On the weekend of October 27 2018 Stage 2 students will take part in the Paul Dyer Development Programme (PDDP), an intensive two-day workshop to understand the basics of leadership. Isabella Baldo shares her experience after completing the Paul Dyer Development Programme last year.
Why did you choose to take part on the Paul Dyer Development programme?
After reading the programme description, I decided to sign up because I thought it would be a great learning opportunity. I wanted to boost the skills that employers look for – leadership, interpersonal and communication skills.
What were your expectations ahead of the programme?
Before attending the programme, I thought I would have the opportunity to learn more about leadership from a theoretical point of view. As a business student, I studied Introduction to Management in my first year and had the opportunity to understand better different leadership styles. Since the programme was advertised as a Leadership Programme, and I have always been interested in the subject, I was curious to find out more. I was expecting to get further insights from experts in the field and to take notes, exactly like in a lecture.
How was it different from what you expected?
I couldn’t have had a better experience! Thanks to the programme, I got to know people from my Kent Business School(from different years) that I would have never came across otherwise. At the end of the first weekend session, I felt I had a “family”, something that hadn’t yet happened during my degree. I have never bonded so much with anyone in a “professional environment”. It was a very nice surprise when on the first day of the programme, I realised the focus of the programme was on the practical aspect of leadership and how we can apply it to real-life scenarios. I had never been able to understand the relevance of leadership in my own experience as an individual. I knew how important leadership was in a business context, but had never been able to see its application to everyday life. The programme was a very good mixture between socialising and learning.
What are the most important lessons you took away from the programme?
One major take-away is a phrase that Robin Lawrence (from Coaching consultancy Matrix 7) said “everybody is the leader of themselves”. This concise sentence helped me so much on a personal and professional level. It’s a reminder that even in difficult situations, there’s always a solution, it’s just up to us to find it. And we CAN find it, even when it seems impossible. I have also learned that a very important skill a leader should have is being able to spot talent and potential in others, and bring the best of out of them. I really enjoyed the metaphor of the helicopter – a good leader should be able to always have in mind the bigger picture (long-term aim of a project) while aligning short-term objectives of all team members.
There is a plan to make the Paul Dyer Development Programme into a curricular module on leadership skills. Do you agree that all undegraduates should learn about leadership skills? Why?
I couldn’t agree more on turning the programme into a curricular module for undergraduate students. Paul Dyer’s Leadership programme gives an opportunity to everybody to get to understand and reflect on themselves and how to develop key strengths and employable skills in a fun but practical manner. The best thing about the programme was that in only one weekend I learnt a lot and the day after I was already putting that into practice! This doesn’t happen often in an academic environment because there is a defined line between theory and practice.
How has the programme helped you whilst studying at Kent Business School?
I have always liked working in groups and I must say that I have always had good experiences with managing people. However, after the leadership programme, I have adopted a different leadership style which helped me cope with difficult situations better. For instance, it was thanks to the programme that I understood that leaders have to be flexible and behave differently according to the situation. Paying attention to details and understanding team members’ skills and allocate the workload accordingly, rather than randomly splitting the work between ourselves, was a much more effective method for my university group projects. It made the work flow easier, communication was better and not only did we manage to get the work done but we also became friends rather than simply being “group members”.
What have you learnt from the programme?
I have learnt that by working together, it is easier to achieve a goal. I believe that the business environment can be quite competitive sometimes, and it is very easy to think we are doing things solo because we want to stand out from the crowd. However, in a business context, we are PART of that crowd. It’s important to remember that when good relationships with people are established, better performances are also achieved. Getting to know each other, investing our time in listening and caring for each other, is the key. It was only when participating in the team-building organised for the programme that I realised 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