As summer approaches, so do a number of Academy for Advancing Leadership professional development programs. Some of these programs are focused on leadership development and others address pedagogy and developing the skills of a master teacher.

While the program curricula differ, leading and learning exist in a nexus. Effective teachers not only convey knowledge and facilitate discovery; through role modeling and mentoring they affect students’ attitudes, behaviors, and career aspirations. For many of us a teacher stands out as a singular influence in shaping both our character and our vocation—and that is leadership.

Likewise, effective leaders encourage us to learn new things, to question our assumptions, to grow through challenging ourselves and others, and to make a difference. The titles and job descriptions are different, but teachers are leaders and leaders are teachers.

Largely due to the research of James McGregor Burns, leadership theory has focused much attention over the past three decades on “transformative” or “transformational” leadership. Leadership is about creating meaning, inculcating values, and transforming people and organizations. In their book Leadership that Matters, Sashkin and Sashkin identify four specific transformational leadership behaviors.

First, by using communication skills, transformational leaders actively listen, provide useful feedback, and convey complex ideas clearly. They are masters of creating and using metaphors to explain and inspire. Second, through consistent and credible actions, transformational leaders build trust. They keep promises, meet commitments, and tell the truth. Third, transformational leaders care about people. Caring includes respecting differences and valuing special skills and abilities. It’s reflected in simple things like knowing people by name. Finally, transformational leaders create opportunities by developing followers and making sure they have the requisite knowledge, skills, and resources needed to succeed. Transformational leadership is about fostering an environment in which people can learn and grow.

I have seen these behaviors in those who effectively lead universities, colleges and schools, and departments. But I have also experienced them in the classroom, in the actions of those who had no formal administrative or positional appointment. Teachers transform their classrooms, labs, and clinics as they engage the learners for whom they have accepted responsibility. Leading and learning always occur together as complementary ways of transforming people and organizations.


N. Karl Haden, Ph.D.
President of AAL & co-author of The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders and 31 Days with the Virtues

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The Academy for Advancing Leadership (AAL) is a health and higher education consulting firm. We work with organizational leaders to achieve their goals through strategic planning and professional development. We have helped over 150 institutions and thousands of leaders advance in their fields. Unlike other firms, our clients engage directly with accomplished and seasoned experts to achieve objectives with agility.


Celebrating Almost Two Decades in Business

Launched in 2005, AAL is a collaborative of scholars, educational specialists, and consultants providing services that help leaders in businesses, nonprofits, and academia pursue excellence, the application of knowledge, the discovery of ideas, and the quest of lifelong learning. The AAL team strives to build long-term relationships based on superior service, mutual trust, and intellectual inspiration. We focus on professional development, consulting services, and the application of assessment technologies and informatics to solve our clients' challenges. We hope to get to know you and assist with your personal, professional, and organizational growth.

N. Karl Haden, PhD

President of AAL


Advancing health and higher education.


AAL builds and strengthens your unique value through results-driven consulting and professional development.

Core Values

Scholarship through continuous learning, discovery, dissemination of knowledge, and interprofessional collaboration.

Innovation through risk-taking and disruption of the status quo.

Integrity through doing the right things for the right reasons.

Excellence through superior quality, client satisfaction, and the assessment of outcomes.

Philanthropy through volunteerism and financial contribution.

Success Stories

“I've taken quite a few leadership courses and seminars; none come close to the material involved and coordination AAL. Sprinkle a little genuine interest in seeing us succeed and well intentions and you have the best leadership mentors PERIOD.”

Dr. Khaled Hussein

BronxCare Health System

“The program was very valuable in the way that it gave us some real tools, some real opportunities and ways to evaluate ourselves and our own approaches to leadership and then gave us an opportunity of how to apply that to interprofessional education. I think that was the best … the applicability of the tools that were provided to us and how we can utilize those were just amazing. It was very valuable and an opportunity to evaluate yourself with the tools that they provided to give an introspective look into your own leadership style and what other people thought of your leadership, and that was very powerful.”

Dr. Kevin Brueilly

Wingate University Levine College of Health Sciences

“I think the program was excellent. There were many excellent sessions. They were very stimulating. They kept us moving, very thought provoking. I thought the program overall was well designed, and as I said very thought provoking. For the inaugural program, it was well put together. You could see the passion in the instructors, who were very well versed in the topics that they talked about. I’m really pleased to be a part of this, and as a social worker, I really got a great sense of how interprofessional education can be very instrumental in terms of social workers working in healthcare settings. I think this is the wave of the future, and this program will gain traction in the future. I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

Dr. Martell Teasley

University of Utah College of Social Work

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