Learn More About Gianpiero Petriglieri, MD
These days, most companies promise employees learning opportunities and a sense of community, while many senior executives claim to care as deeply about people’s well-being and development as they do about the quality and sustainability of their work performance. But what does it take to keep those promises and live up to those claims?
It takes nothing less than humanizing the workplace, beginning with those who manage it.
Award-winning Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD, Gianpiero Petriglieri, MD (JAN-pyer-oh PET-ree-glee-air-ee), is an authority on how value-based leadership can foster engaging workplaces in which people need not trade off wellbeing and high performance, workplaces in which broad inclusion and strong culture go hand in hand. Such workplaces, Petriglieri contends, are the best cure for the current epidemic of disengagement, loneliness and mental distress at work. And building those workplaces require leaders who truly care.
A trained psychiatrist and academic director of the Management Acceleration Programme and of the Initiative for Learning Innovation and Teaching Excellence, his research focuses on how leaders can stay grounded as well as adaptable, energized as well as effective, purposeful as well as portable. And it uncovers how performing such leadership, with care, unlocks value that fosters inclusion and innovation for groups and organizations.
Building on his experience studying and working with companies around the world, Petriglieri has come to regard leadership as a craft and, at its best, an art – because it involves using one’s energy, intellect, passion and skills to bring a unique intent to life and share it with the world. And he has refined an inimitable approach to learning the artistry of leading. His frameworks help individuals and groups clarify their leadership intent, claim it, commit to it and forge relationships that sustain it.
The focus on humanizing leadership, Petriglieri shows, allows managers to take a broader look at their role as leaders. It reminds them of who they are, and what they do, when they lead at their best. It urges them to recognize that performance isn’t just about technologies, results and analytics to good leaders. Performance is also a cultural exercise that involves bringing values to life in a credible way. With this mindset, leaders will see business not as a machine but as an organism that must be continuously nurtured to be healthy and grow, and that requires a healthy environment too. He further empowers leaders to see that to bring an organization to life in its ecosystem, they must come alive first, and that they are already in charge of their most significant leadership instrument: themselves.
“Work is very central to people’s lives. It can make us whole and lift us up, and it can make us hurt and break us apart,” explains Petriglieri, who has been recognized three times by Thinkers50 as one of the 50 most influential management thinkers in the world. “Leaders must build workplaces not with rhetoric, but with actions. Leadership doesn’t exist, leaders do. What matters is not the leadership models that managers claim to follow, but the care they demonstrate while leading. In a time of societal turbulence, we expect a lot from business leaders but trust them little because we think that a leader is just someone who gets their way. Until we change that image of leadership, we won’t be able to practice a more humane, trustworthy, and ultimately more effective way of leading.”
A truly energizing storyteller and presenter, Petriglieri’s keynotes and workshops help managers think like a true leader and an analyst.
“When we are in the analyst mindset, we try to predict what the future might bring. When we are in a leader mindset, we try to build a future. We don’t ask others, ‘will this work?’ We ask ourselves, ‘how do I make it work?”
Petriglieri teaches people how to make that mindset shift and how to help others make it, turning business challenges into something individuals and groups care about and commit to addressing. By building relationships and fostering a mindset of personal responsibility rather than simply a single-minded focus on resource analysis, managers are able to achieve outcomes of trust and performance.
“Managers are central to shaping culture. They have an impact not only on the results of their firms but also on the lives of the people in those firms,” says Petriglieri, who teaches the core course “Ethics: Value-based Leadership for Cosmopolitans” in the INSEAD MBA program and works with global companies on bespoke leadership development initiatives. “Leaders need ideas, resources and commitments, but they also need to realize that they can’t do it on their own. They need peers to create connections and remember that leadership must not just be useful, it must also be hopeful.”
As an advisor to executives across industries, Gianpiero Petriglieri helps leaders see that effectiveness and efficiency aren’t enough. Genuine leadership isn’t about what you say, it’s about who you are.
Professor Gianpiero Petriglieri is co-director of the Management Acceleration Programme at INSEAD, the school’s flagship executive program for emerging leaders, and is academic director of the Initiative for Learning Innovation and Teaching Excellence. He also designs and directs customized leadership development programs for multinationals in a variety of industries, some of which have received industry-wide awards. He has chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on new models of leadership and has been recognized three times by Thinkers50 as one of the 50 most influential management thinkers in the world, most recently in 2023. In 2021, he was shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Coaching and Mentoring Award.
In the INSEAD MBA, Petriglieri teaches the core course “Ethics: Value-based Leadership for Cosmopolitans,” for which he has received the Aspen Institute’s “Ideas worth Teaching“ award. He taught the “Leading People and Groups” core course for five years, receiving the students’ Outstanding Teacher Award. He has earned numerous Dean’s Commendations for Teaching Excellence in MBA and Executive Education.
A medical doctor and psychiatrist by training, Petriglieri has worked as an executive coach, practiced as a psychotherapist and served on the staff of group relations conferences in Europe and the United States. He has chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on new models of leadership, and has held Visiting Professor positions at the Harvard Business School, and at Copenhagen Business School.
Petriglieri’s research appears in top academic journals and is featured in a range of media including the BBC, Financial Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. He has written regularly for Harvard Business Review, where his essays have been included among the “ideas that shaped management.”
Gianpiero Petriglieri is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.
“Leadership Doesn’t Exist, Leaders Do.”
Professor Gianpiero Petriglieri’s customized workshops offer leaders and their teams a unique opportunity to discuss and apply his methodologies related to value-based leadership and leading with care. To empower and inspire workers at every level of an organization, attendees bring their challenges and goals and work toward solutions in a collaborative setting. Petriglieri employs modules that allow for question-and-answer periods and extended discussions focused on how to humanize leadership to build trust and encourage collaboration. Participants will walk away from this workshop understanding how to think like a genuine leader who sees the business as a living organism that requires nurturing for growth, as opposed to an analyst who sees the business as only a machine.