Leadership Development

From manager to executive: Transformative leadership development programs

Here are five examples of leadership development programs offered by leading educational institutions.

Nikola Sekulic

Published on 

March 14, 2023

Updated on 

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Leadership development programs are focused, often short-term educational opportunities that aim to enhance participants’ management and leadership capabilities in the workplace. The goal of these courses is to assist individuals in recognizing their senior management potential, showing them how to effectively handle workplace challenges.

Development programs with a focus on leadership can greatly benefit companies. Every company needs senior managers who are able to lead by example and foster a proactive and productive working environment among their teams. That is why leadership training programs are the perfect chance for them to acquire valuable management skills, as well as adopt positive leadership traits.

Are you looking to create an internal leadership training program for your employees? Or maybe you need recommendations regarding which courses might benefit them? This article dives into the benefits of such programs and provides a selection of excellent existing ones, too.

Benefits of leadership development programs

Implementing or investing in a leadership development program not only achieves its specific goal, but also has multiple additional benefits for companies who choose to invest in one for their team leaders.

A leadership development program — or the willingness to pay for one — is an attractive feature for companies seeking to recruit new talent. Along with a successful internal mentorship program powered by mentoring software like Together, it can be an effective tool for strengthening an organization inside-out. 

Moreover, professional development opportunities are appealing for top-level candidates, because they tell them that the company wants to invest in its future leaders. In this sense, leadership development programs improve retention as employees feel they are continuously learning and have opportunities to apply their knowledge within the company.

Leadership training programs normally include some kind of segment on mastering strategic execution, and it is highly recommended that this is included in any leadership development plan (template) you may devise for internal purposes. Learning about strategic execution results in more capable workers and team members skilled in influencing others and leading by example.

Leaders-to-be will learn to turn goals into actionable tasks and mobilize workers across teams to achieve results. A well-designed program can also foster connections throughout the organization, allowing for better responses to unexpected events.

Finally, for organizations facing industry shifts, investing in leadership skills is a wise choice. Even if there are no expected changes, leaders must be able to navigate new territories while maintaining authority and morale.

Let’s look at 5 leadership development programs at leading universities and schools.

Global Executive Leadership Program, Yale University

© Yale School of Management

The Global Executive Leadership program at the Yale School of Management provides an immersive learning experience through three intensive classroom modules and monthly video conference meetings. The program focuses on the development of leadership skills, with a curriculum divided into three pillars: Leadership in Business and Society, Global Perspectives, and Executive Toolkit. 

Program participants engage with faculty and peers to discuss current research and case studies, receive guidance from the Yale network, and build a lifelong network of peers committed to leadership excellence.

The Global Executive Leadership program covers a variety of topics, including creating and maximizing value for organizations, balancing growth and oversight, utilizing a global perspective, understanding consumer behavior, developing a personal vision, and more. 

Participants gain access to executive coaching sessions and obtain International Affiliate status upon program completion, providing further access to resources for lifelong learning and professional growth.

The program is designed to educate leaders for business and society, elevating the capacity to drive organizational success while considering the interests of all stakeholders. Topics covered include leadership styles and motivation, high-performing teams, resource planning, corporate financial management, corporate governance, board management, gender discrimination in the workplace, and sustainability concepts for business leadership.

The Global Executive Leadership program is ten months in length and the fee is $60,000.

High Performance Leadership, University of Oxford

© University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

The High Performance Leadership program at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford is designed to prepare leaders for navigating a complex and uncertain business environment. The program aims to help participants connect their personal leadership styles to organizational challenges as successful senior managers, leading to heightened self-awareness and an improved impact with new leadership strategies and techniques.

The High Performance Leadership program is themed over five days with topics including building self-insight, enabling high performance through others, crucial conversations and solutions, strategic choices in leadership, and extending leadership impact. An executive coach supports participants in contextualizing their learning and developing an action plan to implement in their organizations.

This leadership development program is ideal for business leaders such as directors, heads of functions, and senior managers with leadership experience, who are undergoing a career transition or facing change in their organization. Participants normally come from diverse businesses around the world in the public, private, and other kinds of sectors.

The High Performance Leadership program also provides lifetime membership to the Oxford Business Alumni Network. The course takes place in Oxford and the cost is £10,200. 

High-Impact Leadership, Berkeley Executive Education

© BerkeleyExecEd

The philosophy behind Berkeley Executive Education’s High-Impact Leadership program is that leadership starts with being able to tell engaging stories and connecting with your audience. The program offers each participant the chance to refine and showcase their personal leadership style and voice with top-notch theater techniques, role-playing, and personal coaching.

This program places a great emphasis on communication skills. It aims to develop each participant’s ability to deliver inspiring speeches by mastering storytelling techniques and using theater techniques to effectively express their voice, body language, imagination, and energy. 

The above goes hand-in-hand with learning how to connect with audiences (or teams) through storytelling. The course teaches leaders how to use data-driven storytelling to influence their listeners, make a lasting impact, and boost the performance of their team, department, or organization.

The High-Impact Leadership program forces participants to step outside of their comfort zone and identify areas for improvement, establish a commanding leadership presence, and enhance other soft skills such as quick thinking and spontaneity. 

With such a strong focus on communication as a crucial leadership skill and soft skill, the course goes over giving and receiving constructive feedback, fostering community through active communication, and engaging in productive interpersonal exchanges.

The in-person development program goes for $5,545 while the online version is priced at 

$4,250 at the time of writing.

Women in Leadership, London Business School

© London Business School

The Women in Leadership program at London Business School is a world-renowned leadership development program designed specifically for women looking to enhance their leadership skills and make a positive impact in their organizations and communities. The program provides a unique opportunity to learn from and network with fellow women leaders from around the world.

The Women in Leadership program is aimed at female executives, i.e., women with at least ten years of management experience. This program works closely with each participant and the sponsor from their organization to help them achieve their next career move; it is specifically tailored for women who are at a significant turning point in their careers and aspire to positions of greater influence and authority.

The program consists of a unique blend of virtual and classroom learning, offering participants the chance to learn new leadership approaches and navigate changes in the workplace in a flexible modality. In addition to gaining new insights and knowledge, participants will also have the opportunity to network together with leading female managers from different professional and cultural backgrounds. 

By providing direct support to you and your work, you will gain experience in using different tools which can benefit you in your management career. It would become easier for you to adapt to new organization tools, board management software, communication channels, and other useful apps you will use as a successful manager.

To be eligible to participate in the Women in Leadership program, apart from having at least ten years of management experience, participants must be two or three levels from C-suite positions in their current role. This is the perfect development program for women in executive and functional management positions who are looking to make a leadership transition and advance their careers.

The fee for the program is £10,500.

Transformational Leader, IMD School of Business

© The International Institute for Management Development

The IMD Transformational Leader program is described as a personal growth journey that helps individuals unlock their full leadership potential. The program is designed to be experiential, allowing participants to test and hone their leadership skills through immersive tools and challenging simulations. 

In this development program, in order to become a transformational leader, it is important to embrace the idea of reflection and self-awareness — in addition to taking action. The program is divided into three stages: Mindful, Resilient, and Adaptive, which are aimed at increasing awareness, resilience, and adaptability, respectively. 

In the Mindful stage, participants learn how to be present in each moment and remove limitations that are created by habits and routines. The Resilient stage focuses on exercising leadership in complex contexts, and the Adaptive stage teaches the skills necessary to drive organizational change.

This unique program is designed for experienced managers who want to grow their current leadership potential and successfully lead change. The class size is kept small, with a carefully selected group of diverse peers, so that participants can each have an impactful experience and build a trusted network.

The Transformational Leader program is delivered virtually, with three modules that last from four to eight weeks each. The total cost of the program is CHF 15,900. 

Final thoughts

Leadership development programs are crucial for the growth and development of senior managers and high-potential employees. 

The result is a senior leadership team composed of confident, motivated leaders who have the ability to access and use organizational resources effectively while setting and pursuing their goals for the benefit of the whole organization.

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