News and Publications

Campus News

Corporate executive teaches a new kind of leadership

By monét cooper

David Samuel has spent much of his working life walking the corporate halls of the technology industry and that’s what got him thinking about giving back.

“I’ve been in corporate leadership for over 30 years and what I’m interested in doing now is leveraging that with students,” he said.

Samuel, who has spent the past three years as general manager of the Energy Industry at IBM, is the first person to hold the title of the IBM Executive on Loan in The Leadership Center. He calls himself a business technologist (because he brings people together for the purpose of transformation) who is passionate about mentoring and coaching a new set of leaders before they reach the boardrooms. He plans to do that by helping to create teaching methods that affect how emerging and existing leaders are trained.

“My role is to really take the ethical leadership content and form it into training initiatives that we can deliver to existing leaders: religious leaders, business leaders, leaders in government,” he said.

Samuel gave Inside Morehouse his talking points on what it takes to build a leader.

Everything in our environment has changed radically and so has the leadership model. We’re going through the most radical changes in the leadership model in 20 years. The leadership model of the industrial age is the boss says where we’re going and the boss says how we’re getting there. The boss makes all the decisions. The new leadership-decision model is something that we call connect and collaborate. Now, leadership is coming from everyone on the team now. Decisions are made by a number of different people, not just the leader. The leader’s most important job now is creating resonance within the team.

Business, education, and other industries are going to have to begin to say that it’s the role of the leader to set the mission, pick the people, create an emotional environment where those people are motivated and they are smart enough to get the job done.

There is a new set of skills that our leaders need to have. Leaders need to know how to model collaboration, so people get to see how that happens. Leaders need to model development of the team as a leadership strategy. Leaders need to be very information literate and how information drives fact-based decision-making.

Ethics isn’t just a moral imperative, it’s a business imperative.

Leadership principles are grounded in emotion and maturity and development. Leadership principles don’t start when you get your MBA, they start [between] the middle school and undergrad years. We’re targeting the 40-year-olds who are out here running the businesses and the students.

More Campus News
John Handy Named Vulcan Materials Morehouse Faculty Member of the Year for 2012-13
Spike Lee ’79 Urges Students to Follow Their Passions, Not Their Wallets
Zimbabwean-Born Businessman Commits $6.4 Million to Send 40 African Students to Morehouse
Ten Milwaukee-area Students Become Men of Morehouse Through New Milwaukee Scholarship Program