The aim of the course is to offer a type of practical knowledge that may serve in life: helpful in recognizing an ethical leader when encountering one, to grow as an ethical leader, wherever one finds oneself; in fact, differing from a manager, the leader doesn’t necessarily occupy a position of command. To be able to offer the kind of practical knowledge which will help create a more ethical climate in the organizations in which one will find oneself operating, and more generally, in society; which will help one make difficult choices when facing an ethical dilemma, when two possible actions vie with each other but only one can be chosen.
The course method presented in four days’lessons (24 hours), is to draw on the collective intelligence of the group. The working hypothesis is that a cohesive group in which individuals act together towards a shared aim, is more intelligent than the sum of the individual intelligences of its members. For this reason it not only makes leverage on the knowledge and the research made by professor, Paolo Giusta, European official and ethics expert, but also on the experiences and competences of the students. How?
Students are invited to participate in the days’ lessons adequately prepared: reading material they received prior to the lesson permits them to act in the classroom, as coming from a common base, possessing some elements of knowledge. The lesson, then, applies some participative, innovative practices which allow the activation of the intelligence and knowledge in the group. A typical tool is the opening circle, to enable them to be present and aware – not only with the open notebook – but with all the energy and the potential each can offer, and the closing circle, to take stock together before leaving. The circle also expresses with immediacy the reality that we are all fundamentally equal, and therefore potentially a leader, beyond the different roles one may have, as professor or pupil.
Other practices tested in the classroom are the world café ( a series of conversations in small groups which permit the interchange of ideas, going deeper into a topic to allow what is already known to emerge), the appreciative inquiry (where practical experiences represent the starting point and a path of positive learning is drawn ) and the open space (another exchange method where the agenda is defined by the participants, useful in being able to face concrete problems and develop projects).
The lesson’s rhythm is generally marked by a divergent phase, where space is given to the diversity present among the participants; an emergency phase, often chaotic and not necessarily comfortable, when , for example, a member of the group asks to prolong the previous moment to be able to express himself on a personal level, and the moment for elaboration has arrived instead; and a phase of convergence in which ideas developed are gathered and documented.
It is a dynamic process and the lessons are very dense: A ‘co-created’ knowledge is shared, rather than – as we would be legitimized doing – sharing one already created. A knowledge which integrates contents but also processes which future ethical leaders will know how to handle in the most appropriate way. On one occasion , the work group did not reach the desired results, bu the participants learned much on how to work together coming from very different positions, ideas and cultures, going through the difficulties this engenders.
When, at the end of the day the students concentrate on their individual tests so as to set the aquired knowledge... and to allow the professor to evaluate, it isn’t rare to experience a synergetic result which surpasses the sum of the individual contributions. The image reported – mind map – sythetizes the fan of ideas presented by the students busy in giving form to an ethical organization: coming to the fore are not so much the single intuitions, but the richness of the whole, the fact that the various contributions complete one another and the abundance of valid, practical suggestions also elaborated on this occasion. An effective example of collective intelligence in action.
To know more about the contents of this course: ETI 201 - Leadership Etica