In the last weekend of October, 25 Stage 2 students embarked on the Paul Dyer Development Programme (PDDP), a whirlwind two-day journey to understand the basics of leadership. Under the guidance of Robin Lawrence and Sue Ledner from coaching consultancy Matrix 7, the group looked at what makes a good leader through a combination of presentations, team projects and reflective review sessions.
During the event, common misconceptions about leadership were overturned. Being a leader is not about exerting authority, but about enabling your team to achieve the best result. And you can only be a good leader if you know yourself – your strengths AND your weaknesses – and understand how your behaviour impacts on others.
The Paul Dyer Development Programme has run once a year at Kent Business School since 2012. The course works on the premise that leadership is a skill, a craft that can be learnt, developed and improved. During the course, the coaches create an environment for students – a starting point rather than a finishing point with no pass or fail assessment at the end of it – to explore, learn and develop.
“I think the students were surprised by the style of the experience”, said course director Robin. “It’s challenging, highly interactive, intense and fun but it is not like attending a lecture! They engaged well and I think they each took away learning that really meant something to them personally.”
Paul Dyer, long-time supporter of Kent Business School and initiator of the PDDP, paid a visit to the group on the second day of their course. ‘You are the creators of your own destiny, and you can do it!’ he told the students. ‘Believe in yourself, don’t be afraid and ask for help. Knock on the door of that director, send out that email – a lot of people are very willing to help if they see you take the initiative’.
The group said goodbye to each other at the end of the course on Sunday, swapping phone numbers and eager to stay in touch. In the week following the course, several students contacted the team to say they had already applied some of lessons learnt in their group assignments.
Kent Business School is currently looking at how, in future years, it could give more students the opportunity to join the Paul Dyer Development Programme. Coach Sue summarised its positive impact on Sunday afternoon: “I definitely saw confidence grow in many of the students and higher awareness in others. It felt like a really worthwhile experience and was inspiring to witness the students’ personal development from the start of the first day to the end of the second. I loved every minute of it.”
If you would like more information about the Paul Dyer Development Programme, and how you can support future editions, please contact External Services at Kent Business School directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.