January 16, 2021

Student-Leader Seminar Sessions

Student-Leader Seminar will custom design and deliver a leadership session based on the needs of the client. Some of the leadership sessions that clients have requested from Student-Leader Seminar include:

1.  Leadership Theory and Practice Introductory Seminar: The Leadership Theory and Practice Seminar is the foundational element for all grades and occupations.  The seminar provides participants with common reference language and concepts.  Interactive discussions are built around the core themes of Context, Competencies, Character, Climate, and Culture.

2.  The History and Role of the Public Servant: The Federalist has been called the most important work of political science ever written in America by Americans.  Although written in the language of the 18th century, it represents the most authoritative commentary on the Constitution of the United States and, as such, serves as a primer for those sworn to uphold and defend that Constitution.  For federal employees of the Executive Branch, it is particularly important to read and understand Alexander Hamilton’s essays on the roles and responsibilities of the President and his or her executors.

3.  Managing Change:  Change management is a structured approach to shifting/transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. It is an organizational process aimed at empowering employees to accept and embrace changes in their current business environment. Successful change management is more likely to occur if the following are included:

  • Benefits management and realization to define measurable stakeholder aims, create a business case for their achievement (which should be continuously updated), and monitor assumptions, risks, dependencies, costs, return on investment, dis-benefits and cultural issues affecting the progress of the associated work.
  • Sponsors and advocates of the change are identified early to lead the change.
  • Effective Communication that informs various stakeholders of the reasons for the change (why?), the benefits of successful implementation (what is in it for us, and you) as well as the details of the change (when? where? who is involved? how much will it cost? etc.).
  • Devise an effective education, training and/or skills upgrading scheme for the organization.
  • Counter resistance from the employees of companies and align them to the overall strategic direction of the organization.
  • Monitoring of the implementation and fine-tuning as required.
  • Provide leadership coaching (if required) to alleviate any change related resistance.

4.  Leading Through Crisis:  For public servants crises€ or dangerous situations€ are those times when in or out-of-office events occur and quickly spin out of control.  Recent high visibility failings by those associated with the federal government demonstrate that no institution is immune.  How the institution, starting with the leader and his or her staff, prepares for and handles crisis situations will determine the fate of agencies and departments. Research shows there are some basic steps that can be taken to prevent unnecessary escalation.  Simple and direct response is usually called for in time of crisis.   The three step process of Assess – Decide – Act ensures that someone’s poor choices don’t become your organization’s crisis.

5.  Critical Thinking for Leaders:  What does it mean to think critically?  Many leaders and managers claim to think critically but mistake merely critiquing for robust thinking.  This seminar will introduce leaders to the best practices of critical thinking and challenge participants to look more deeply at how they think and why and give them the tools to be more productive as leaders of learning organizations.  Seminar will use case studies to bring critical thinking to life.

6.  Conflict Management:  The Conflict Management Seminar is designed to confront organizational conflict directly.  Conflict in any organization is inevitable.  Therefore, leaders must be prepared to recognize when it is present, when it is damaging, when it is fruitful, and how to best resolve and/or mitigate its impact on organizational effectiveness.  This seminar explores the most likely sources of conflict and how to lead the organization through that and develop leaders and followers in the proper approaches to conflict resolution.  This seminar involves role play to emphasize successful approaches to conflict management and resolution.

7.  Decision Making:  Leaders make decisions. It is often the defining trait of leadership. Military leaders throughout history have tried to master the concept of decision-making.  Napoleon was famous for his ability to look at a situation, take in the relevant information and make a solid intuitive decision. In the first hour, developing leaders will look closely at intuitive decision making and apply it to a leadership scenario in their workspaces.  In hour two, leaders will look at deliberate decision making, apply it to a leadership scenario from their work place and distinguish when to use intuition or deliberate planning.

8.  Leader Bases of Power and Influence:  Many leaders believe that their position description or title is all that they need to lead.  While it is very helpful to have a title which legitimizes certain leader actions, there are many other forms of power that lead to successful task accomplishment and foster better working environments.  During this seminar, leaders will examine the different bases of power and their concomitant influence tactics and look at their organizations and see where to best apply each type.

9.  Leading Teams:  Why are teams so successful as opposed to groups?  What distinguishes a high performing team from a mediocre team?  What are the characteristics of great teams?  This seminar will examine teams, team work and how to foster the team mentality in the work environment.  Leaders will apply the concepts to their own organizations and make suggestions for how to transform them from groups or organizations into high performing teams.

10.  Transactional and Transformational Leadership:  In this seminar, leaders will learn to describe the two primary components of Transactional Leadership and when Transactional Leadership is the appropriate leadership technique to use.  All too often leaders come on board knowing that their organizations are broken but quickly fall back into the status quo.  Closely aligned with the topics of Organizational Change and Overcoming Resistance as well as the Operant Approach to Motivation, leaders learn techniques to truly transform their organizations, why most such efforts fail, and make the transformation lasting and beneficial.

11.  Understanding the Ethical Challenges of Leadership:  In this seminar, leaders will discuss the challenges of ethical decision making, when principles may have to be compromised to achieve goals of the organization, and when compromising principles may be completely unacceptable. Leaders frequently face ‘Right versus Right’ dilemmas, as well as ‘least bad’ decisions – all of which have an ethical component given that the lives of others are affected.  In this seminar leaders are given tools to help distill out the ethical components of a difficult decision, as well as how to maintain one’s moral compass when making difficult decisions which may have negative fallout.

12. Political SavvyAlthough many of us find it distasteful to engage in the politics of our organization, being politically savvy is essential for not only our own personal career success but also the success of the teams we lead and the success of the organization as a whole. This session presents ethical and effective strategies and skills for navigating organizational politics in order to have increased influence and a greater impact within your organization. During this session you will identify your own political savvy skills and how to apply these skills to real-life scenarios. Utilizing the political savvy skills covered in this session you will learn how to use the power of “high-integrity” politics to achieve personal career success, maximize your team’s impact, and have greater influence within your organization. This session will help you handle conversations and actions with integrity and in a way that increases your influence, advances interests and promotes desirable outcomes for you, your team, and the organization.

13. Managing Up: We manage our bosses for a very good reason…to get the resources and information we need to do our job. Understanding your bosses’ strengths, weaknesses, vision, goals, work style, and needs can help you to achieve this. During this session you will learn how to manage your boss with integrity and political savvy. Whether you’re good friends with your boss or have trouble coexisting in the same office, managing your boss is an organizational imperative and an essential skill necessary for your success as well as the success of your boss, your team, and ultimately your organization.

14.  Leading Through Crisis: The NYSE Case Study:  The profile of business ethics has been raised considerably in recent years because of highly publicized failings by some of our most respected and admired leaders in business and government. Successful leaders of strong institutions understand that leadership exists at all levels, not necessarily constrained to the top. This seminar will examine a factual case study in which the leadership at different levels of an organization failed and the severe consequences the organization, its leaders, and team members suffered. During this seminar, leaders will examine certain competencies, including accountability, decisiveness, and problem solving. This process will empower leaders and provide organizations with vertical team cohesion, mitigate consequences, and resulting in reduced exposure to crises.

15.  Leadership and Management in Organizations: We often use the terms “leadership” and “management” as synonyms, especially in the assessment of duties and performance of mid-level supervisors through senior executives.  Examining the theoretical framework behind the complementary concepts “leadership” and “management” helps to establish a better understanding of practitioners’ work€”a conversation essential at more senior levels.

16.  Non-heroic Leadership – or Leading in a Bureaucratic Environment:  In this seminar, leaders will discuss the challenges of working effectively in larger organizations that have subtle lines of power and influence. The seminar will discuss how understanding the context and using one’s imagination can be key to obtaining the results one is seeking.  Leaders will be introduced to the concepts of ‘Leading Quietly’ (by Joe Badaracco, Ethics Chair at Harvard Business School), how playing ‘the fox’ can often be more effective than playing ‘the lion’ but how playing the bold lion is essential as a tool in one’s toolbox to influence one’s organization.  The class will discuss how effective leaders can use their imaginations and ask the right questions to avoid ‘either/or’ decisions that alienate whole segments of their organization, and find ‘both/and’ compromises that may meet most essential success criteria.

17.  Essentials of Appreciative Inquiry:  This seminar will introduce leaders to a relatively new approach to leadership which is gaining widespread support and acclaim.  It is an approach to organizational behavior and leadership which focuses on what’s right, and why, and then seeks ways of intentionally creating more of what’s right.  Similar to the new ‘strengths finder’ movement, an appreciative inquiry approach to organizational challenges can create energy which resolves many other problems and weaknesses. Leaders will be introduced to the fundamentals of Appreciative Inquiry, and challenged to consider an alternate to the standard approach to leadership which has the leader as ‘problem solver.’

18.  Approaches to Motivation:

  • Need Theories of Motivation:  This seminar introduces Maslow’s and Hertzburg’s Theories of Motivation based on follower needs.  Seminar participants will look at their own needs and the needs of followers to produce practical solutions to their needs with an eye towards improving performance and development.
  • Expectancy, Operant, and Equity Theories of Motivation:   In our capitalist society all leaders need to do is provide greater rewards and followers will perform better!  WRONG!  Research proves otherwise.  Many leaders believe that they are conducting themselves in a fair way and that all of their followers are intrinsically motivated to perform their jobs.  Successful leaders must be able to navigate the shoal waters of follower expectations and perceptions of fairness.  This seminar provides leaders with the tools to recognize follower motivation and perceptions and act such that performance is maximized.

19.  Diagnostic Profiling:    In high-pressure business and government organizations, victory is more a matter of keenly regulated psychological skills than of well-developed technical skills. Both are important, but technical capabilities alone will never cut it. Psychological skills characteristically mature with time, experience and feedback. The Student-Leader model:

  • Examines leadership strengths and less developed abilities;
  • Increases self-awareness about performance strengths and weaknesses; and
  • Provides on-going coaching, support, and performance debriefing.

Managers take can take one or several psychological tests as part of a comprehensive evaluation.  Our organization has a stable of psychologists that work with high performance teams – elite sports teams, special forces and Forbes 500 businesses.  Group and/or individual feedback can be arranged and provided to your organization.

We show managers how to play to strengths and improve their ability to:

  • Perform more effectively in situations that take them beyond their comfort zone;
  • Decrease mistakes made in high pressure situations; and
  • Recognize and develop the areas where they need additional management/leadership skills.

Managers are given advanced warning (awareness) about the types of situations that will prove problematic and coached about how to handle them.  We target the critical factors related to success in high-pressure performance environments.  We design customized profiles for the specific components of success for each organization.  We have years of experience working with top performers in the most highly competitive operating environments in the world (government/CIA/FBI, elite athletics/College & Pro Teams & Military/Special Forces/Pilots ).

20.  Executive Coaching:  An executive coaching service is available for aspiring and new leaders.  This service involves the creation of a vision, mission, and personal philosophy tailored to the organization with follow-on meetings scheduled as desired/needed by the client.

21.   Leadership Coaching: We offer one-on-one Leadership Coaching with all of our seminars.  We believe this is an essential element of leader development.  Leadership Coaching provides a leader the opportunity to reflect on their leadership effectiveness, observe and notice their actions, identify behaviors they need to change, and set goals to measure their progress.  We use several different assessment tools (e.g. Hogan, DISC, 360 Assessments) to identify areas for improvement.  Leadership coaching is an experiential process through which a leader can practice new behaviors in the workplace, review the impact with their Coach, and continually adjust and improve.  This process has a ripple effect in the organization.  One leader who changes can impact an entire organization.

22.  Experiential Leadership Development:  Experiential leadership development (ELD) incorporates fun, challenging situations that build upon abstract concepts brought out in seminar discussions.  The purpose of ELD is the powerful reinforcement of concepts in order to make them less abstract.  There are a wide variety of possible ELD activities:

  •  Staff Rides:  Staff Rides use local battlefields (Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, etc.) to illustrate key leadership lessons. After assigning background readings, facilitators accompany participants to the sites and guide them through critical decisions, successes, failures, and stages of the battle, initiate conversations about important lessons, and help learners apply those lessons to their current challenges.  Staff Rides are particularly useful as cohesion-building culminating experiences for teams or departments.  They involve some walking/standing but accommodations can be made to meet any ability level.
  • Wilderness Expeditions: S-LS faculty possesses extensive wilderness expedition leadership training to safely engage learners in focused outdoor experiences designed to reinforce and practice leadership skills.  From one-day conversational hikes€ in local parks and trails to more challenging week-long excursions, S-LS offers epic experiences for every ability level.   Wilderness expeditions are particularly useful as cohesion-building culminating experiences for teams or departments.  They involve somewhat challenging physical demands with the level of challenge determined by the customer (ranging from adventure-racing quality events to relaxed sojourns).  Additional first aid, survival, birding, tracking, field craft, or river expedition themes available.
  • Sailing Expeditions:  Chesapeake Bay or other sailing adventures can be arranged to reinforce leadership lessons learned in seminars.  As with all ELD, physical challenge is implied and levels can be tailored to meet any ability level.

Additional and Related Seminars:

  • Leader as Coach
  • Powerful Conversations
  • Managing Energy Instead of Time
  • Developing a Mission Statement