True Leadership: Leading With Meaning

  • Intense pressure and daily urgencies force many leaders to evolve for survival rather than success. Lay the groundwork for long-term influence, tapping into your values so you can move past reactive forms of leadership.

  • At a Glance

    Reignite your sense of purpose and embrace your inner authority. In True Leadership: Leading with Meaning, you'll work with coaches, professors and teams to create a roadmap for your professional future. By diving deep into your latent motivations and characteristics, you'll become equipped to set the right goals, make collaborative decisions in uncertain environments, and create work plans and environments that inspire others while balancing personal and professional values.

    The Program

    Become the powerful leader you are meant to be with a course that reveals the hidden facets of your potential. An introduction to contemporary research in authentic, personality-driven leadership will guide your proposed solutions to in-class case studies, so you can compare how your ideas of meaningful leadership compare to real choices and outcomes in the marketplace. You'll deepen your self-awareness with the Tilt 360™ Leadership Predictor, an assessment of your core identity and natural tendencies, including underused character strengths. One-on-one feedback with executive coaches will further refine your understanding of how others perceive you, and their experience will guide your development of an action plan you can implement as soon as you get back to work. During a live theater exercise, you'll put these ideas into action and begin the journey bound to shape your professional life.

    Where You'll Excel

    • Practice theater-based experiential learning to clarify your in-class vision and the use of your strengths to collaborate with others.
    • Identify the ways you relate to the working world and which fears may be impeding your development.
    • Discover how your character traits already influence the behavior of teams and what steps you can take to strengthen your positive influence.
    • Understand the ideal allocation of your attention and energy so you can accomplish what needs to be done, while inspiring and encouraging others.
    • Brainstorm custom solutions to potential challenges and organizational roadblocks in your pursuit of true leadership.

    Schedule & Topics

    • Authority and Innovation: Helping People Do the Right Thing
    • Identifying Personal and Organizational Opportunities
    • Integrating Personal and Organizational Visions
    • Strategy and Leadership: What Are They and Where Do They Come From?
    • Theories Around Emergent Strategy and Leadership
    • Aspirations and Opportunities
    • The Importance of Purpose and Values
    • Ways Leaders Lead Leaders


    You'll walk away from True Leadership with:

    • An improved understanding of which character strengths allow you to build a positive environment for others and encourage responsibility, creativity and collaboration among your direct reports
    • Powerfully exciting goals and intentions that resonate with your inner beliefs and renew your motivation and energy
    • An immediately applicable action plan to develop your ideal habits, principles and strengths as a leader
    • Ways to align your long-term vision with your organization's needs and win support for your development from supervisors and stakeholders
    • Techniques to maintain your focus on future goals despite daily urgencies and immediate tasks


    This program is designed for cross-functional managers, team leaders and high-potential individuals preparing for promotions, particularly those who want to encourage independence, innovation and new opportunities among their direct reports. It's ideal for those who would like to develop the flexibility and authority to support organizational shifts while maintaining independence and long-range insights. 




    R. Edward Freeman

    Faculty Leader - University Professor; Elis and Signe Olsson Professor of Business Administration; Academic Director, Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics; Academic Director, Institute for Business in Society
    Since he began teaching more than three decades ago, Freeman has received recognition from institutions all over the world. An expert in stakeholder management, leadership, business ethics, business strategy and corporate responsibility, he has written extensively on these subjects. His books include the award-winning Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach as well as Stakeholder Theory: The State of the Art and Managing for Stakeholders: Survival, Reputation and Success. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Washington University and also teaches religious studies at UVA. His courses include the popular "Leadership and Theater" class, which he teaches each spring at Darden. He has presented at dozens of conferences around the globe and currently serves on the board of directors for the nonprofit Conscious Capitalism Inc.

    David L. Newkirk

    Strategy and Leadership Advisor; Former CEO, Darden Executive Education
    With 30 years of business experience spanning several continents, Newkirk currently consults full time for global corporations on issues of strategy and leadership. Before heading Darden's top-ranked Executive Education program for more than six years (until 2012), he led award-winning teams as a senior partner in the London office of Booz & Company, where his roles included director of European operations, Asia chair and head of the firm's worldwide Strategy Practice. He has also held a series of senior management positions at American Express. He earned degrees in mathematics and philosophy from Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar) and Carleton College.

    Bidhan L. Parmar

    Assistant Professor in Business Administration
    Assistant Professor Bidhan ("Bobby") Parmar teaches First Year Ethics and a Second Year elective on collaboration at the Darden School of Business. Parmar's research interests focus on how managers make decisions and collaborate in uncertain and changing environments to create value for stakeholders. His work helps executives better handle ambiguity in their decision making. His recent research examines the impact of authority on moral decision making in organizations. Parmar's work has been published in Organization Science and the Journal of Business Ethics. Parmar is a fellow at the Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics and the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics. Prior to teaching at Darden, Parmar taught at the UVA McIntire School of Commerce.

    Location & Accommodations

    Darden School of Business
    Charlottesville, Virginia

    As a participant, you'll stay in a private room at the Inn at Darden, our highly rated hotel adjacent to the classroom buildings and dining center. Accommodations are included in your tuition.

    Tuition & Certificates

    $7,750 covers materials, meals and accommodations at the  Inn at Darden.

    By taking this course, you will earn one week of credit toward a  Certificate of Specialization.