Prof. Gerard Seijts is the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Chair in Leadership and Executive Director of the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at Ivey Business School, Western University, Ontario. He has authored four books and numerous articles on leader character and has taught on leadership programmes for public and private sector organisations globally as well as EMBA, MBA, and undergraduate courses. He received his PhD from the University of Toronto in 1998. Prior to joining Ivey Business School in 2000, he was on the faculty at the I.H. Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. Gerard is teaching on several leadership programs.
Date: Wed 8th June, Time: 4:00pm - 5:30pm, Location: Zoom (online)
The global financial crisis of 2008 was a powerful demonstration of the importance of character in leadership, or more accurately, the dreadful and detrimental impact when it is lacking in leaders. Regretfully, until that time, character’s vitality to leadership excellence and success was almost entirely ignored. If we fast forward to today, it is hard to miss the almost ubiquitous focus on character sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has not only starkly displayed the character of leaders, but also exposed its critical role in their success or failure. Further, the ongoing war in Ukraine has stimulated countless conversations involving President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – a person who has been widely praised for his exemplary leadership. Many observers believe that character has been foundational to his abilities as a crisis leader. Yet, while scholars see character as an indispensable component of leadership, the term is often poorly understood. Prof. Seijts and team define character as a habit of being—a set of observable behaviours—anchored in virtues, personality traits, and values that facilitate human excellence and produce personal and social betterment through quality of judgment. And, through research, they have facilitated its very relevant application to leadership development practices of individuals and organizations. The objective of the presentation and subsequent discussion is to highlight the work that led to the leader character framework (see Crossan et al., 2017) and its application in business such as change, ethical decision-making, and well-being.