Published 07/22/11

The transformer

Michael RobertoSMITHFIELD, R.I.  (July 22, 2011) -- Leadership is as much about shaping the environment and processes that influence behavior as it is about directing people.

In "Transformational Leadership: How Leaders Change Teams, Companies and Organizations," Michael A. Roberto of Bryant University's College of Business draws from his expertise in leadership, managerial decision-making and business strategy to offer an ambitious 24-lecture overview of the techniques and tools leaders can use to create lasting impact. The lectures were released earlier this month by The Great Courses, offered in video and audio downloads as well as on DVD and CD.

Using examples from leaders in business, politics, sports and the military, Roberto offers listeners and viewers a roadmap for producing positive change.

"For me, leadership is not just about achieving the goal in the short run. It's about making sure the institution endures in the long run," says Roberto, Trustee Professor of Management, director of the University's Center for Program Innovation, and a frequent consultant to Fortune 500 companies.

Using examples from leaders in business, politics, sports and the military, Roberto offers listeners and viewers a roadmap for producing positive change, including establishing a vision, delivering on goals and results, how best to align people behind a shared purpose, and how to motivate and inspire by tapping into the core needs that all people want.

Roberto, who taught at Harvard Business School before coming to Bryant, has earned a number of awards from students and peers who appreciate his high-energy, interactive teaching style. "In the classroom, I feed off the energy of the students. They're my fuel," he says. So the challenge of preparing 24 half-hour lectures to present in front of three video cameras and a production crew rather than amid a group of students was a definite change of pace. "It was more work than writing a book," Roberto says.

This is the second series Roberto has recorded for The Great Courses, also known as The Teaching Company. His first, "The Art of Critical Decision-Making," released in 2009, continues to be well received by customers, several of whom later invited Roberto to make presentations to their organizations. He's even been recognized by customers eager to shake his hand when they spot him.

But lest the "star factor" go to his head, Roberto's 9-year-old daughter keeps him grounded. To film the courses, Roberto traveled frequently to The Great Courses' studios just outside of Washington, D.C. When she asked her father why he went to Washington, D.C., so often, Roberto told her that he was recording 12 hours of lectures.

"People watch you talk for 12 hours?" she asked incredulously.

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