Syllabus, MAN 6395.0001, Fall 2016, MBA

Basic information

  • Instructor: Robert Cascio, Ph.D.
  • Course name: MAN 6395.0001 – Leadership Development and Coaching
  • Course webpage: and Webcourses
  • Email: – This is the best way to reach me
  • Mobile phone: 407-538-1000 – Note: please use email for routine and non-urgent matters
  • Office: BA1-319 (main campus), the Downtown Executive Development Center (EDC), or other mutually convenient location
  • Office hours: Immediately before or after class (please email me in advance to confirm), or by appointment.

Course materials

  • Textbooks:
    • 1. Required – Straw, Julie, Mark Scullard, Susie Kukkonen, and Barry Davis. The Work of Leaders. How Vision, Alignment, and Execution Will Change the Way You Lead. Wiley. 2013. ISBN: 9781118636534.
    • 2. Required – The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization by Tom Kelley & Jonathan Littman (ISBN 978-0385512077). Hardbound, Digital and Audio versions available.
  • Required: Harvard Business Publishing, Coursepack:
  • Access to Internet and Webcourses for assignments and examinations during class time. Ideally this would be a laptop, however a tablet or mobile phone will also be acceptable. There is a mobile app for Canvas for most tablets and smartphones. You will need to be able to input up to 6 sentences worth of information into Webcourses and other webpages during class on several occasions in order to participate in surveys, discussions, and feedback exercises during the course session. You will need to have a laptop or a tablet with a keyboard for the final exam.

Course objectives

  • Students will gain a through understanding and application of the leadership development and coaching competencies and develop foundational knowledge regarding its benefits and effective utilization for a variety of different organizations (large / small, low-tech / high-tech, etc.).
  • Students will be exposed to various areas of expertise that are required to lead a business unit successfully, understanding that effective, successful leadership isn’t automatic—wise leaders invest the energy, time, focus, etc. required to make a positive difference in each life they touch.
  • Students will apply course information to their personal career strategy.
  • Students will have multiple opportunities to practice what you have learned using appropriate research and analysis tools in a variety of business scenarios.
  • Engage in self-reflection of your own personality, skills, and experiences as important and relevant building blocks of leader effectiveness.
  • Gain an enhanced ability to recruit, retain, organize, and motivate employees using innovative coaching strategies and reward systems.
  • Understand the unique dynamics associated with leadership development and coaching in organizations that operate in multiple countries and cultures.
  • “I want you to get the best possible course experience and have a competitive career advantage after successfully completing this course.”

What you can expect from me

  • Come prepared to every class with a class agenda and discussion topics.
  • Design the class so you can accomplish the objectives listed in the syllabus and apply material directly in your current or future employment.
  • Consider that it is not always the student’s fault if the material is not understood.
  • Create a mutually respectful classroom environment for effective debate and conversation.
  • Recognize that sometimes I may conduct the course incorrectly, and I should not get defensive when you question or critique my style.

What I expect from you

  • Come prepared to every class by reading, reviewing, and studying chapters and other information to be covered, as well as previously covered material.
  • Complete all work on time with proper thought.
  • Consider that it is not necessarily the instructor’s fault if you don’t understand the material.
  • Treat others with respect and remain focused and engaged in class. Recognize that peer learning is critical in graduate programs.
  • Ask questions when you don’t understand. Asking questions is a sign of maturity, not ignorance.
  • Understand that I am not trying to “nit-pick” when I grade exams, assignments, or presentations. The professional business discipline requires detailed feedback and performance evaluation for mastery.

Learning outcomes

  • Students will possess knowledge of leadership and coaching, including its creation and management within organizations.
  • Students will produce professional written and/or oral communications related to leadership and coaching.
  • Students will make decisions based on ethical knowledge.
  • Students will apply the appropriate information technologies to specific case example situations.
  • Students will demonstrate an awareness of elements and environment in which successful leadership development and coaching can flourish.
  • Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills by analyzing leadership and coaching problems and opportunities, applying proper logic, assessing the quality/validity of data, and formulating valid conclusions based on their analyses.

Prerequisites and other requirements

  • Graduate student standing
  • Desire to learn; openness to criticism, peer evaluation, and continuous feedback
  • All faculty members are required to document students’ academic activity at the beginning of each course. In order to document that you began this course, please be sure to complete the first assignment in webcourses as shown on the course schedule. Failure to do so will result in a delay in the disbursement of your financial aid.


  • Class discussions facilitated by the instructor
  • Instructor experience summaries
  • Simulations of strategic situations, with course participants acting in different personas in the strategic process
  • In-class exercises to access your level of preparation and to lead into discussions of course material
  • Written assignments
  • Oral presentations
  • Final exam

Academic honesty

  • The University is committed to maintaining a fair academic environment for all students.
  • As part of that effort, a policy of academic honesty is strictly enforced.
  • Any conduct compromising this policy will result in academic and/or disciplinary action.
  • Any student who violates or assists in violating these standards will be pursued through the Office of the Dean of Business Administration and the Dean of Students.
  • Source: The Golden Rule Student Handbook

Classroom behavior

  • Courtesy and respect will be shown to all students, guests, and the instructor at all times.
  • No disruptive behavior: disruptive latecomers, leaving early on a routine basis, reading for pleasure, working on outside assignments, or excessive talking. Violators will be asked to leave the class and may be further penalized.
  • Mobile phone usage, including text messaging, is permitted during class breaks. Please silence and keep mobile devices out of sight during class exercises in order to keep everyone engaged and focused on the course material.
  • Laptop or tablet use is encouraged in the classroom for taking class notes. Inappropriate laptop use, such as Internet surfing, checking e-mail, instant messaging, playing games and working on unrelated assignments to name a few, will result in a reduction in your participation score.
  • On-time arrival to class and engagement in class discussion are critical for a full understanding of the material, an interesting class, and a satisfactory participation score.

Academic expectations

  • Be prepared to work outside of your comfort zone as you are pushed to expand your business acumen.
  • Prepare for assigned readings prior to the class discussion and for in-class exercises.
  • Attend each class and participate. Be on time to class every day.
  • All material presented in class may be incorporated into exams, exercises, or other forms of evaluating student performance.
  • Each student is responsible for staying current on any changes to the syllabus or announcements made in class.
  • Be sure to check webcourses regularly (twice a week or so) for updates.
  • Assignments are due at the beginning of class. All assignments or an equivalent make-up assignment must be completed to pass the course with a C or better. Late assignments, however, will receive no points.
  • Students should thoroughly rehearse presentations outside of class prior to delivering them.

Contacting the instructor

  • Ask your questions in class whenever possible. I have arranged the class to have sufficient time for them. Other students can then benefit from the discussion.
  • Secure at least 2 student emails and phone numbers in order to be able to discuss course assignments, activities, and general assistance easily between class sessions.
  • If you have a general course-related question, please be courteous enough to review the course webpages (main page, syllabus, schedule, etc.) and webcourses before contacting me.
  • Grade / Missing Points Questions – if you have a question about grades or missing class activity / quiz points, contact me by email or in person to discuss; be sure to do any necessary research first.


  • Often an exercise will be given to assess your preparedness for class or your understanding of material.  They will cover the material that has been covered in class or is scheduled to be covered in class for that day and are designed to enhance the classroom discussion and other experience of peer to peer learning. Be sure to read and study the chapters before coming to class.
  • Certain assignments or other point-valued activities are eligible for make-up from one class session, but for only 50% of the possible points.
  • Attendance is critical in this course because a large percentage is participation and peer to peer learning; missing more than 2 courses will reduce your course grade. Students who have conflicts with the dates published in this syllabus should drop this course.
  • Students have 2 weeks from the time an assignment or exam grade is posted to seek corrections or review before it is considered final.
  • Students should not plan on the opportunity to complete extra credit assignments to earn additional points over and above the points outlined.
  • Students will be evaluated based on their performance on the following activities:
    Description Points Percent
    Leadership Topic Forum and Presentation (Team Project) 100 20%
    PICK ONE: Executive Recruitment OR Leadership Development Exercise Project (Team) 75 15%
    Case and Other Course Assignments  100 20%
    Class Involvement Activities and Participation 100 20%
    Final Exam 125 25%
    Total 500 100%

Study hints

  • Translate ideas into your own words and summarize every couple of pages in the chapters in a bullet point or two.
  • Review and summarize course notes and key ideas as soon as possible following each class period. This facilitates the movement of knowledge from short-term to long-term memory.
  • Try and find inconsistencies or errors in the text; tell me if you feel there is an error.
  • Link the material to previously learned material or your current work.
  • Consider audio-taping class lectures for additional review.

Participation and class attendance

  • Attendance and meaningful participation are mandatory. Meaningful means there is clarity, relevance, and importance to the discussion. Attendance will be taken at the end, middle, or beginning of class. Class attendance is a necessary, but insufficient condition for participation; in other words, missing more than 2 classes will lower your participation score, but good attendance does not mean you are a meaningful contributor. I will be looking to see if you are prepared, a good listener, and an effective communicator. Participation is not about just “air time” or the “space” you take up. I will use the following scale:
  • 90-100/100 = outstanding contributor – consistent, high-level involvement with depth and original thinking and insight
  • 80-89/100 = good contributor – consistent contribution through asking and answering questions
  • 70-79/100 = satisfactory contributor – periodic contributions to class discussion
  • 50-69/100 = below-average contributor – sporadic contributions to discussions, passive audience member, if called upon fails to demonstrate familiarity with the material
  • Learning names is an important skill. You are encouraged to learn the first names of all students in the class and reference them by name in class discussions. Please place your name card where the instructor and other students can view it to facilitate the name-learning process. The instructor will provide easy strategies for you to do so that you can apply in a variety of settings. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, class seating chart or other methods to learn student names. I also strongly encourage the use of LinkedIn in order to maintain professional connections with your peers and other business-minded individuals that you come in contact with.

Team Project details

These assignments represent a significant opportunity for your team to be both challenged and rewarded for your efforts as a result of your work. Approach these assignments as ones that will define and showcase your abilities within your professional graduate program and let your best work come forward.

Presentations are evaluated on the following key dimensions: (1) quality of information presented (good, factual, timely, appropriate for the project and for the audience, etc.), (2) presentation skills (quality of the delivery, transitions between sections and speakers, well rehearsed versus an impromptu discussion that is unpolished, etc.), (3) appropriate charts, graphs, other illustrations, and relevant video are utilized, (4) effective use of time allotted (was the class time well utilized considering the value of the audience’s time, was the appropriate amount of time devoted to presentation sections based on their level of importance?, again was it well rehearsed?, etc.), and (5) quality of the presentation slide layouts and handout (professional, polished, legible, consistent style, easy to follow, etc.).

For each project, the rubric indicates exactly how your project will be evaluated and scored. You will submit your documents via webcourses, one submission per team.  You must provide me with a printed copy of your slides (6 per page black and white are fine as long as they are legible), a printed executive summary, and a one-page (front or front and back) handout / outline for each audience member at the time of the presentation. Also, I have you provide feedback about the presentations you watch in order to ensure that every class member gets robust feedback about their presentation abilities.

  • Leadership Topic Presentation and Forum (a team project)

You have the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the class by locating, inviting, and preparing one or two appropriately qualified leaders (prior approval required, provide biography and experience history by email) from the community to attend one of our scheduled class sessions for 45 to 60 minutes. If you choose two leaders, they both must come at the same date and time and share the same topic and allocated time frame. Ideally, the leader or leaders will have a solid understanding of the topic area and will be eager and willing to share their Best Practices, needs, challenges and other reflections on the topic selected.

Your team is responsible providing them with a meaningful reason to attend, facilitating all of the logistics for their visit (campus map, parking details, parking pass, locating suitable material that will move the discussion forward and keep it on track, preparing visual aids or exercises that will assist in conveying the message, and preparing any other presentation items the leader or leaders desire. You will want to make the presentation and forum engaging and memorable. It is expected that you will choice an appropriate scope for your topic area given the maximum time allocation of 60 minutes. It will not be possible to cover everything related to the topic area, so reflect on the purpose and objectives of this course in making your decision of what content to include. I want your team to decide what you believe are the most important elements for the class to focus on and retain from the topic area. If you have questions about the scope, let me know.

You will be scored on the quality of the presentation  and forum, quality of the required one-or-two-page audience handout (well organized, easy to follow, valuable to audience / student, ties directly to the presentation / forum), and your teams’s  ability to convey relevant information about the topic. Conveying your message means that you are successful in assisting the audience in learning and retaining the most important elements from your presentation. See rubric in webcourses for specific weights and a bit more detail. This exercise has tremendous potential to substantially improve your personal network and personal career aspiration activities through interaction with high-quality local leaders. Please approach the assignment with diligence.

Topics Available (select by number; first come, first served):

Leading the Organization:
1. Managing Change
2. Strategic Planning
3. Being a Quick Learner
4. Being Resourceful
5. Authentic Leadership, Servant Leadership, Situational Leadership and Transformational Leadership
6. Moral and Ethical Leadership Principles and Frameworks
7. Crisis Management Leadership

Leading Others:
8. Inspiring Trust, Commitment and Motivation
9. Respecting Individual Differences and Personalities
10. Employee Development and Disciplinary Action
11. Conflict Style and Resolution / Building and Repairing Internal Relationships
12. Compensation and Reward Systems and Structures

Leading Yourself:
13. Balancing Personal Life and Work
14. Developing a Personal Career Strategy

Your team can present on any of the following sessions: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, or 12. Sessions are first come, first served. Note, no teams can present on the Challenge Course Session date when confirmed. Be sure to secure two alternate presentation dates in the event your first or second choices are not available. Note, however, in a few instances, I may be able to accommodate 2 groups on the same class session.


  • (A) Executive Recruitment Exercise (a team project)

Your team represents a human resources department or consulting firm and will have the chance to showcase your research, analysis, and presentation skills with the Executive Recruitment Exercise. This project involves the recruitment for a middle-level or upper-level leadership position for an actual or hypothetical firm. My preference is for you to choose to a position for an actual firm and even better if it can be your current employer. This is an opportunity to prepare a job description, position requirements, and compensation package, and then interview and evaluate 3 candidates for the position. The activities for this exercise will be summarized to the class in a presentation be between 8 and 12 minutes. You will submit presentation slides with a 200-to-400-word executive summary of the selection process as well appendices that support your evaluation, selection, and the value of methods utilized. The hiring company must have at least 20 current employees and the position being filled must have at least 5 direct reports, making the candidate’s ability to lead and coach others an important consideration. You will be evaluated on the quality of your job description, position requirements, compensation package, candidate interview techniques, candidate evaluation techniques, and ability to convince the hiring company’s Board of Directors that you have made a good evaluation and selection for the position. Your analysis and presentation will be graded from the perspective of a Board of Directors reviewing a presentation, not an instructor reviewing a student’s report. It must be professional in all respects. See rubric in webcourses for more grading specifics.

  • (B) Leadership Development Plan (a team project)

Your team represents a human resources department or consulting firm and will have the chance to showcase your research, analysis, and presentation skills with the Leadership Development Plan Exercise. This project involves the development of a leadership development plan for a middle-level or upper-level leadership position for an actual or hypothetical firm. My preference is for you to choose to a position for an actual firm and even better if it can be your current employer. This is an opportunity to solicit information from executives about their mission, vision, and values.  Prepare a job description, position requirements, compensation package, and then, for 3 internal candidates, develop a personal Board of Directors, leadership lifeline, personal leadership SWOT, and leadership development activities for the next 3 years that will prepare them for this next major career promotion / ambition. The activities for this exercise will be summarized to the class in a presentation be between 8 and 12 minutes. You will submit presentation slides with a 200-to-400-word executive summary of the actual information referenced above as well any appendices that support your development plan. The company must have at least 20 current employees and the position sought (their career ambition) must have at least 5 direct reports, making the candidate’s ability to lead and coach others an important consideration. You will be evaluated on the quality of your work and your ability to convince the company’s Board of Directors that you have made effective leadership development plans that have a strong likelihood of preparing the individuals for the focal position. Your analysis and presentation will be graded from the perspective of a Board of Directors reviewing a presentation, not an instructor reviewing a student’s report. It must be professional in all respects. See rubric in webcourses for more grading specifics.

End-of-semester peer evaluation

Your team will self-manage the process by which the various research, writing, and analysis tasks are handled. It is not likely that everyone on the team will have an equal hand in each section of each assignment. However, it is expected that by the end of the course, all team members will have contributed fairly equally to the overall output of the team’s projects.

Group work is often either the highlight or the nightmare of your course experience. Developing the skills to work in a group is a key part of being able to successfully implement leadership principles – whether it’s your own company, or you are working for someone else. Therefore, we will discuss some effective team-building strategies as we go through the course, as well as deal with non-performers if appropriate. Note that at the end of the semester, a for-credit peer evaluation will happen, which will allow you to assess the relative contribution you and your teammates have made to the team projects. So if your semester is a little more flexible in the early weeks, you might contribute more then. If it’s more flexible later on, you might contribute more on the final project. But by the end of the semester, everyone should have found equivalent ways to contribute. While I recognize that you cannot please everyone that you work with, your particular project grades can be substantially impacted positively or negatively based on the overall feedback from your team members. While a team project is worth a given number of points, each team member may receive a grade that is higher or lower than project grade based on the feedback received from other team members.

Final grades

  • Letter Grades
      • A means excellent, superior, and outstanding. These are typically earned by the top 10 to 15% of the class.
      • B means very good, above average, and above expectations. The majority of the class typically falls here as this is a graduate course and graduate students often do “very good” work.
      • C means fair, average, and following the directions and requirements. While most graduate students do perform above average work, that is not always the case and in some situations not possible for the student given their work or personal circumstances. This is the grade you would earn if you just complete everything in the course with normal / average / expected effort.
      • D means poor, below-average, and not completely following directions or requirements.
      • F means failure or not following the instructions or requirements at all.
  • Students are expected to achieve their desired grade through sufficient performance on assignments and exams.
  • They should not expect to be able to improve grades through re-doing assignments, extra credit, or negotiations with the instructor.
  • Grades will only be changed to correct calculation or input errors.
  • Final grades will be assigned based on the following point scale.
    Final Grade Points
    A 470 or more
    A- 450
    B+ 435
    B 415
    B- 400
    C+ 385
    C 365
    C- 350
    D+ 335
    D 315
    D- 300
    F 299 and below

Students with disabilities

  • If you need accommodations in this course because of disability, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make me aware of this as soon as possible so that I may assist you.


  • Changes to the syllabus may be made to reflect the needs of the class.
  • Any changes will be announced in class and/or online.
  • Please check the course webpage between classes for updates and other helpful information.

Class schedule

  • The class schedule is separate webpage for convenience, but still a part of the syllabus for the class:

Final comments

  • Like me, I recognize that you have substantial responsibilities other than this course.
  • In order to grasp this material, however, you must spend significant time and energy in reading and preparing for each course session and completing the assignments and projects.
  • My responsibility as your course instructor is to ensure that you master (hence the program name, Master of Business Administration) the material and have the ability to apply these important principles.
  • Based on my years of teaching experience, but moreover from the the feedback of previous class participants, I have chosen material, assignments, and projects that I believe will provide the richest and most valuable course experience with the least amount of effort. Your feedback during and at the end of the course will continue to enhance this process.
  • Please understand that I am here to assist you in whatever way possible to balance the pressures of this course with your work and family life.

Copyright and instructor use of student assignments. The instructor may choose to use assignments or examples from this course for various other purposes, including other classes, research studies, and activities. Unless a student requests otherwise in writing, it is understood that this is acceptable for all class participants.