Faculty 360 George Lehman

George LehmanYou teach exclusively in the master’s program, what is your favorite class?
Leadership and Management for the Common Good, the kick-off course for The Collaborative MBA, is my favorite. The students meet for a whole week. In addition to their coursework, they build a supportive learning community. I help them to see that the task is to think carefully about what good leadership looked like in the past and what it looks like today. Their answers are personal to them rather than ones that can easily be found in a textbook. The week is exhausting but incredibly stimulating.

What is the best piece of management advice you ever received?
It was advice I did not like at first. While working in health care administration, I was expected to collaborate with a person that I actively disliked. I told my boss that the situation was intolerable. His advice: “learn to work with him and you will find that you’ll learn to appreciate him.” He was right. I did learn to work with him and eventually came to appreciate him, though we certainly never became close friends. Now, I know that my responsibility is to change my attitude rather than to change someone else. 

You have researched several fascinating topics while at Bluffton—from the business practices of chocolate giants to the impact of emotional intelligence. What topic intrigues you the most?
My favorite lecture was about the business practices of Amish in and around my home community of Berne, Ind. They make some quirky adjustments for modern technology such as having non-Amish (referred to as “English”) customers call English neighbors to schedule appointments.

I was surprised that despite the close ties within the large Amish community, many Amish business people are rather independent and protective of their turf. They don’t quite trust that their Amish neighbors won’t take away their own business. 

I was treated wonderfully by a small family group of adult Amish men with an inherited degenerative disease that left them all wheelchair bound who publish an Amish directory. Their task could be done more easily with a computer than using note cards, but as one man observed, “we have plenty of time.”