New Faculty Director for Sanger Leadership Center Shares Her Goals, Priorities, and Favorite Fantasy Book Series
Just after being named a “rockstar prof” in Poets&Quants list of the “Top 40 Under 40 Business School Professors,” Lindred (Lindy) Greer joined the Michigan Ross community this summer as an associate professor of management and organizations and the faculty director of the Sanger Leadership Center.
In her first few months at Ross, she’s already made an impact: Greer has been busy prepping course content for the first cohort of Online MBA students as well as an elective course for the Full-Time MBA program on the psychology of start-up teams. She’s also been getting up and running with the Sanger team by contributing to Business + Impact Challenge during MBA orientation in early August.
We interviewed her over the summer to learn more about her goals and priorities, her research, along with a few fun facts.
What drew you to the Sanger faculty director role?
Sanger has the unique ability to bridge research and teaching, science and practice, and different university stakeholders, including companies, students, alumni, staff, and faculty. The opportunity to help Sanger continue to build and expand these bridges in our community is incredibly interesting to me, as well as the chance to think strategically about how we can develop the best data-driven leadership development program in the world.
What are some future possibilities you’d like to explore with the Sanger Leadership Center?
Michigan Ross is ‘the’ historical home for leadership research; I would like Ross and Sanger Leadership Center to continue to innovate and lead in this area. We will leverage the center as a platform to spread relevant research from Ross faculty out into the world to create more effective leaders. This will involve building faculty relationships, creating a research lab, supporting emerging researchers, and perhaps involving external stakeholders to gain funding. Additionally, I’m thinking about how we can loop in more research and teaching around diversity and inclusion.
Let’s talk about your research. What does your research focus on?
Broadly, my research looks at how leaders can design and lead effective teams. Key leadership skills I have looked at include how to design and structure teams, manage conflicts, regulate emotions, and develop inclusive cultures for diverse teams.
Can you share one research tidbit that really surprised you?
While I was working on my dissertation, I conducted a training session on diversity and inclusion for employees across all levels of a bank in the Netherlands. My session for their management team was the only one that completely bombed: not because of its content, but nobody paid attention and instead fought with one another throughout the entire session!
I was mystified that the people running the company could be so caught up in their power and politics that they failed to get work done. Particularly because the research at the time indicated that power made people live longer, made the brain function better, and was generally wonderful. Why then, when a group of high-powered people were in a room together, did it go so wrong?
I went out to research this, and found that power matters a great deal to a person’s identity. When a group of high-powered people are in a room together, they become easily threatened — someone else could steal their power. People become paranoid and lash our preemptively, and it creates a culture of conflict.
This was one of the phenomena I saw in real life that most surprised me and captivated my attention enough to spend a decade of my life trying to understand it.
Many Sanger programs help U-M students find their purpose in life. Do you have a life purpose that you’d be willing to share?
Most broadly, my life purpose is to positively contribute to the world around me. More specifically, several subgoals are to improve our knowledge of how to lead teams and companies, to bring that knowledge to practice, and thereby positively impact the quality of workplace interactions, and to help promote inclusive and equitable organizations.
Sanger programs also help students clarify their values. Can you share with us a few of your core values?
Joy: to live deeply, to be open and curious, and look for the positives in situations.
Love: to approach the world and everyone in it from a place of warmth and compassion.
Strength: to act with courage and integrity to help others.
Finally, how do you hope to grow and contribute to the Michigan Ross community?
I hope to continue to grow as a leader myself. I will be working on the skills that I need to develop in order to have an impact on issues I personally care about, such as leadership development and diversity and inclusion, which also matter deeply to the Michigan Ross community.
Faculty Director, Sanger Leadership Center
Roswell, New Mexico
Bachelor’s of science in economics, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania; PhD Social & Organizational Psychology, Leiden University
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Leading and designing effective teams
- The Psychology of Start-up Teams
- Organizational Behavior
- Managing Groups and Teams; Leadership
- Negotiation and Conflict Management
- Organizational Change
Words to describe your teaching style
Interactive, experiential, developmental
Leadership Book Recommendations
Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant
Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t by Jeff Pfeffer
Running, traveling, pilates, piano, horse riding, reading
Favorite Ann Arbor spots
The Arboretum, outdoor patios, local running trails, Solid Core, and riding stables
A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Creed (he has his own Instagram account)
Favorite Fantasy Book Series
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson