Setting the stage for leadership

By Felicity Somerset
|CHRR, Guide to Management & Executive Development|Last Updated: 05/30/2001

From Henry V to Hamlet, the intrigues of Shakespeare provide the perfect backdrop for modern-day leadership development.

There is a growing interest in learning opportunities that tap into works of literature and history, or use drama, music, acting and story telling to capture the imagination, and move beyond traditional approaches to learning.

A number of learning institutions in the U.S. have recognized the timeless lessons that can be learned from the great works of literature. Workshops and case studies have been developed based on works such as Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Machiavelli’s The Prince, and Homer’s Illiad. History has also been mined for leadership models. Elizabeth I has been the subject of a couple of recent books on leadership. Her story provides powerful lessons for the executive who has to manage multiple stakeholders.