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Develop your management skills with the Leadership Courses

Working together, taking responsibility, making connections or pushing boundaries: all competences that are essential for leadership. With HRM Learning & Development's range of training courses, you can grow these competences and develop into a manager. Two colleagues talk about their experiences.

When Eva van der Kruk (head of department in the LIACS education office) first became a manager at the university, she wanted a bit more guidance for her new position. 'That’s why I chose the Leiden from the Middle course in which you look at your position in the organisation and learn what kind of players you may have to deal with.

Leadership was also new for Pim Overgaauw (Institute Manager of the Mathematics Institute). 'In the  Leadership with Impact course, I was particularly keen to learn how the university views certain things and what it considers important. This course is a good match for that.

The four leadership competences are visualised in a circle. Every competence has its own color. Connecting is green. Working together is orange. Taking responsibility is blue. Pushing boundaries is purple.
The four leadership competences: connecting, working together, taking responsibility and pushing boundaries.

Leadership skills

In both training courses, the most important leadership skills that are developed are cooperation, taking responsibility, making connections and pushing boundaries. For both Overgaauw and Van der Kruk, it is the skills of working together and making connections that are particularly important for their own leadership. Overgaauw: 'I think it’s important to position people and give them the help they need so they can do their work well. The role of a manager is to remove obstacles for those who do the real work.' Van der Kruk: 'And also help people find their own way in their work. As a manager, you have to create good conditions so that people are able to tackle things themselves.'

Differences between the courses

There are also differences between the two courses. For instance, 'Leading from the Middle' is aimed more at employees who hold a key position in middle management at Leiden University and giving advice has a central place. Van der Kruk: 'You learn, for example, how to conduct certain conversations and in what ways you can confront people with their behaviour. You also work out an advisory assignment in a group, which includes analysing what is behind the question and identifying possible problems.'

'You have different interests when managing yourself from when you manage other people, a team or an organisation. During the course, you actively reflect on this.'

'Leadership with Impact', a training course aimed at employees in management roles, focuses, among other things, on the different types of roles you can take and the potential areas of conflict between them. Overgaauw: 'You have different interests when managing yourself from when you manage other people, a team or an organisation. During the course, you actively reflect on this and learn about the impact of all these roles. In addition, you learn about your own qualities, pitfalls and behavioural patterns.'

Learning from the training actors and from one another

Both Van der Kruk and Overgaauw learned a lot from the training courses, partly because of the various practice scenarios that are part of them. For instance, both courses allow you to practise conversation skills with training actors. Overgaauw: 'I have endless respect for those people, with how quickly they can step in and out of their roles to give you a tip and you can try again. Some of the things I practised, such as different influencing styles and how to confront people with certain behaviour, I have already been able to apply in my work.'

Van der Kruk: 'It was also very useful to look at how others in your group conduct those conversations. Even if the situations or people they talk to are different, they are still similar to those you face. Everyone also dared to be vulnerable, which made it easier to talk openly and learn from each other. I also gained a whole new network because people from all over the university are taking part in these courses.'

'I recommend them to literally anyone who wants to develop their skills.'

Valuable lessons

When asked if they would recommend the courses, Van der Kruk and Overgaauw had no hesitation at all: 'Yes, definitely.' Van der Kruk: 'I recommend them to literally anyone who wants to develop their skills. After all, you learn so much about yourself and how you function.  You can really develop yourself at these training courses.' Overgaauw: 'You also learn all kinds of things you don't just come across in a study, such as how to recognise behaviour in someone and what conversational styles to apply to break through that behaviour. I'm also convinced that this course is useful for everyone, including colleagues who have been managers for years.'

Would you also like to take one of these training courses and develop the leadership skills needed at our university? A new training course Leadership with Impact will start on 21 November. This course is also offered in English. The next Leading from the Middle course will start on 8 April 2024. For more information about registration and other questions, please contact HRM Learning and Development. (hrmopleidingen@bb.leidenuniv.nl)

Text: Sabine Waasdorp

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