About Leadership in Action at Wagner

No one individual, organization, or sector is capable of addressing the pressing issues of today’s shared-power world. Shifting geopolitical and digital landscapes require that we move beyond traditional "heroic" conceptions of leaders to instead recognize leadership that enables people to work across sectors and boundaries to find common solutions.

Our approach to leadership understands that people from all sectors and levels can contribute to leading for the public good. By radically expanding our notions of how people lead, this perspective encourages people to see themselves in their leadership. We aim to strengthen organizations, communities, and democracy by deepening and diversifying the pool of people taking up leadership on the issues of public importance. 

To achieve this vision, we are committed to advancing leadership research, leadership development programs, and initiatives for the public good. Leadership scholars at NYU Wagner are dedicated to developing research and programs that enhance individuals’ leadership skills and strengthen organizations and systems in the world.

Our work on leadership bridges the divide between academics and practitioners. Whether theory-driven or built empirically, our work emerges from a shared belief that understanding and advancing leadership requires direct connections to the world of practice.

Our work on leadership is rooted in:

  • Tackling ambitious societal questions
  • Pushing the frontiers of both theory and practice
  • Drawing on different leadership traditions and diverse narratives
  • Fostering individual and collective leadership at all levels
  • Building genuine partnerships, locally and worldwide
  • Connecting across sectors to co-create unprecedented solutions
  • Treating practitioners as experts
  • Appreciating the work expertise of all kinds of leaders
  • Fostering scholarship that draws on—multiple methods, including participatory research
  • Sharing breakthrough leadership tools and knowledge