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Barney School's Michael Patterson Speaks on the Psychohistory of Leadership Styles

Posted 02/28/2017
Submitted by Brian Skelly
Category: Campus Announcements

Join us at this week’s Philosophy Club meeting Thursday, March 2 from 12:15 to 1:45 in 421 Auerbach Hall as Barney School of Business professor Dr. Michael Patterson presents on the psychohistory of leadership styles.

Exploring how our leadership styles and behaviors can be influenced from our internal and external environments. Psychohistorians have studied successful leaders on how their leadership styles have been influenced by their childhood experiences (Stogdill & Bass, 1981). For example, Davis (1975) studied the correlation between Theodore Roosevelt’s childhood and his autocratic leadership style as the President of the United States. Roosevelt possessed a strong demeanor and admiration for power (Cooper, 1983), which were influenced by his early respiratory health issues as a youth that caused him to have a thin and frail appearance. His health issues confined him to his room on many occasions in which he would read, study, and evolve in many aspects a visionary (Collins, 2011). Later, during his teenage years and leading into his post teenage years, some of his health issues dissipated and he realized a significant weight gain. He also consciously sought to improve his health through rigorous physical exercise and outdoor activity. The once frail, thin boy was now a husky-framed man starting to build confidence and taming wild horses on a farm (Collins, 2011). Roosevelt’s health issues early in his adolescent years nurtured his later ability to be a visionary and be known as a very intellectual President, and overcoming these health issues, taming wild horses, hunting, coupled with a thirst for life, can be linked to his autocratic powerful leadership style.

Similar to Roosevelt, my adolescent experiences had an underlying impact on my emerging leadership style as well as my conception of leadership. I grew up in an era in which the leaders depicted on television and movies were largely white males from upper class families who were the guardians of the family and who dictated orders that were followed by others and occasionally enforced with financial sanctions or brute force (Brookfield & Preskill, 2009).

Let’s explore this phenomenon more.

Patterson is an experienced educator and a leader in the management field combining his extensive work history within the public and private sectors. He has diverse teaching experience in community colleges, universities and corporations using traditional, hybrid, and online teaching models.

The University of Hartford Philosophy Club meets every Thursday during Fall and Spring Semesters - with the exception of the first Thursday of each semester - from 12:15 to 1:45 in 421 Auerbach Hall on the campus of the University of Hartford. The Club has an informal, jovial atmosphere. It is a place where students, professors, and people from the community at large meet as peers. Sometimes presentations are given, followed by discussion. Other times, topics are hashed out by the whole group.

Presenters may be students, professors, or people from the community. Anyone can offer to present a topic. The mode of presentation may be as formal or informal as the presenter chooses. Bring friends. Suggest topics and activities. Take over the club! It belongs to you! Food and drink are served. Come and go as you wish.

For more information, contact Brian Skelly at or 413-642-0334.