New programme will help companies add more to their management structure
‘The Leadership Edge’ has been launched by the Wharton School’s Aresty Institute. The programme was specifically designed to assist executives who have to make the transition into management positions. The staff who will present the new course are all currently teaching on the MBA programme at the San Francisco campus.
Nancy Rothbard, Faculty Director of The Leadership Edge and Management Professor at Wharton, said that one of the most important moments in a career is when the transition has to be made to leadership. She continued: “Executives who have already succeeded as high-level individual contributors need new skills to move into management.”
Many of them learn “on the fly” she says, but it is of course preferable to start off with the most effective techniques and tools. Trying to undo bad practices later on takes a great deal of time and diminishes your impact as a leader.
The director of the Graduate Leadership Programme at Wharton, Jeff Klein, concurs. He says that Wharton’s new programme will assist executives to broaden their skills and improve their expertise to include running a company. Wharton will work on the key organisational and personal skills to assist students to make the transition.
The Wharton School is an initiative of the University of Pennsylvania, which was founded 131 years ago. At the time, it was the first collegiate business school in the US. It is recognised globally as a leader in the fields of ongoing innovation and intellectual leadership.
The Leadership Edge involves group discussions, lectures, assessments, projects, experiential learning and networking to ensure that students acquire and are able to apply new skills and concepts.
According to Klein, Wharton’s leadership programme stands on three pillars; entering a leadership community, becoming a student of leadership and looking for and accepting ‘stretch’ experiences. The emphasis in the programme is on the third pillar. He says it was critical for novice managers to become involved in experiences where they can test the concepts they have been learning. Only then it will become a reality to them.
The Wharton programme is presented by outstanding members of the university’s faculty; all professors who teach at their renowned MBA programme. They include experts such as Ethan Mollick, who is a cutting-edge researcher on innovation and entrepreneurship and Sigal Barsade, an authority on emotional intelligence.
Todd Henshaw, the former director of military leadership at the US West Point Military Academy and John Kanengieter, who trained space shuttle crews at NASA have also joined the programme as lecturers.
Those who become students at The Leadership Edge will acquire skills on how to lead others, use emotional intelligence, how to improve conflict management abilities, how to set up and lead high-performance teams, how to properly communicate your strategy to others and how to manage growth.
The emphasis throughout, is on ‘actionable knowledge’, that which can be applied in real life situations.
As Professor Rothbard so eloquently puts it: “We’re preparing new leaders to step back into their roles on Monday morning knowing exactly what they’re going to do different and better.”