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Leadership-in-Action Exercise

Leadership Programmes inevitably take place in some form of classroom situation where an ‘expert’ shares her wisdom with the participants. Many leadership courses have started focusing on leadership-in-action rather than leadership-in-theory, but a major problem still remains when the main learning is cognitive (what Habermas calls ‘getting an education’).

The challenge is to act wisely and appropriately while in the heat of action. An integral part of the Executive Leadership Programmes that I ran for LEP (UCT’s GSB), ALP (Deloitte), WAM (Massmart) and SLP (MMI) included a Leadership-in-Action exercise where participants got the opportunity to observe themselves in action both as individuals and as members of a team. In all cases this was one of the most impactful exercises as it gave everyone a sharp and honest snapshot of the numerous ways in which their own leadership style was letting them and their teammates down.

The exercise needs to be run in Cape Town over a full morning with travel involved in getting to the venue for an 8.30am start. The exercise works best when offered to a team of 5 or 6 (max!) people. It’s also possible to work with 2 teams over the same time period (10 – 12 people).

If you are interested in exploring this exercise, please email me at chris.breen@uct.ac.za