Helen, how did you come to be on Henley’s Leadership Programme?
‘I’d been in the company for over 18 years and was moving into a more strategic senior role, so I needed to enhance my leadership and influencing skills.
I discussed my Personal Development Plan with my manager and agreed that an outside programme would be appropriate. Our HR Director subsequently looked at a number of options, but having spoken to the Henley team, she highly recommended The Leadership Programme.’
So what were your expectations, and how did the reality differ?
‘I didn’t really have too many preconceived ideas about what to expect, but I certainly didn’t realise how thorough it would be, or how intense!
The depth and breadth of learning was incredible, and I was amazed at the amount we covered. It was so varied and enjoyable throughout, with fantastic external guest speakers and fun, games-based sessions, all put together very skilfully to make it digestible.
I particularly enjoyed the more personal, self-development aspects of the programme, and appreciated the way that all the strands of activity came together towards the end of the week. By the time I left, I was on such a high. I felt as if I’d learned so much about myself, and especially about my own leadership qualities.’
And once you returned to work, what impact did it have?
‘Overall, I just had a much greater sense of who I was, how I behaved, how I thought, and how I interact with other people. And that awareness gave me greater confidence, and strength to be a better leader.
I’d also gained lots of tools for managing my time, particularly in creating a more sustainable work-life balance. The change of mindset has made me better in the role, produced more meaningful outputs, and has, ultimately, made me a happier person.
I now consciously devote more time to non-work activities, but the consequence is that I’m more fulfilled, and more effective in my work. The skills I acquired also reflect in the way I’m able to communicate with the more senior members of the team.’
So what was it about Henley that made the programme so special, and what advice would you give to anyone thinking about enrolling on The Leadership Programme?
‘Henley’s tutors are amazingly inspiring, and they are so adept in making sure that everyone’s individual goals are addressed and met. I loved the diversity of the group – such a range of nationalities, profiles and knowledge – it really enhanced the whole experience for me, and we’re all now such good friends. Henley is like a little paradise, giving you the rare luxury of being able to focus on yourself and making it easy to reap the benefits of the programme.
What would I say to someone thinking of going on the programme? Be clear about what you want to achieve, be open-minded, and keep taking small steps towards your goals.’