Universiteit Leiden

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Enacting leadership, for and with each other

What makes a good leader, and is there such a thing as a born leader? These are questions that the master's students of the Leiden Leadership Programme (LLP) will explore this year. During the opening seminar, the new participants learn about the programme and share their expectations. 'I want to bring about change.'

The LLP offers lectures and trainings on leadership to motivated students that seek an additional challenge alongside their studies. Master's students from Leiden University, TU Delft, and Erasmus University Rotterdam can apply, making the LLP community very diverse — a perfect atmosphere for exchanging perspectives and gaining new ideas.

Societally relevant

In LLP lectures, students are prepared for the Leadership Labs, in which they apply their knowledge. In teams, they brainstorm solutions to societal challenges faced by partner organizations. For example, last year a team devised ways to increase a company's inclusivity, while another worked on climate solutions for a start-up.

The LLP provides students with ample opportunities to learn from practical experience. This is a significant advantage of the LLP, says Livia, a second-year student in Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology. 'I can use it when, for instance, I have to lead in the academic world. It's important to know how to set an example as a leader.'

‘Leadership is not just for formal leaders; everyone can do something with it’

Leadership for everyone

‘Leadership is not just for formal leaders; everyone in the room can do something with it,’ emphasises professor Ben Kuipers. In addition to learning about leadership, students also gain insight into their own leadership skills. They set personal goals and learn to reflect on their role in a group.

Participants hope to ultimately make an impact themselves. One student is surprised by the unrestricted access to the web and hopes to make an impact there: ‘It's full of content that’s not meant for all ages. I want to make the internet a safe place for children.’ Another student wants to make a difference in her own industry: ‘I notice there's still too little diversity in the film industry. I want to bring about change.’

Group dynamics

A leader who wants to make a difference cannot do it alone, as becomes evident during the seminar. Rick, a student in International Politics, is therefore especially interested in group dynamics: ‘I want to identify leadership qualities in others. That way, I can adapt my role to ensure efficient collaboration.’ Knowing yourself and others to collectively make an impact: it's a good summary of what awaits the new LLP students.

Text: Lin Kokshoorn
Photos: Eric van den Bandt

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