Educating Future Leaders in Collaboration with Academia and Industry
Transitioning from being a peer to a leader can be a daunting task, whether it's assuming a managerial position in the workplace or taking up a leadership role in a student club. The Leadership Academy is dedicated to equipping young leaders with the skills and knowledge necessary to tackle these challenges through sharing experiences with experienced leadership researchers, industry leaders, and, crucially, each other.
The programme caters to young professionals who are new to their managerial roles and the most ambitious and leadership-oriented individuals in Lund, those chosen to lead student unions and clubs. The programme brings together a diverse group of professionals and student activists, fostering discussions around their similarities and differences. The programme runs for one academic year and comprises lectures, workshops, individual discussions for personal development, and experience sharing among participants. Christine Blomquist and Nadja Sörgärde are academically responsible for the programme.
"We start the course by reflecting and assessing the participants' needs, and we have noticed that many of these needs are repeated year after year," says Christine. She continues, "One of the recurring features is one-on-one conversations for personal development with the school's career coach Pernilla Thellmark, which is much appreciated by the participants."
Senior lecturers in Organisational Studies Nadja Sörgärde and Christine Blomquist are academically responsible for the Leadership Academy.
Adding value for the participating companies
This year the companies Wihlborgs fastigheter and Deloitte who has funded parts of the Leadership Academy, have also had the opportunity to enrol their own employees into the programme. This has resulted in additional value for both students, who gain additional perspectives, and companies, who can offer their new leaders a qualified leadership programme. Nadja elaborates on how the synergies arise and says:
"My impression is that our participants often believe their challenges are entirely unique, but the problems that arise when transitioning from a group member to a leader are relatively similar, whether leading friends or colleagues. It's a classic leadership dilemma. When people in the same situation meet, they realize they are not alone and share their dilemmas with many others. During the training, Nadja and Christine introduce models, frameworks, and tools to deal with various dilemmas, including preventive measures such as building good group dynamics, and how to handle difficult conversations or conflicts.
Connection to the industry creates synergies
Although the Leadership Academy has been in existence in the past, Nadja says the programmes concept has been refined, including workshops with invited professionals. These workshops are designed to benefit both the guests and students. Another significant advantage that Christine and Nadja emphasize is the direct contact between professionals and students. They see this as an opportunity for companies to gain insight into what issues are crucial to young adults today.
"The lecturing professional guests often reflect on the fact that it was interesting to participate because they had to think in new ways thanks to the perspectives of the students," says Nadja.
Voices on the Leadership Academy
Business student Martina Bjurka, Senior Consultant at Deloitte
"The Leadership Academy is an interesting complement to the training I receive through my employer. Many discussions, dilemmas, lessons learnt and tips are directly relevant to my work today. The next generation entering the workforce brings interesting and relevant discussions and thoughts, they are the ones who will be part of your team or possibly become your manager one day. Even if you as a professional may receive other types of leadership training through your company, I think this is a good complement that broadens the perspective."
Jennifer Rydh Johansson, Proqurator economics, Hallands Student Club
"I have had the opportunity to discuss with others who face similar challenges, which has given me new perspectives. This has resulted in certain matters at the club being handled differently because I as a leader have gained new insights. It is always nice to have an external forum to discuss your role and what it means with others."
Rasmus Engström, Internal Relations Manager, LundaEkonomerna
"It provides a good opportunity to get tools and to discuss many problems and concerns that arise in my role on the board. I have been able to improve how effective I am in my leadership role, and through individual discussions and reflections I have also developed, which has been rewarding. It is a good opportunity to raise common problems and challenges that provide many new perspectives during the time - I have experienced many "aha moments" during the meetings."