Delivered November 28, 2020. Contributor: Edgar M.
To provide stories that are balanced across time, gender, history, and context about listening with impact.
Charles William Eliot
Charles William Eliot was Harvard's president between 1869 to 1909.
According to the Journal of International Education and Leadership, Dr. Eliot "listened with his mind," he attentively considered what someone else had to say. In this respect, Eliot acted as "a change agent
by developing transformational leadership in the
members within the college’s own hierarchy."
Charles William Eliot's idea of "conversation was that two
individuals should alternatively speak
and listen. When his turn came he
listened, and his listening was not mere
silence it was a form of activity. He
listened with his ears, and cocked his
head lest anything escape him."
His effective listening philosophy altered Harvard's culture, people within it, and also those outside the organization. According to the Journal of International Education and Leadership, "witnessing the
academic atrocities that were being committed
against the students, faculty, and society during
the antebellum, Civil War, and post-bellum
period as a student, tutor, and professor, Eliot
gained a pragmatic perspective of the actions
that were necessary."
Eliot's leadership brought about the end of the rigid curriculum at Harvard and opened the way for the specialized study that dominates American higher education.
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