Newcastle University Business School


Exceptional leadership for exceptional times

Great leadership is characterised by ethical values, forming trusted relationships and effectively collaborating with others. Having the right leadership in place helps create sustainable organisations that can navigate through uncertainty.

In recent years, mounting social pressure has contributed to a significant shift in the type of leadership seen across businesses, from start-ups in their infancy to multinational corporations.

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the impact businesses have on the triple bottom line, also known as the three Ps – people, planet and profit, it’s important for those at the top to embrace sustainable leadership.

The pandemic has reinforced the need for organisations to upskill employees and develop exceptional leadership skills in these exceptional times, so they are able to withstand and to overcome volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) work contexts.

In this Q&A, Dr Joanne James, Director of Executive Education, and Dr Jenny Davidson, Executive MBA Programme Director, both from Newcastle University Business School, talk about sustainable leadership and leadership education, and the benefits for organisations.

What does sustainable leadership look like?

Dr Jenny Davidson explains: “Sustainable leadership is all about adapting a responsible approach to the way that we lead, stopping to think about the wider impact of our actions on society and the environment. This might mean considering our wider stakeholder group, the natural systems within which we are operating and their limits.

“It’s crucial to begin by exploring and understanding how our individual roles might contribute to tackling wicked problems such as climate change and gender inequality and in doing so to recognise the value that our individual actions might bring. Responsible leaders are always looking up and out beyond their role, organisation and sector.”

How is leadership education changing and what is Newcastle University Business School’s approach to it?

Dr Joanne James describes: “Leadership education for the future of work recognises that we are working in VUCA contexts. Leadership is not a position or an individual person, but a series of practices that enables collaborative action towards a common mission. Continuous learning and collaboration with others are central to these practices.

“Our role as educators is to create a process where we present models and frameworks in such a way that students can reflect on the utility of theory in relation to their organisational context and their own practices.

“Within our Executive Education programmes, our aim is to reflect our regional ecosystem within our cohort so that all sectors and business types are represented, creating a robust network of regional leaders who can collaborate beyond the boundaries of the programme.”

How do the Executive Education programmes build leadership competencies and values?

Dr James continued: “Our educational process builds competencies in a number of ways. The programme content is integrated to their organisational challenges and make innovations and recommendations to further their own organisational goals or practice development goals. The learners develop a professional portfolio over time, enabling them to demonstrate how their learning translates into behavioural changes and the impact of their actions on organisational results.”

Newcastle University Business School’s part-time Executive Education master’s programmes have been designed specifically for senior managers and leaders who want to enhance their leadership skills and study whilst they work. The programmes will help individuals develop their strategic skills, insight and resilience, enabling them and their organisations to thrive during challenging times.

The School also offer two Senior Leader Apprenticeships that combine on-the-job training with study.

Find out more about Executive Education programmes at Newcastle University Business School and the support available via the Apprenticeship Levy.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Newcastle University Business School .

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