World’s Best B-School Professors: Laurie Weingart

by John A. Byrne on

Tepper Professor Laurie Weingart

 

Laurie Weingart
Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business

Claim to Fame: Her groundbreaking work on the impact of conflict on team performance

Education:

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Ph.D., Organizational Behavior
Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, MS. Organizational Behavior
University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, B.S., Industrial Psychology

At Tepper Since: 1989

Fun Fact: I grew up in a family involved in amateur auto racing (Formula Vee) and spent many summer weekends at the racetrack.

If I wasn’t teaching, my dream job would be: An actress. I guess teaching isn’t that far afield, because I get to perform every time I walk into the classroom.

Best part of the job: It’s hard to think of a better job than being a professor. My job is never boring.  I am always meeting new and interesting people. I can pick my research topics and collaborators. And there are always opportunities to take on new challenges, whether it’s research, teaching, or institution building (both in terms of my profession and the university).

Worst part of the job: I’d have to say it’s grading. While I love giving feedback to students on their performance and ideas, I have a hard time assigning letter grades.  I’d rather focus on the learning points.

When Professor Laurie Weingart was once asked the lesson she wants her own children to pay the most attention to, she said the importance of trying to understand problems and conflicts from the perspective of other people. “It’s an incredibly important skill for effectively interacting with others in a social world,” she told the interviewer.

Your effectiveness as a manager and leader is directly related to the ability to both relate to and work with people who are very different from yourself. Don’t forget to take a 360-degree view of any given situation. Take the time to understand your colleague’s interests and constraints.”

Spoken like an expert in team dynamics and leadership, which Weingart certainly is. No wonder that she also once said she most admired former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who Weingart believes had “a major impact on the advancement of peace in the 20th century.”

In her own way, this popular professor, who teaches “Groups and Teams in Organizations” and “Negotiation,” has had a major impact in the MBA classroom as well as in her larger field of conflict management—and she is now playing a more central role in the MBA experience at Carnegie Mellon.

In early 2012, Weingart was named the director of Tepper’s Center for Excellence in Communication and Leadership, which plays a key role in the school’s new curriculum strategy to help students hone their leadership and communication skills. The center provides one-on-one coaching for MBA students and is a new and essential part of the MBA experience at Tepper, which has long emphasized analytical skills and mastery of complex business problems.

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