How to Explore Your Next Career Move with Senior Leadership Programs
No matter their new position or where they are on their leadership journey, there is always room for improvement for senior leaders.
If you are a leader ready to move up in your career and looking for a senior leadership program, we’ve laid out your next move!
Leaders who are ready to move up
As leaders move up to more senior management positions, they must be able to see the whole system of an organization to be effective.
How does one help high-performing executives stay aware of their blind spots? How does one ensure leaders at this level think strategically, balance competing priorities, and see the whole field?
Leaders rely heavily on a mix of intuition and disciplined analysis in their decision-making and incorporate their actions on a problem into their diagnosis of it.
What if there was a way that helped leaders achieve their goals of moving up more quickly?
Those in senior leadership and management positions can further develop the same senior leadership skills, management positions and leadership skills that they already possess and in addition, learn new senior leadership skills, management positions and leadership skills by enrolling in a senior leadership program.
What can you expect from a senior leadership program?
To get the most out of a senior leadership program, leaders should put what they learn into practice and receive feedback as they further develop their leadership skills.
Programs that emphasize rigorous practice and offer rich feedback opportunities are the best for senior executives.
Do you need to attend Harvard Business School to succeed in business?
In case you are wondering, the answer is no! Attending Harvard, Columbia Business School, or any other full-time business school is not necessary to succeed in business.
Success in business is determined by a combination of factors, including skills, experience, hard work, and networking, which can be developed through various means, such as practical experience, mentorship, online courses, or other educational programs.
Who will you meet in a senior leadership program?
In a senior leadership program, you can expect to meet a diverse group of professionals from various industries and backgrounds.
This may include senior executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders from both the private and public sectors.
Participants may come from different regions, cultures, and industries, providing a unique opportunity to learn from a diverse range of perspectives.
As a result, you can expect to build a strong network of peers and industry contacts, which can be invaluable in your professional development and career advancement.
The impact a senior leadership program has on organizations
Participating in a senior leadership program can have a significant impact on organizations.
A senior leader can bring back new skills, knowledge, and perspectives to their organization, which can lead to improved performance, increased innovation, and greater efficiency.
In addition, senior leadership programs often involve project work, which can be focused on addressing real-world challenges facing the organization. This can result in tangible benefits such as improved processes, cost savings, and increased revenue.
Senior leadership programs help top managers and organizations to build a strong pipeline of future leaders and managers and foster a culture of continuous learning and development.
It’s a growth strategy and helps secure the future of an organization!
What senior managers think about change management skills
Not every senior leader, manager, and all senior executive is aware of their impact on the entire organization. Senior leaders manage a variety of people and come from different backgrounds, bringing culture, knowledge and new ideas to the table.
Top leaders want to deep dive and seize an opportunity for a learning experience shared with other top managers.
How to make other managers successful
As a leader, new-found skills from a senior leadership program or cohort will trickle down to other managers and team leaders in their organization. When leaders learn to lead better, everyone wins!
Tips for senior leadership
Our best tip? Improve upon your senior leadership knowledge by immersing yourself in a deep-learning program.
Put your leadership capabilities into practice. Practice what you are learning to attain competency.
Do this with
- skill drills
- peer coaching
- team coaching
- ongoing group work
- professional one-on-one coaching
- and more.
How to overcome complex challenges in business
Most senior executives and even some c-suite executives experience complex challenges at one time or another. To overcome business challenges, it’s important to start by understanding the problem and its root causes. This may involve gathering information, analyzing data, and seeking input from relevant stakeholders, teams and managers.
Once a clear understanding of the challenge has been found, it’s time to develop a strategic plan, leverage resources and expertise, and implement solutions that address the problem at its core. Throughout the process, it’s important to stay agile, remain open to feedback, and adjust your approach as needed to ensure long-term success.
Problem management and conflict
Conflict is a fact of life. Senior executives who see conflict as a source of energy for their team rather than bad news, win. Resolving conflict should be a skill in the wheelhouse of any good leader, yet even some of the most senior leaders shrink back from conflict and don’t know how to resolve the issues at hand.
Plan for the unexpected (crisis leadership) – it’s one of the most important senior manager skills
Bye-bye 2020! How did you fare during the pandemic and ensuing crisis? How were your leadership skills tested? Did executive leadership at your organization have a strategic plan to put into action during times of conflict, or were you left standing without a plan, and without support?
During times of conflict, organizations can either seize opportunities to rise or let down their entire team and organization. Being prepared now for the next crisis could be as straightforward as signing up for a Senior Leadership Program!
Study and improve your organizational communication
We all communicate. Some do it better than others. An organization’s success is directly tied to the critical skill of communication.
Communication makes a big difference in how much success your teams, your managers, your leaders, and every single business unit in your organization has. If everyone works in silos, your organization is doomed.
The work of businesses, government offices, and many kinds of human activities are not done individually but by teams. Without effective communication, your entire team breaks up.
Become great at asking questions (and listening)
Those already in a senior leadership role at their organization, understand the importance of drawing on self-reflection, and clear objectives to ask the right questions to get the right answers.
Listening is a critical skill, that can make or break a senior leader and their teams. Listening is argumentatively the most important senior leadership skill to improve on as communication provides the c-suite with the ability to learn from their teams.
Improving communication skills
TeamCatapult uses and teaches David Kantor’s Four Player Model of communication in its workshops. This model is the basis for all effective dialogue.
We use this communication model to teach Structural Dynamics to team leaders, agile coaches general managers, facilitators, and executive leaders.
David Kantor’s four-player model
According to this model, all conversations between individuals can be coded into one of four actions:
- Move: A move initiates an idea, action or direction in communication for getting the conversation started. You can think of this as setting the flow of the conversation in a particular direction.
- Follow: A follow continues the direction (or flow) of the conversation, and in doing so, it supports a move. A follow does not always mean agreement; sometimes it can further inquire about a move.
- Oppose: An oppose challenges or disagrees with the idea, action or course of the discussion. It pushes back, corrects and/or offers an alternative perspective.
- Bystand: A bystand notices what’s happening and articulates that awareness (without moral judgment). It adds a neutral perspective for the good of the team, plus it helps the team see what’s happening and how they’re operating. You can also bystand yourself by telling the team how you’re feeling, what you’re curious about, or something else you see in yourself.
The ability to have effective dialogue
In order to be in an effective dialogue, all four actions of the Four-Player Model must be present and active, meaning that someone is actively bringing those actions into the conversation.
What happens in person, when conversations become ineffective is that there is often one or more actions that are missing from the conversation.
Develop your emotional intelligence (EQ)
Developing your emotional intelligence (EQ) can improve your communication skills, help you navigate complex social situations, and increase your ability to empathize with others.
By understanding and managing your own emotions, you can build better relationships with colleagues, friends, and family, leading to greater personal and professional success.
Communication and presentation skills
A senior manager should have good interpersonal skills.
In a company that has a strong management system, persuasiveness is key and should be embodied throughout communications.
If you need to develop better communication skills, take classes in communication or join a leadership program!
Key senior leadership skills that leaders need to succeed
Senior leadership skills that leaders and managers need for success can include the following business skills:
- Communication skills
- Adapting to Change
- Conflict Resolution
Self-awareness as a leadership skill
Self-awareness is a critical leadership skill that involves understanding your own strengths, weaknesses, and biases. By cultivating self-awareness, leaders can better understand their impact on others, make more informed decisions, and communicate effectively with their team members.
Self-reflection as a leadership skill
How often do you examine your own thoughts, behaviors, and actions? By practicing this skill, leaders can identify areas for improvement, learn from past experiences, and make more informed decisions that benefit both themselves and their teams.
The best leaders self-assess
The best leaders are those who are willing to take a critical look at their own performance and team strategy. By regularly assessing their own strengths and weaknesses, senior leaders can identify areas for improvement, set goals, and continuously develop their skills and a new strategy to better serve their team and organization.
Communication skills are a leadership strategy
Communication skills are crucial leadership skills. All managers, leaders, new leaders, and senior leaders, need to communicate their vision, goals, and expectations effectively to their team members.
Effective communication involves actively listening to others, providing feedback, and adapting your communication style to different audiences.
Good communication can help to build trust, strengthen relationships, and improve collaboration within the team.
Ultimately, strong communication skills enable managers and leaders to inspire and motivate their team members to achieve their full potential and work towards shared goals.
Leaders who are missing a clear communication strategy would do well to seek out additional training to gain this skillset.
Why senior leadership needs to adapt to change
Adapting to change is an essential skill for leaders as change is a constant in today’s dynamic and fast-paced business environment.
Leaders who are flexible and adaptable can respond quickly to new challenges, identify opportunities, and adjust their strategies accordingly.
Adapting to change involves being open to new ideas and perspectives, as well as being willing to take calculated risks to drive innovation and growth.
Competent leaders and managers recognize the importance of adaptability and create a culture that encourages experimentation, learning, and continuous improvement.
Great leaders are curious leaders
Great leaders are curious leaders who have the desire to learn and explore new ideas. They ask questions, seek out different perspectives, and actively seek feedback to continuously improve themselves and their team.
Curiosity helps leaders identify opportunities, solve problems, and make more informed decisions.
Curiosity fosters a culture of learning and growth within the team, inspiring team members to take initiative, share ideas, and continuously improve their skills.
Why leaders need conflict resolution skills
Leaders need conflict resolution skills to effectively manage disagreements or conflicts within their team or organization. Conflict resolution skills are senior leadership skills!
Effective conflict resolution can help to build stronger relationships, improve collaboration, and enhance productivity, whereas poor conflict resolution can lead to tension, reduced morale, and negative outcomes for the organization.
3 ways to gain key senior leadership skills
- Seek out opportunities for leadership development, such as training programs, executive coaching, and mentorship.
- Look for challenging assignments that allow you to take on responsibilities and develop your skills. This may involve taking on a leadership role in a project or initiative or volunteering for a cross-functional team.
- Build relationships with senior leaders in your organization and seek their guidance and feedback. This can help you gain insights into the skills and attributes that are most valued in leadership roles, and provide opportunities for networking and career advancement.
Where to look for opportunities for leadership development
There are several places to look for opportunities for senior leadership development. They include the following:
- Your employer: Many organizations offer leadership development programs, such as training courses, coaching, cohorts, and mentoring.
- Professional associations: Industry-specific associations often offer leadership development opportunities, such as conferences, workshops, and networking events.
- Online courses and programs: There are many online courses and programs that focus on leadership development, and many are available for free or at a low cost.
- Volunteer work: Volunteering for leadership roles in community organizations, charities, or other non-profits can provide valuable experience and skills.
- Personal development: Reading books, attending webinars, or listening to podcasts on leadership can help you develop your skills and knowledge on your own time.
Where to look for challenging assignments as senior leaders
There are several places to look for challenging assignments that allow you to take on new responsibilities and develop skills and your skills, for senior leaders general managers, and senior executives:
- Within your current job: Look for projects or initiatives that require you to step outside of your comfort zone, take on more responsibilities, or work with different teams or departments.
- Cross-functional teams: Volunteer to join a cross-functional team or task force within your organization to work on a project or initiative that involves different departments or functions.
- Professional organizations: Participate in professional organizations related to your field of work and seek out opportunities to take on leadership roles or participate in projects.
- Volunteer work: Volunteer for leadership roles in community organizations, charities, or other non-profits where you can take on challenging responsibilities and develop your skills.
- New job opportunities: Consider looking for new job opportunities that offer opportunities for growth, learning, and development.
How to build relationships with senior leaders
Building relationships with fellow senior leaders looks like this:
- Seek out opportunities to work with them: Volunteer for projects or initiatives where you can work directly with senior leaders in your organization.
- Attend networking events: Attend networking events, conferences, or other professional development opportunities where you can meet and connect with senior leaders.
- Seek mentorship: Ask a senior leader to be your mentor or seek out a formal mentorship program within your organization.
- Ask for feedback: Ask senior leaders for feedback on your work, seek their advice on career development, and take their feedback into consideration.
- Be proactive: Take the initiative to introduce yourself to senior leaders, reach out to them for a meeting or coffee, and stay in touch by sharing updates on your work and accomplishments.
- Show your value: Demonstrate your value by consistently delivering high-quality work, taking on new responsibilities, and being a team player. Senior leaders are more likely to take notice of those who consistently perform well and add value to the organization.
The best way to build relationships with fellow senior leaders
We have found that being part of a long-term cohort, a learning journey, is by far the best way to build relationships with fellow senior leaders.
Our cohorts last 8-9 months and include weekly group calls, 5-day remote residential, a capstone project, individual professional team leadership coaching, reading and journaling, and last but not least, small group calls.
Combining all of these ways to interact and build relationships with senior leaders is the best way to grow your own senior leadership skills too.
Strategic thinking, acting, and influencing
Strategic planning – and thinking, acting, and influencing – are essential qualities that senior leaders must possess to drive their organizations toward success.
Senior leaders with strong strategic thinking skills can anticipate changes in the market and develop long-term plans to ensure that their organization is well-positioned to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
Team inspiration is directly tied to successful leaders
Senior leaders who are effective actors can inspire their teams and bring their vision to life by aligning their resources with their strategy.
Senior leaders who can influence others can gain buy-in and support for their initiatives, which can help drive the success of the organization.
Those leaders who excel in strategic thinking, acting, and influencing other behaviors are better positioned to lead their organizations to succeed in today’s rapidly changing business environment.
For the experienced leader, the use of new skills can be critical for success as well.
Understanding their experience is important to them even if they are expanding their roles. For some veteran managers, it becomes a standard routine.
But the idea of trying and assuming that one can achieve anything is dangerous. It is sometimes challenging when an executive is able to change direction. Being a flexible learner remains a vital leadership skill for all levels.
Embrace that people leave managers, not companies
The saying “people don’t leave companies, they leave managers” is so true. it also highlights the importance of strong leadership and management in employee engagement and retaining employees.
While you as a company and managers may offer great benefits and opportunities, a bad manager can create a toxic work environment that causes employees to seek employment elsewhere.
Companies should prioritize investing in leadership development and ensuring that managers and senior executives themselves are trained to create positive and supportive work environments.
Hone intellectual skills
What leader doesn’t want to hone their intellectual skills? It will enhance your ability to think critically, solve problems, and make sound decisions.
By engaging in activities that challenge your mind, such as reading, learning new skills, and participating in debates or discussions, you can strengthen your cognitive abilities and improve your overall cognitive function.
A well-established Leadership Program does all of this, and more!
A strategy to help new leaders succeed
If you are a growing and expanding organization with new leaders, encouraging them to enroll in an in-person program should be high on your list.
Allowing new leaders to participate in an in-person learning experience is a great way to ease anyone into their new roles as senior leaders and executives.
In-person programs bring together a group of other senior executives and leaders raising awareness as to what skills are needed to succeed in business and in as a senior leader and executive. It’s a solid strategy for creating new leaders among your managers and team leaders.
Seek regular feedback from your team
Seeking regular feedback from your team can help you identify areas for improvement, build trust and transparency, and promote a culture of open communication within your organization.
Actively listening to your team’s feedback should play a key part in your organization’s success formula.
Take action on your managers’ and teams’ suggestions and create a more productive and engaged team that feels valued and supported.
Create a great culture with the example you set every day
Creating a great culture starts with the example you as a senior leader set every day. As leaders or team members, your actions and behavior can have a significant impact on the overall culture of your organization.
Modeling the values and behaviors you want to see in others, inspires and motivates those around you to do the same.
Overall organizational behavior is paramount. As a senior leader, create a positive and productive culture that fosters collaboration, creativity, and growth.
Avoid the pitfalls that create toxic work cultures
Toxic work cultures can be detrimental to employees, senior leaders, and the organization as a whole.
To avoid these pitfalls, it’s essential to foster a positive and respectful work environment. This can involve setting clear expectations for behavior, addressing conflicts and issues promptly, and promoting open communication and feedback.
Prioritize the well-being and satisfaction of employees, and organizations and create a culture that supports productivity, employee engagement, and overall success.
Preparing senior leaders to deal with challenges
Preparing senior leaders to tackle challenges to help their teams succeed is a critical task for organizations that want to remain competitive and agile in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.
As organizations face increasing challenges, it is crucial to equip senior leaders with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate these challenges effectively.
What do senior leaders need to succeed?
Senior leaders need a combination of skills, experience, and personal attributes to succeed in their senior leadership roles now. If they do not have refined these skills, or find them lacking while leading, it is good leaders’ time to hone these skills.
Strong communication and interpersonal skills, the ability to manage and lead teams effectively, strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities, and a deep understanding of their industry and organization are all skills senior leaders use on a daily basis.
Senior leaders must possess qualities such as integrity, resilience, and adaptability, which enable them to navigate complex challenges and make sound decisions in the face of uncertainty.
Continuous learning and development are crucial for senior leaders to stay ahead of the curve and drive meaningful impact in their organizations.
Help your new leaders achieve success
Where does the responsibility for helping leaders be successful lay?
A fresh start with a new company team means onboarding new managers and leaders within your team. Why not set them up for success?
Leaders are successful with an investment of time, and perseverance – as an organizational leader, be the voice in the crowd prepared to support them.
What do leaders learn in a leadership course?
Leaders can learn a wide range of skills and practices that are essential for effective leadership in a leadership course or Executive Leadership Program.
These can include communication and interpersonal skills, conflict resolution, strategic thinking and decision-making, emotional intelligence, and change management.
‘Leaders may also learn how to build and lead high-performing teams, develop and implement successful business strategies, and drive innovation and growth in their organizations.
Leadership courses often emphasize the importance of self-awareness and continuous learning, encouraging leaders to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses and to seek out new opportunities for growth and development.
A senior leadership program is an investment in leadership
Providing senior leaders with targeted training programs, mentorship opportunities, and exposure to real-world challenges through simulations and other experiential learning opportunities in an investment in leadership and business growth strategy.
By investing in the development of senior leaders and in their c-suite executives and upper management themselves, organizations can ensure that they have the necessary leadership skills and knowledge to tackle challenges and drive the success of their business units within the organization.
How to best choose a senior leadership program
When choosing a senior leadership program, it’s important to consider your personal and professional goals.
If you’re seeking to develop your senior leadership skills, look for programs that specifically focus on these areas.
Similarly, if you’re looking to build self-awareness, search for programs that offer assessments or coaching in this area.
It’s also important to consider the program’s fit with your business unit or industry, as some programs may be more relevant than others.
Finally, consider the program’s delivery method and content, as different programs may cater to managers in different ways.
Ultimately, the best executive leadership program for you will depend on your specific needs and goals, so take the time to research and compare options before making a decision.
What not to do when choosing a senior leadership program
When choosing a senior leadership program, it is important to avoid some common pitfalls that can hinder your success.
One of the most significant mistakes is to choose a program solely based on its reputation or brand name, without considering whether it aligns with your personal and professional goals.
Furthermore, it is crucial to avoid programs that do not provide a clear and structured curriculum, lacks experienced faculty, or have a poor track record of outcomes.
Finally, it is important to avoid programs that do not provide opportunities for networking and collaboration, as these can be crucial for building relationships and learning from other professionals in your field.
Is a senior leadership program worth the investment?
Participating in an executive leadership program can be a worthwhile investment for professionals seeking to develop their leadership skills and for the organization and business unit they work for!
These programs can provide participants with valuable knowledge and insights into specific tasks or industries, as well as opportunities to build self-awareness and senior leadership skills.
Executive leadership programs can offer benefits to entire business units or organizations, by developing a pipeline of strong leaders and fostering a culture of continuous learning and development.
The value of an executive leadership program may vary for different individuals and organizations, depending on their specific needs and goals.
Managers and professionals considering an executive leadership program should carefully weigh the potential benefits against the cost and time commitment involved.
Leading in High Stakes: Senior Leader Edition
Senior leadership programs are a powerful tool for professionals looking to take their leadership skills to the next level.
With their focus on developing self-awareness, senior leadership skills, and adaptability to change, these programs can help individuals become more effective and successful leaders.
One such program that embodies these qualities is “Leading in High Stakes” by TeamCatapult, which provides a unique 4- month journey.
The format prioritizes:
- Learning through peer collaboration and shared experiences
- Keeping it real – with real-life challenges from your work
- Creating a trusted, confidential, and authentic learning environment
- Hearing diverse perspectives and thinking
- Creating a cadence that balances space for selfreflection, learning, and taking action
The environment we will create together results in:
- Increased accountability
- New insights
- Applied learning opportunities.
- Strengthened peer relationships.
Curious? We invite you to learn more.