As a new year commences, Jean Chandler and Stuart Hunt - programme directors for Advance HE’s Transition to Leadership programme – reflect on the programme, styles of leadership and benefits for participants in this interview.
Tell us a little bit about the structure of the Transition to Leadership (TTL) programme
Stuart: We have three days face-to-face and about the same amount of time for online and on-the-job learning activities. The programme is unique in that it doesn’t lecture too much and it doesn’t involve a lot of reading. There is some reading involved, of course, however this is limited to must-read material.
What else makes this programme different?
Stuart: The programme includes two elements that are not often seen in open, introductory programmes of this kind.
Co-creation: We use the concept of the ‘flipped’ classroom to take advantage of the blended and extended nature of the programme to task participants with co-designing and co-presenting their own understandings and applications of leadership based around their own experiences. Participants leading presentations and fielding questions from colleagues lends itself well to the culture of learning in higher education.
Self-knowledge: We ask participants to reflect on several areas throughout the programme:
- What is their style?
- What are their preferences?
- What do they admire in others?
- What do they bring to leadership that is helpful?
- Where may they need the support of colleagues?
This helps participants to know what they are really good at, what motivates them and to consciously seek to demonstrate these attributes to colleagues with whom they work.
Coaching is also a key component of the programme, why is that?
Jean: A coaching leadership style is recognised as one of the most positive according to Daniel Goleman’s research on the six distinct leadership styles. As well as learning about a coaching approach, participants also have the chance to practice coaching skills face-to-face and as part of the programme’s online peer coaching groups.
How does the programme help participants to become good leaders?
Stuart: The programme is filled with diagnostics, self-assessments and structured self-reflection activities, plus face-to-face and online discussions to help people understand that others may have very different perspectives.
This is based on the principle that it is only when we know ourselves that we are in any position to deliberately choose to modify our behaviour and to become really skilful leaders.
What have you learnt about yourself that you now bring to TTL?
Jean: Personally, I apply the skills I have gained through coaching in many aspects of my working and personal life. I realise that as a young manager, the challenges I found in trying to better connect and understand those I managed, could have been solved by adopting a more coaching approach to leading. I hope that with a focus on coaching, Transition to Leadership can help develop others.
Finally, what is the one key skill to being a good leader?
Jean: If I were to take one piece of advice and give it to my younger self, it would be to listen hard, seek to understand, ask helpful questions, keep myself out of the way and support and enable others to find their own answers.
Transition to Leadership is a development programme aimed at enhancing your leadership skills and enabling you to become an authentic leader. Learn more about the programme in the following video: