Leadership Essay

By Stephen Northcutt

Leadership is a broad term, open to interpretation. However, it is the core focus of the SANS Technology Institute's mission. The purpose of this essay is to define what we mean by leadership, express the core compencies you will be exposed to in the program, and discuss what leadership means in the context of information security.

Definition of Leadership

A leader is a person who guides or inspires others within an organization or community to achieve a goal. Leadership development begins with the simple realization that you want to be a leader. Life has many opportunities to press forward and take charge of a situation, or conversely, to shrink into the background. This is why we ask prospective students to write an essay about demonstrated leadership when they apply to our school.

Leadership and Competencies

What does leadership mean, how do you measure leadership? One approach is through management and leadership competencies. We define competencies as measurable skills, knowledge, and abilities that identify successful managers in the information security discipline. In your graduate program, you will be exposed to core competencies. They are covered in your required course, ISE 5600: IT Security Leadership Competencies or ISM 5400: IT Security Planning, Policy, and Leadership. Some of the competencies that you will be taught are reinforced by specific course work and exercises:

Team Development and Relationship Building: This will occur when you attend a SANS conference and interact with fellow students, and as a result of both of your group projects.
Importance of Communication: The presentation skills course, ISE/ISM 5000 (SANS MGT 305), will help you develop your oral and written communication skills.
Self-Direction: We will monitor your progress throughout the program, but it will be up to you to register for and complete courses within the allowed time at a proper level of...

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