Teaching Interest


by Ethan S. Bernstein


Professor Bernstein teaches Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD). This course focuses on how managers become effective leaders by addressing the human side of enterprise.

The course is divided into five modules:
  1. Leading Teams: In a world where most problems faced by organizations are too complex for a single individual to tackle alone, leadership frequently involves forming, mandating, and managing teams. And yet teams are fickle. Even as teams become more and more common at all levels of organizations, a shocking number of them fail to live up to their potential or even deliver at all. Small differences in the leadership of teams can have large consequences for the success of their efforts. In six class sessions, we build an understanding of how leadership of team identity/design and team processes can significantly improve team effectiveness and the chances of becoming a high-performing team.
  2. Enhancing Interpersonal Effectiveness: Those in charge have always depended on others to get work done. This means building a network of effective work relationships. The segment begins by identifying the critical ingredients for building effective relationships with superiors, colleagues, and subordinates. We will look at various interpersonal relationships from different perspectives, including hierarchical, demographic, and cultural aspects, exploring the nuances of working with those from varied demographic backgrounds and the advantages and disadvantages of different communication and influence strategies. The aim of this segment is to enable managers to successfully build effective work relationships as they apply to managing in all directions.
  3. Leading, Designing, and Aligning Organizations: This module explores in depth what it takes to be an effective leader. This segment will also examine what it takes to achieve “congruence” among an organization's elements: its strategy, critical tasks, formal organization, people, and culture. We will study a number of leaders “in action” to gain insight into the critical functions and personal qualities that contribute to effective leadership. To be effective, the critical elements of an organization need to be in alignment.
  4. Leading Change: Leaders’ attempts to renew or change their organizations often fail. In this segment of the course we will compare and contrast efforts to transform organizations in order to identify critical stages and activities in the change process. We will identify different approaches for developing and communicating a vision for an organization and for motivating people to fulfill that vision. We address the following questions: What are the primary sources of resistance to change? What are the most appropriate ways for overcoming them? What change strategies “work” and under what conditions?
  5. Developing Your Path: In this final module, we will focus on several strategic issues involved in building a dynamic career, paying particular attention to early- and mid-career choices and dilemmas. We will consider the following topics: How do individuals learn to lead? What critical experiences and relationships are needed?

The LEAD course has the following six goals:
  • The course offers a realistic preview of what it means to manage
  • The course helps students begin to transform professional identity from individual contributor to manager
  • The course helps students confront both the task learning and personal learning involved in becoming a manager
  • The course addresses the process of developing effective relationships with a diverse collection of individuals and groups
  • The course helps students develop an understanding of what it takes to be an effective leader
  • The course helps students learn how to be proactive and entrepreneurial in developing your leadership talents over the course of your career

  • Professor Bernstein takes particular joy in teaching LEAD as he was a student in the LEAD course in the fall of 2000 (Section D).

    Professor Bernstein has also taught a PhD seminar in the craft of field research and numerous executive education courses.

Keywords: Leadership; Leadership Development; Leadership Style; Innovation Leadership;