8 Ways to Get the Best From Your Next Leadership Program

by | 25 Jan 2024

Congratulations, you’ve gained a place in a leadership program. This is a BIG deal! If you pay for it yourself you have a financial stake and this should drive you to participate well and gain the most you can. If your enterprise or industry has invested in you then you have investors and champions wanting to see you do well. Are you up to the challenge? Do you know how to gain the most from a leadership program / experience? Over the last 20 years we have seen people, just like you, have poor, OK, good, great and just downright amazing experiences in leadership programs we facilitate. I’ll draw most from my experience in facilitating the Australian Future Cotton Leader Leaders and Australian Grain Leaders Programs. I want to share what I’ve seen participants, just like you, do to ensure they have the best experience they can and leverage the best learnings resulting in positive change for themselves and for others. Here’s what I’ve seen….

1. Make a commitment

As soon as you get the news you’ve gained a place in the leadership program, make a commitment to yourself that you are all in! This means putting yourself first to ensure you have the time and the energy to participate well and that you prioritise this opportunity. This is about cueing your mindset, making a commitment to yourself and to others that you are going to give this your best shot.  Everyone can tell when you make this commitment or if you don’t!

2. Get Organised

Organise yourself and the commitment you’ve made. Mark you calendar / diary with dates and times of leadership activities. Set reminders. Make space in your week – try for same day / time each week for 15 – 20 mins to do the Program activities. Yes, a great Program requires you to do the work.

3. Wind Up Your Leadership Traits

It’s likely you’re in a group program. Think about how to best show up, participate and gain the most from every group activity you have. People like to be around positive people – here are 7 traits that people find attractive in others. Have you got these? Become conscious of these and practise them in your group activities and experiences. Bring positive and committed energy always. This starts with you.

  • Dedicated
  • Respectful
  • Passionate
  • Open minded
  • Enthusiastic
  • Motivated and
  • Committed

4. Create a Vision

Develop a vision. You have a set time to commit to this leadership program. It could be a 2 week or a 1 year program. Whatever it is, work out your “why” and then your “what”. Think BIG. Here are some questions to help find focus:

  • Why did I put my hand up for this Program? (Be honest)
  • What do I want to achieve?
  • If I could achieve more than I ever thought possible in this Program, what would it be? (Think about yourself, your work / enterprise and or your industry)

Write these down and come back to them often throughout the Program. Dial up your energy and commitment  It’s a marathon not a sprint so keep focussed and committed the whole way – you deserve it!

5. Reflect and Review

Now you have set your vision, stay honest and check on it regularly. Could be each fortnight or monthly depending on the length and intensity of your Program. Set aside 15 mins and jot down learnings, quotes that have really hit home and reflect on check in questions like;

  • How are you going?
  • What have you achieved?
  • What do you need to do for yourself and the program to give and gain even more? 

This helps you to be able to direct your time and energy and know that what you are doing is enough or more than enough.

6. Run Your Own Leadership Race

Who is responsible for your leadership experience and development? It’s YOU! You are the driver of your own destiny in this Program and beyond. You are unique with your own vision and commitment to actions, there’s no need to compare yourself to others in the Program. Run your own leadership Program race. Give it you best shot. This is all you can expect of yourself. And let me share a secret, you will know when you are not managing yourself well in the Program and its at this time that you can give yourself a slap on the back and say get going OR you can call your Leadership Facilitator and let them know and ask for their support in helping you get back on track to achieve your vision.

7. Action, Action and More Action

Leadership change requires action. To have the best Program you can, it’s important to practise things and put new things into action. It can be scary doing this as you are putting yourself out there, it might not go to plan, you might not achieve what you want and you might get negative feedback along the way. You can see why people can sit in a leadership Program and take no action. It’s safer this way. To have a great Program, I encourage you to come out of your safe or comfort zone and actually try things and give them a good go. Inside the Program is the best place to do this as you will be supported and cared for. And then repeat the same process in real time in the real world. Change comes to those who are courageous enough to take this step.    

8. Build and Maintain Your Networks

You will meet lots of people along the way. Leadership is a people game. Opportunities can come from knowing others and importantly from them knowing you.

Someone once told me that it doesn’t matter how many people you know that’s important, it’s how many people that know you!

Meet, greet and then consciously nurture and develop relationships that align to your vision. You are likely to find people with similar visions and values. Maintain contact. Social media is great for this and so is checking in via phone or a catch up when you are in their neck of the woods.

Over to You

I hope you’ve gained some tips here to help in your current or next Leadership Program. Which ones resonate the most? What are you doing to do about them? Remember to give and gain the most you can from your leadership Program. We have seen people leave Programs with friends for life, career progression they never thought possible, an amazing mentor, gratitude that they pushed themselves our of their comfort zone and even some that say it was a life changing experience. I want the same for you. Please take one or two or maybe even three things from this article and put them in place today. Good luck. And please feel free to reach out to me here if you think I can help in any way.

You might also like to read:

Key Ways to Maximise Your Mentoring Experience

Until next time!

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About the Author

Jo Eady

Jo Eady

I’m a leadership specialist, a human centred facilitator and a modern day storyteller. I live in Victoria, Australia. For the past two decades I’ve developed and facilitated a range of leadership initiatives, strategies and programs and have coached many across Australia’s agricultural and rural sectors. I love being a change agent and my key motto right now is courage over comfort. I support others to develop their own leadership essence and shine from the inside out.