Tom Kolditz is the Director of the Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University, and formerly Professor in the Practice of Leadership and Management and Director of the Leadership Development Program at the Yale School of Management. His experience as a leader development expert spans four decades in the public, private, and social sectors.
A retired Brigadier General and titled Professor Emeritus by the US Military Academy, Tom led the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point for 12 years. In that role, he was responsible for teaching, research, and outreach activities in Management, Leader Development Science, Psychology, and Sociology. A highly experienced global leader, General Kolditz has more than 26 years in leader roles on four continents. His career has focused on either leading organizations himself, or studying leadership and leadership policy across sectors. He served for two years as a leadership and human resources policy analyst in the Pentagon, and a year as a concept developer in the Center for Army Leadership, and was the founding director of the West Point Leadership Center. He was instrumental in the design and formation of the Thayer Leader Development Group, and is the managing member of Saxon Castle LLC, a leader development consultancy.
General Kolditz is an internationally recognized expert on crisis leadership and leadership in extreme contexts, and in the development of programs to inculcate leadership and leader development in everything from project teams to large organizations. He has published extensively across a diverse array of academic and leadership trade journals, and serves on the editorial and advisory boards of several academic journals. He is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and is a member of the Academy of Management. He is a founding member of the Board of Advisors for the Department of Psychology at the University of Missouri, and serves on the Council of Senior Advisors for the Future of Executive Development Forum.
A skydiving instructor since 1980, Kolditz served as the senior instructor for the West Point Sport Parachute Team. He weaves his personal experiences and abilities as a soldier, skydiver, and scholar into the first-hand study, analysis, and practice of leadership in dangerous circumstances—in extremis leadership—and how such leadership can inform the practice of leading in more ordinary settings. His most recent book, titled In Extremis Leadership: Leading as if Your Life Depended on It, was based on more than 175 interviews taken on the ground in Iraq during combat operations. He has been named as a leadership Thought Leader by the Leader to Leader Institute and as a Top Leader Development Professional by Leadership Excellence.
General Kolditz has presented leadership content to more than 200 governmental, corporate, and social sector audiences worldwide. As a professor, he has led academic seminars or given lectures to students from Babson, Wellesley, and Olin Colleges, the University of Missouri, Columbia University, Duke University, Yale University, the Military Psychology Center of the Israel Defense Forces, Peking University, the Beijing International MBA program, Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Law School, seven national and international service academies and more than ten major metropolitan law enforcement, firefighting, and public service academies and assemblies. Kolditz has appeared on Bloomberg TV, ABC World News, ABC 20-20, Al Jazeera, MSNBC, CBS, NPR, Calgary Today, Morning Ireland, and interviews with reporters from the New York Times, the Associated Press, Time, Discovery, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Washington Post, La Razon, and more than a dozen national and international news agencies.
He holds numerous degrees, including a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from Vanderbilt University, as well as Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Social Psychology, a Master of Military Arts and Science, and a Masters in Strategic Studies.