Leadership Program Inspired by Battle of Gettysburg

By Santoni, Matthew | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 9, 2011 | Go to article overview

Leadership Program Inspired by Battle of Gettysburg


Santoni, Matthew, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Withstanding the steely glares of the bosses in a boardroom might not seem like withstanding an iron hail of Confederate cannon fire, but a University of Maryland program is using the battle of Gettysburg to provide leadership lessons to modern executives.

A new partnership between the University of Maryland, College Park and the Gettysburg Foundation is using notable figures like Gen. Robert E. Lee, Maj. Gen. George G. Meade and Col. Joshua Chamberlain to demonstrate different approaches to leadership, communication, accountability and teamwork gleaned from the turning point of the Civil War, said Greg Hanifee, executive director of executive programs at Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Combining the foundation's knowledge of the battlefield and its history with the university's analysis of psychology, communication and business allowed the partnership to develop profiles of major figures in the battle and their leadership styles. The program can tailor lessons to the needs of individual corporations, Hanifee said.

"It was really cool, because we could build these profiles and see what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses," said Jeff Kudisch, managing director of career services at the Smith school. "When Meade pulled his team together to plan what to do on the second day and the third day, it was really about consensus. We didn't see that with Lee."

For example, on the first day of the three-day battle in July, 1863, Lee told a subordinate, Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell, to attack the Union's position on Cemetery Hill "if practicable. …

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