God desires that we become one as He is One. God works through leaders to make this happen, both in and outside of formal Church settings. However, leadership is about more than manipulation and the exercise of authority. Good leaders have a motivating vision and know the people they serve well enough to gain their support for that vision. Over time, this kind of leadership creates a culture that naturally inclines its members toward harmony, discernment, and efficiency. This course introduces students to the principles that allow leaders to gain and keep support for their plans and create a healthy organization that benefits all its members. It also devotes considerable attention to understanding how a leader’s personality and spiritual state affect his ability to lead and manage groups effectively.
This course uses the classic text on leadership, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People to structure our lessons on how to lead well. After the first lesson, each session will be dedicated to a section in the book. Please make sure you have completed the readings before you come to class. While the book is grounded in a Christian ethic, we will be talking about places where its ideas can be improved through the application of Orthodox teachings. In our discussions and your assignments, I encourage you to laud the book and the other materials when they are good and to criticize and offer suggestions when they could be improved.
Leadership can be learned, but it takes learning about more than techniques: we have to learn about ourselves and the people, cultures, and institutions that we are a part of. To help us learn about ourselves, I am requiring each student to take the Big Five Personality Assessment at https://www.understandmyself.com/. While there are free versions out there, this one provides additional information that is worth the ten dollars you will spend on it. We will discuss each of the five dimensions and how they impact leadership styles and effectiveness.
While the instructor, Fr. Anthony Perkins studied theories of leadership in graduate school and seminary, he is also a graduate of several practical leadership courses in the U.S. Army, served as the platoon sergeant of an airborne intelligence platoon, and spent most of his twenty-year career in the US Army Reserves as a military intelligence warrant officer. He loves teaching and has done so at The Ohio State University, the Naval War College, the National Ground Intelligence Center, St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary (where he also served for several years as Vocations Director), Hartwell Elementary School, homeschool co-ops, and the parishes he serves.