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BUS 179 W — The Exceptional Leader: A Framework for Successful, Scalable, and Impactful Leadership

Quarter: Spring
Date(s): Apr 11—Jun 3
Duration: 8 weeks
Drop By
Drop Deadline: Apr 14
Unit(s): 1 Units
Tuition: $510
Format: Online course (System Requirements)
Limit: Limit 40
Status: Closed

Have you ever worked with a terrible leader or boss? If so, you’re not alone. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, 75 percent of people believe that working with their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job. What’s more, according to a recent Gallup poll, only 13 percent of employees worldwide are truly engaged with their work. Trends like these are troubling—both for individuals and organizations. Simply put, the modern world is demanding more high-quality leaders than it is currently producing. The good news is that building the knowledge, skills, and mindsets for outstanding leadership does not depend on having remarkable gifts or unique personality traits. The secret to success is surprisingly simple and achievable by most.

Drawing on the philosophy and science of leadership, we will focus on the two major competencies of successful and impactful leaders: personal leadership and organizational leadership. The first focuses on authenticity and working well with others, while the latter competency centers on influencing and motivating others with a strong vision, a successful culture, and effective people management. Through a combination of assignments, case studies, collaborative and experiential activities, and online discussion, you will develop skills and techniques for effectively building on each of these competencies to enhance your leadership abilities in a variety of challenging situations and contexts. This course will be particularly relevant to managers, supervisors, team leaders, and others who aspire to develop high-performance leadership competencies.


  • Course sizes are limited.
    You won't have 5,000 classmates. This course's enrollment is capped at 40 participants.

  • Frequent interaction with the instructor.
    You aren't expected to work through the material alone. Instructors will answer questions and interact with students on the discussion board and through weekly video meetings.

  • Study with a vibrant peer group.
    Stanford Continuing Studies courses attract thoughtful and engaged students who take courses for the love of learning. Students in each course will exchange ideas with one another through easy-to-use message boards as well as optional weekly real-time video conferences.

  • Direct feedback from the instructor.
    Instructors will review and offer feedback on assignment submissions. Students are not required to turn in assignments, but for those who do, their work is graded by the instructor.

  • Courses offer the flexibility to participate on your own schedule.
    Course work is completed on a weekly basis when you have the time. You can log in and participate in the class whenever it's convenient for you. If you can’t attend the weekly video meetings, the sessions are always recorded for you and your instructor is just an email away.

  • Opportunity to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
    Students who take the course for Credit or a Letter Grade will earn CEUs. CEUs allow the student to receive an official transcript and a grade report as proof of completion.

  • This course is offered through Stanford Continuing Studies.
    To learn more about the program, visit our About Us page. For more information on the online format, please visit the FAQ page.

Danielle Harlan, Founder and CEO, The Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential

Danielle Harlan is the former chief of operations for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She has been a TEDx speaker, and is a member of the International Leadership Association, the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, and the National Association for Female Executives. She received a PhD in political science and an MA in education from Stanford, where she was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow and received a Centennial Teaching Award.

Textbooks for this course:

No required textbooks