UCT focus on women in leadership

The UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) will launch a new programme this year specifically designed to develop women leaders in South Africa.

Dr Marjolijn Dijksterhuis, director of the new Women in Leadership Programme, says it is designed for women with proven leadership capacity who want to develop to their full professional potential.

‘The programme has been put in place to catalyse true change in women’s professional lives. This change comes with new ways of looking at oneself and others in the workplace. Participants will work with innovative perspectives on personal leadership effectiveness and network management to help turn their workplace challenges into opportunities,” she said.

The Women in Leadership Programme, being offered by the UCT GSB’s Executive Education unit, consists of two modules.

The first focuses on authentic expression. ‘Women in management positions can feel challenged by the dominant leadership culture in their organisation. The programme helps participants to discover some of the barriers that discourage them from truly expressing themselves and reaching their full potential,” said Dijksterhuis. A team of highly experienced facilitators will work with the group to make this happen.

In the second module, participants’ leadership development paths are reinforced and then taken to the next level with the introduction of network management — a leadership competency of critical importance in today’s business context.

Network management pioneer Dr Karen Stephenson, who will be in South Africa to teach on the programme, says understanding how human networks behave in response to formal organisational positions helps women leaders to manage relationships strategically and achieve business outcomes with improved efficiency. It will also allow them to manage their own position within the organisational network more effectively.

‘The two main components of the programme, personal leadership effectiveness and network management, both aim to develop the capacity to ‘work under the surface’ — to understand the deeper determinants in complex situations and manage at this deeper level for better results,” said Dijksterhuis.

Stephenson is one of a number of women leaders teaching on the programme. Hailed in Business 2.0 as ‘The Organisation Woman”, Stephenson has been lauded as a pioneer and ‘leader in the growing field of social-network business consultants”. Last year she was one of only three women recognised from a distinguished shortlist of 55 in Random House’s Guide to the Management Gurus and she has been featured in The Economist, Forbes, The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal.

She will be joined by Glennifer Gillespie, Beth Jandernoa and Liz de Wet on the programme. Gillespie, a senior associate at DiaLogos — a consulting company in Boston — is an organisational development practitioner specialising in organisational learning, the practice of productive conversation and dialogue in organisations and communities, coaching and women’s leadership.

Jandernoa is an organisational learning consultant who divides her time between the United States and South Africa. The scope of her work includes leadership development, dialogue, large-scale participative change interventions and personal development programmes for women.

De Wet is an organisational development and learning specialist, and is a partner in Change Moves, an organisation development agency that she co-founded in 1999. The consultancy is grounded upon the principles of people-centred, participatory action learning and systems thinking, and has a client base that includes Old Mutual, Nedcor, Spoornet, Sanlam and the City of Cape Town.

The course runs from March 10 to 14 (module 1) and April 7 to 11 (module 2). Contact Dudu Mahlangu on 021 406 1268 or visit www.gsb.uct.ac.za/execed.

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