Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow Hosts Leadership Forum

By Aaron Youngblood



Last week BenU hosted a forum lead by Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, Michael Markovitz entitled, “Leadership in a Global World”. He offered insight about what it means to be a leader and how to teach others to become one.

Markovitz served as vice president of Global Executive and Organizational capability at IBM. Of his many job duties, one was consulting on leadership and organizational effectiveness.

Before joining IBM in May 2004, he had positions in human resources, organizational change and leadership development at General Electric for 19 years. He has often written and spoken on topics related to leadership.

“I am an expert on leadership,” stated Markovitz.

Markovitz says that there are five characteristics that distinguish an outstanding leader from a typical leader. An outstanding leader is: a learner, courageous, influential, calm during crises and self-knowledgeable.

When leading globally, he says there are two additional qualities necessary to be outstanding—awareness of different cultures and adaptability to circumstances.

While visiting with students and faculty and staff during the week, Markovitz says the most frequently asked question was: “Are leaders born or made?” In his discussion, he states he has a strong belief that all are born with leadership capabilities.

“Being a leader is inherent to us as human beings,” added Markovitz. “It is our life experiences that nourish and support those leadership capabilities.”
Some had more positive support than others and it is important that those with a strong support system early in their lives should help breed new leaders by restoring confidence.    “Although I don’t consider myself much of a leader, Mr. Markovitz inspired me to find and exhibit the leadership capabilities I believe are within me,” said junior Michael Brown.

Markovitz stated, “The world needs as many leaders as we can possibly create.”

“It was interesting to learn what attributes Mr. Markovitz feels that effective leaders possess. I will definitely try to apply those attributes whenever I am in a leadership position,” commented Eddie Price president of student senate.”

Markovitz’s parting words of advice were, “Everyone can and should be a leader…we’ve all got it in us.”