The success of the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership(HIPL) is built on the credentials of our Bryant University faculty. This month, we highlight the contributions on Distinguished Scholar, Professor Richard Holtzman.
Professor Holtzman has been an associate professor of political science at Bryant University since 2006. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego, and Ph.D. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. A published author, he is an expert in the areas of the American Presidency, Politics of Government and Business, and Presidential Rhetoric. An avid news reader, Professor Holtzman was attracted to politics because it is the center for the current problems and solutions faced by our society. He enjoys working with the HIPL because it gives him a hand on opportunity to work with public officials who drive the news and impact our quality of life. In addition, Professor Holtzman enjoys collaborating with the Hassenfeld Scholars such as Professors Segovis, Coakley, Roberto and Tebaldi because it gives him an opportunity to look at issues from different perspectives.
Speaking on the topic of HIPL's Leadership Competency Model "Transitioning from Campaigning to Governing", Professor Holtzman emphasized that, once elected, public officials need to build a new relationship with their constituents. He believes there is a fundamental difference between campaigning and governing communications, campaigning is more straightforward and direct, whereas governing is more complex and interactive. He states that during governing, public officials need to engage all of their constituents and teach them about difficult issues.
An expert in political rhetoric, Professor Holtzman argues that a leader should help people make sense of situations that are beneficial to both the leader and the constituents and frame issues correctly. For example, one can’t simply say, “I want to cut taxes”, one needs to create a narrative that tells people what the issue means, why it matters, and how it applies to them.
There are personal qualities that create good leaders. Professor Holtzman states, “There are skills that can be acquired and refined by practices”. Qualities such as being able to persuade, bargain, communicate, and being able to listen are important for effective leadership. One thing Professor Holtzman especially enjoys about the institute is that, “the HIPL has no formula for saying this is how you become a good leader… but the underlying philosophy that justifies the existence of the institute is that there are best practices out there, there are better ways and there are cases we can read to see where someone made the most of a situation or blew it.
There are benefits of talking about leadership and seeing what other people have to say about leadership… therefore, we can help teach people how to be a better leader or how to better understand themselves as leaders and figure out what positives they have or what weaknesses they have and therefore, how to correctly compensate for those”.