Emerging Leader Ascent

Program Syllabus

The Emerging Leader Ascent is a nine-week leadership development journey that helps new and emerging managers gain the confidence, skills, and insights they need to address the latest and greatest challenges of their careers.

Program goals

By the end of the program, participants will have

  • Examined and developed their personal leadership styles
  • Set specific leadership goals and worked toward them in guided increments
  • Developed their communication skills
  • Practiced evaluating challenges through three “lenses” of leadership:

Safety          Communication          Alignment

Lead Belay - Training to be a Leader

What does "Lead Belay" stand for?

The term Lead Belay is borrowed from rock climbing, in which the Lead (you) initiates the climb up the (leadership) route while the Belayer (your peer group) provides you with support, guidance, and feedback as you ascend. Belay on!

Orientation, meet your team, & set your goals

Week 1

Kicking off the beginning of this transformative journey, Week 1 is all about ensuring everyone in the peer group really gets to know each other. Forming trust-based relationships at this point is crucial because the rest of this program depends on each participant providing support, encouragement, and constructive feedback to one another.


Key resources:

Growth mindset & the scientific foundations of Lead Belay

The Emerging Leader Ascent incorporates principles of neuroscience to help ensure this development experience is as efficient and engaging as possible. The concept of the growth mindset is the first, and perhaps the most important, concept of this experience.

Rapid relationship-building materials

The first meeting starts with this tried-and-true exercise for getting to know one another.

Week 1 - Growth Mindset - Lead Belay

Set your leadership goal

The first of five goal-specific steps you'll take throughout the program, this resource guides you through the process of setting an overarching goal for this experience. Establishing this goal now is key to ensuring the rest of the program benefits you in the ways you need it most.

__wk 2_set leadership goal

Week 2

Sharing our goals with others can be a powerful motivator. During Week 2, each participant will work with the other people in their peer group to create a meeting space grounded in honesty and openness so they can share their leadership goals with one another. While this kind of vulnerability can be a little uncomfortable, it's also one of the biggest catalysts for personal growth.

Key resources:

Managing vs. Leading

This guide will help you frame what your leadership growth will look like over the next seven weeks.

Rapid relationship-building materials

This resource illustrates the importance of creating a feeling of trust and a culture of psychological safety within your team.

Role of the Team Leader

Week 3

Leaders shape experiences. This week, you and your group will unpack the complex dynamics of leading others.

Key resources:

Envisioning the leader you want to be

This exercise will help you get clear with yourself on the kind of leader you're aiming to become, which skills you most want to develop, and which aspects of leadership are most important to you.

w5__visualizing team interdepend image

Psychological safety timeline_resized_og copy

Prep a workshopping challenge

This guide will help you create a brief description of a challenge you're facing so you can bring it to your peer group for group workshopping.

Week 4

This week’s meeting will begin with discussions of your first step toward growth. Then, you’ll begin your first Peer workshopping session.

Key resources:

Psychological safety timeline

Look (and feel) deeper into the concept of psychological safety by reflecting on how and when it has shown up throughout your life. This activity will help you create a visual output of your experiences with psychological safety, which you may find helpful as a reference point throughout the rest of the program.

Peer workshopping guidelines

Week 4 marks your first Peer workshopping experience. This resource provides you with guidelines and tips for making the most of it.

Creative a Cohesive Team

Week 5

This week, you and your Belay group will explore what it takes to create and maintain a cohesive team in the context of what you've already learned about psychological safety.

Key resources:

Signs & signals of a cohesive team

Use this worksheet as you observe your team in action, looking for, listening for, and sensing indicators of team cohesion. Take notes on what you observe and bring them to your next meeting, where you and your group will talk about what each of you saw, heard, and felt.

w5__visualizing team interdepend image

Week 6 web page content delivery images_1.0_wk 6_why comms is nec for alignment

Week 6

This week is all about showing up for and supporting each other. You’ll share the status of your journey toward your program-long leadership goal. Then, you’ll come together and workshop another major management challenge someone in your group is facing.

Key resources:

Why communication is necessary for alignment

Review this article for a better understanding of how to ensure your communication is effective, your team members are accountable, and your team is protected from confusing and misaligned projects.

Feedback & Difficult Conversations

Week 7

Difficult conversations are part of the job, but even the most accomplished leaders can find them challenging. This week, you’ll work together to get a little more comfortable when it comes to handling the tough stuff.

Key resources:

Craft your conversation

Effectively communicating around sensitive topics isn't something that comes naturally to most; it requires understanding, practicing, and committing to improvement. This exercise will prepare you for this week's in-meeting activity: role-playing a difficult conversation with your Belay partner. 

Week 7 web page content delivery images_1.0_wk 7_craft your convo

Week 8 - Leadership Communication - Lead Belay

Week 8

This week, you and your Belay Group will debrief on the challenges you faced and the progress you made during last week's difficult conversation role-playing exercise. 

Key resources:

Communication like a leader

Every goal is achieved in the same way: one step at a time. Progressing toward your Leadership Goal isn’t about grand gestures, it’s about the small behaviors you adopt and the decisions you make every day. Use this guide to reflect on the role-playing exercise and group debrief from last meeting. Then, decide on a single, bite-sized action you can take now to improve your communication skills as a leader.

The Summit

Week 9

This week marks the "summit" of participants' leadership development experience. This week is about reflecting on where you've been, how far you've come, and starting to plan for the leadership adventures ahead.

Key resources:

Your leadership declaration

Use this guide to bring together each of the incremental steps you've taken toward your leadership goals throughout this program. By the end of the activity, you'll have created your Leadership Declaration: a defining statement that celebrates your progress and sets the vision for your continued growth.

Week 9 - Leadership Declaration - Lead Belay