How to find the right leadership program for your next career move
When people start thinking about how to advance their career, they often focus on gaining more technical skills – but more important is learning how to become a leader.
Unless you know how to manage and lead people, you will struggle to meet and surpass expectations no matter how good you are technically.
Choosing an education program that develops your management and leadership skills is the best way to advance your career and boost your value to an organisation.
Greg Campbell oversees Melbourne Business School's portfolio of Executive Education courses and makes sure they provide the skills needed to lead, manage and effect change successfully.
"The core challenge for most organisations today is coping with disruption," Greg says. "Its magnitude and pace is bigger and faster than anything we've experienced before, and as a leader you need the right skills to thrive and be successful in such environments.
"When looking to develop your career, ask yourself what really challenges you in your job. If you’re a technical expert moving into a leadership role, you can’t just rely on your specialist knowledge for authority. You need to know how to create an environment and climate where people can be their best and thrive in times of uncertainty."
The best programs for new leaders
As well as creating a supportive environment, good leaders need to be able to have tough conversations with their teams to keep them focused on organisational goals. If you're new to leadership, that may not come naturally.
For people who are managing a team for the first time or aim to in the future, our Maximising Your Leadership Potential program focuses on building the confidence required to lead.
"This three-day program looks at your individual leadership characteristics and prepares you to understand yourself as a leader," says Greg. "It provides frameworks to influence teams and your organisation. It has an individualised focus and includes coaching to bring out what you need to work on to lead with confidence."
Another option is the New Leaders Development Program, which covers all that and more over five days, including additional management tools to assist in the workplace such as Situational Leadership and an action plan for tackling a difficult conversation.
"This five-day program helps you to understand yourself as a leader and how to lead a team effectively. It covers team dynamics, what high performing teams look like and what your part should be in leading a high-performing team," Greg says.
Choosing the right program comes down to recognising your strengths and weaknesses as a leader of people, and just how much time you think is necessary to reach your goals.
How to lead in a changing environment
The old stereotype of the all-knowing leader no longer makes the cut. Emerging, established and even experienced leaders now need to bring people with diverse backgrounds and views together to solve problems in often unpredictable circumstances.
"Unless you know how to scan the horizon of your own company and beyond, and form teams with diverse skill sets, you will struggle to lead confidently and successfully – especially amid uncertainty," Greg says.
Integral to this approach is being able to create a supportive environment where people can work together on new challenges, see new possibilities and reshape the future.
"The challenge for many people dealing with change is how to properly manage the process – what inhibits or accelerates it. Many leaders going through change feel anxious and need to know how to engage people and bring them on the journey."
For managers who are working in industries facing disruption, our two-day Leading Change program is perfect for understanding how you behave when dealing with change and how it can impact different people in your team.
The longer Leading Transformational Change program delves even deeper and builds your understanding and confidence to implement change across an organisation, over five days. Both programs have a strong focus on your leadership style.
"In some programs, we even have actors come in to role-play the things in your personality inhibiting your development," says Greg.
Extra tools to help you in management
While choosing the right leadership program is important for improving your human skills, sometimes there are also knowledge gaps you will need to fill to succeed as a manager – such as finance.
“People who take the Finance for Non-Finance Managers program tend to be part of meetings where they need to make sense of finance, so they want to know how to contribute," says Greg. "It’s always a diverse class, which brings people from different industries and with different perspectives together."
As in all our programs, participants learn from each other and gain new insights, experiences and ways of thinking that they aren't exposed to in the workplace.
"It’s not just about the expertise of our program leaders, it's about recognising the expertise of all the people in the room and tapping into the wisdom of the group," says Greg.
"Our programs give people new ways to understand themselves and gain new skills. And they get to practise what they learn safely and confidently before applying it to their workplace."