Universiteit Leiden

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Unlock your leadership potential with the Leiden Leadership Programme

In the orientation seminar of the Leiden Leadership Programme lecturers and alumni shared their experiences and prospective students asked questions. They learned that they, too, can show leadership. ‘The LLP will give you the opportunity to reflect on who you are.’

During the Leiden Leadership Programme (LLP), students are supported in discovering that they can be a leader. Sandra Groeneveld, Professor of Public Management and LLP lecturer: “In university education, we teach our students all about specific subjects. But we don’t help them enough to unlock their potential as a leader and realize change in their environments. That is why I am so grateful to be part of the LLP.”

The four elements

The LLP consists of four elements: essentials, labs, electives and skills trainings. The essentials provide students with the essential building blocks to understand leadership. Seminars by academics are interspersed with lectures by practitioners who talk about their own leadership experiences.

Chaya Berger (Public Administration) completed the LLP last year. “My favourite lecture was from Lieutenant-General Boekholt-O’Sullivan. She was very clear about her ‘why’. She literally has a compass on her desk to remind her of following her moral compass as a military leader.”

Labs as ‘home-base’

“If the essentials are the shared core of the programme, the labs are your home-base,” says Groeneveld. “You meet fellow students and work on a practical assignment with an external company, to apply what you’ve learned.”

Although the main goal here is learning about your own leadership, the end product can be incredibly useful for the organisation in question. Chaya: “Just the other week, I got an e-mail from our supervisor at the KPN Academy, who we worked with. We developed a Personal Development Plan for individual employees. He told me they really made it a part of their education programme!”

The electives are smaller, seminar-based courses which enable students to gain specialized knowledge about two out of six specific leadership themes, such as inclusive or public leadership. The skills trainings are related to these themes. For example, in public leadership, training is provided on decision-making under pressure through a crisis simulation.

Alumna Chaya leerde bij het LLP echt impact maken

Sample lecture

During a mini-lecture, Ben Kuipers, professor of Public Leadership, illustrated that enabling change is not as straight-forward as it may seem. After handing out A4 sheets of blank paper, he gave five specific instructions on how to fold and tear the piece of paper. No two students in the room came up with the same end result.

Although we may want to move in a straight line from starting point A to goal B, leadership will always have to deal with different interpretations. Kuipers: “If we communicate properly, we may not end up with the initial goal, but nonetheless with a new goal that we can all agree upon. Whether that’s goal B, C, D or even E!”

'I believe that leadership can bridge my studies'

First impressions

The programme certainly sparked the interest of Sara Scavizzi (23, Political Science): “I have a background in environmental science and am now studying political science, so I was really looking for something that could bridge these two fields. I believe that leadership could be that bridge. We’re not really being educated about being people in positions of power. I think that, whether you are naturally good at leading or not, that potential can be developed through a programme like the LLP.”

The orientation seminar gave Heya Al Kadimy (22, Tax Law) some food for thought. “It made me think about what I want in the future. I think the LLP will give you the opportunity to really take time and reflect on who you are and who you want to be.”

Text: Merijn Mulder
Photos: Buro JP

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