By Roger Haywood, CEO Issues Analysis and past Chairman Chartered Institute of Marketing
The real value of this intensive one-day leadership course is that it takes as its starting point that leadership is not simply a natural quality like having a musical ear, a perfect balance or an eye for a moving ball. Leadership is a discipline; it consists of principles that are fundamental, skills that can be learnt and processes that can be applied to achieve success.
The central theme is continuously reinforced with such concepts as: ‘the leader’s job is to make heroes not be one’ – ‘rely on persuasion not power’ – ‘say and do the same thing’ – ‘leadership is about leading attitudes’ – ‘make others feel capable, confident and strong’ – ‘there is an ‘I’ in team’ – ‘spend freely with your soft currency’ – all of which stirred the blood and inspired us to become better leaders.
The course, as one would expect from LDL, is not only hard headed and insightful but extremely carefully constructed so that participants are taken step by step through a logical approach. At every point, there are practical lessons to be learned and advice on how to apply the principles involved. Leadership, teambuilding, change management and coaching are all explored.
Robin Fielder illustrates every point with an example, sometimes from recognised business leaders, sometimes from his own experience, sometimes from the broader business world – but every anecdote, quote or case history is presented with humour and relevance.
The emphasis throughout is that this is a seminar designed to make you work more effectively immediately you return to work. Though there were glimpses of thorough homework based on proven academic and theoretical approaches, the delivery was totally pragmatic and appropriate to directors and managers with all degrees of experience. As I looked across the room, it became very clear that every other delegate was as concentrated on the subject and as engrossed as I was, each making copious notes as the day unfolded.
Robin is a seasoned pro who knows how to keep up the pace with just that edge of tension to ensure we are all focused on the objectives. He varies the style and type of approach constantly. For example, in short break out sessions, the packed room hummed as all delegates engaged in an impassioned debate with their neighbours. The seminar reinforces the view of most delegates that the course leader has earned his position as a European leader in executive education and development.
The day raced by. Robin not only explained how the leadership principles must be applied but showed us how to deal with every situation with confidence, style and empathy. Power and authority are out, mutual respect, consensus and acceptance are in. The single most crucial point for my money was the simple fact that personal objectives (your own and your colleagues) have to be closely aligned with the corporate or department objectives. Robin did not just tell us but showed us precisely how to make this happen.
The value in the day was so high that not only am I planning to send some of my own team but I plan to attend again myself. You can never have too much reinforcement of sound wisdom, brilliantly presented.
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