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History & Attributes

Our leadership programs are based on 15 attributes that an advisory board, appointed by President Hennessy, determined were critical to be a successful leader.

Program History

In 2006, President Hennessy appointed an advisory board to determine how Stanford should ensure that the next generation of leadership talent will be prepared to step into new roles when needed. The advisory board’s recommendations included multiple strategies designed to:

  • Create an even stronger affiliation with Stanford, its mission, values and the overall academic enterprise
  • Enhance the knowledge, skills and qualities faculty and administrators need to fulfill the key leadership roles they will assume at Stanford
  • Create an ongoing focus on developing and enhancing leadership talent by identifying people – including individuals who will enhance the diversity of university leadership – with potential to assume broader roles and ensuring they have opportunities to learn and grow

Leadership Attributes & Skills

The advisory board also proposed that all of the learning experiences be based on a common understanding of what it takes to be a successful leader at Stanford–15 attributes (knowledge, skills and qualities), grouped into three core skill areas:

  • Personal attributes
  • Interpersonal attributes
  • Achievement orientation

These three core skill areas have since become the foundation for leadership development experiences and other talent management practices including talent identification and  selection, performance management and succession planning.

Download a PDF version of the leadership attributes