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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsLeadership makes and breaks companies. Research and practice show the availability of leaders with high potential-- increases organisational success through high rates of workforce engagement, employee satisfaction, a positive culture, and overall responsiveness to changing customer demands and emerging market opportunities. When you look at the most common problems for organisations, a lack of leadership, or poor leadership are consistently some of the highest ranking issues. The leadership capabilities of a workforce should be one of senior management's chief concerns. Hi everyone, my name is Dr. Andrea North-Samardzic. I'm a lecturer are Deakin Business School, where I teach postgraduate students and research contemporary leadership issues. I'm also the course director of the Master of Professional Practice in Leadership.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 secondsI've taught at universities, both in Australia and overseas for 15 years, and I'm excited about teaching you more about leadership. However, leadership is a word that is used often, but is very misunderstood. In this course, I want to cut through all the hype and get straight into answering the question, what is leadership. To do this, we will be looking first at who is a leader, and what leaders mean to us before embarking on an investigation into what leadership is really about and how it is different to management. This will involve examining our sources of power and influence, because what is a leader without power? And what is leadership without influence?

Skip to 1 minute and 32 secondsThrough the course of our discussions, you may find yourself disagreeing with your peers and even with me. So in the latter part of this course, we will explore how individuality makes us see the world and leadership in different ways. There will be a range of activities in this course, videos to watch, short text articles to read, and after every step, you will be asked to complete a small task-- as an individual or as a group, by participating in an online discussion about various leadership issues, but most importantly, sharing your experiences of leadership in the workplace. This course won't talk about the various theories of leadership, or get into the debate about whether great leaders are born or made.

Skip to 2 minutes and 13 secondsWe'll get into that in later courses in which I hope you'll join me. But first, let's get started on answering the question, what is leadership, by looking at our leader role models.

Let's get started

Leadership is a term often used, but frequently misunderstood. By working through each step in this course, you’ll discover why leadership is less about ‘something you do’ and more about the person ‘you are.’

Welcome to ‘What is leadership?’.

In this course, you’ll take the first steps in exploring the big questions associated with what leadership is and how you can become a more effective leader in your own right.

To get started, in Week 1 we’ll explore definitions of leadership, learn more about who you identify as a leader and why, as well as distinguishing the difference between leaders and leadership role models, and what your chosen leaders say about you.

In Week 2, we’ll build on these foundation concepts by examining the difference between leaders and managers, the relationship between ‘power’ and ‘influence’, and the critical, but often overlooked, role of perception in defining how effective leaders operate in ‘real life’ situations.

Your learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you should have a deeper understanding of:

  • how leadership is defined
  • what function leadership role models play
  • sources of power and influence in the workplace
  • how perceptions shape our view of leadership.

Meet the team

Your lead educator for this course is Dr Andrea North-Samardzic. Supporting Andrea is Mentor, Gilbert Kruidenier.

If you haven’t already, take a look at Andrea and Gilbert’s profiles and follow them for course updates and notifications.

Build your career portfolio

Demonstrate your participation in this course with a Statement of Participation or provide evidence of your learning with a Certificate of Achievement approved by Deakin University.

Earn a new qualification

This course forms part of a unique set of postgraduate degrees from Deakin University in Australia. Find out how you can join the program Leadership Practice with Impact or use this course as an introduction to a Professional Practice: Leadership degree and gain yourself a new, internationally-recognised qualification.

Your task

Watch the video to find out more from Andrea about what you’ll be covering in this course. You can also download and print a course map for a full overview of all course activities and steps.

When you’re done, use the comments to share why leadership is important to you and what you hope to gain from participating in this course.


> Unit MPL700 program page

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What Is Leadership?

Deakin University

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Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

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