking about leadership and organizations posited by Senge (1990), Spears (1995), Drath and Palus (1994) and others. This overview challenges conventional notions of leadership and sets the stage for the collaboration and relationship theme of the remaining chapters.

Part two, "Exploring Your Potential for Leadership," focuses on the need for understanding oneself and others in the leadership process. The authors rely on the Myers-Briggs as a tool for understanding oneself and others. This section also touches on issues of diversity and cultural differences in leadership. Much of the information in this section will be familiar to those who work in leadership development. More attention to cultural issues and multicultural aspects of leadership development would strengthen the text. Additionally, attention to nontraditional age students would provide a stronger context for older students in leadership positions.

Part three, "Relationships, Environment and the Practice of Leadership," dovetails well with the first part of the text as it again explores organizational theory and alternative perspectives on organizations. …

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