Leading self and others

Article 30 April 2024

This is part three of a four-part series, taking you through a leadership development programme we run enabling leadership transition from technical specialist to people leader.

In case you missed it, head to part one, Foundation Stage, and part 2 Module 1 – Managing People and Teams

This is part three of our on-going series to share how leadership development programmes with Sheppard Moscow make a difference for organisations. Here, we take you through the second module of our showcase programme in which participants meet face-to-face as they learn to 'Lead self and others'. Having now run this particular module both virtually and in-person, we also discuss the merits of both modalities, and why in-person can really move the dial at this stage of leaders’ development.

After nearly four years of running the programme end-to-end in an entirely virtual format, it was decided, in collaboration with our client, to transition the second module to in-person (thus making the programme a hybrid model, as the first module was on-line). As you’ll know from our previous instalments on this showcase programme, we use a blended learning approach set within a development path that encompasses a range of tools and input: goal setting, sponsor and stakeholder engagement, EQi assessment tools, peer learning groups and learning application clinics. This is a programme that gives participants a chance to step out of the ‘day job’, to look at themselves in their new context, readying them to apply their learnings on their return from the programme.

In our previous instalment we brought the first, virtual module to life; it focuses on managing people and teams, and the core people management capabilities and skills required to coach, direct and enable others. Module 2, 'Leading self and others', takes place over three days with participants all together in a room. The content of this module supports and asks for a high-level of vulnerability, and participant feedback has made clear how being together in person enables robust psychological safety and trust within the cohort.

'Leading self' is about providing space for participants to reflect on themselves as leaders and as people so that they can bring the best of their authentic selves in how they lead their teams, colleagues and stakeholders. It’s about clarifying for themselves what drives them and keeps them moving forward through change, challenge, and ambiguity so that they can stay resilient and inspire others to do the same. This is a core leadership transition, calling for a shift in perspective, a new focus in time and attention, and is often a fundamental pivot from what has gone before – ‘what got me here won’t get me (and us) there’.

One of the key aspects of this module is exploring authentic leadership; reflecting on participants’ leadership journey to this transitional stage in their career, their core values, their purpose and how these translate into a meaningful leadership vision which they find inspiring, and which can inspire others in turn.

Through this programme I have developed a deeper understanding of where my strengths lie, a deeper self-awareness of where they come from, and how I can apply them in my job going forward.


We have now run this module both virtually and in-person, and it’s interesting to reflect on the strengths of both modalities. Evidence suggests that people often feel more able to be open and vulnerable in a virtual setting as it provides them with a perceived degree of protection. In our virtual design, we deliberately included social activities – such as sharing pictures of our loved ones, our favourite movie etc. – and whilst this prompted discussion and an opportunity to get to know each other better, it did not achieve the same speed and depth of connection that can be achieved over a shared meal face-to-face.

We have found that in-person programme delivery enables more profound self-discovery and meaningful level of human connections. It was the in between, informal, serendipitous moments that deepened and strengthened relationships across the cohort and created stronger commitment to staying in touch after the programme.

Being face-to-face made such a difference in helping us to connect at a personal level with other managers from across the organisation. I left the programme feeling a strong sense that I’m not the only one facing these challenges, we’re a community of leaders facing into them together.


Simply being in the same room with one another provides participants with an invaluable opportunity to form deep connections very quickly and establish a leadership network which will serve them beyond the programme. Coming together to explore our leadership reminds us of the power of deep human connection to unlock performance in ourselves and others; building and deepening relationships and a shared purpose that endures busy, sometimes distracted, professional lives no matter where and how we work together.

In our next instalment, we’ll take you through how we’re re-designing the programme to reflect the new context and challenges this particular organisation is facing.

Sheppard_Moscow_Headshots_027.jpg Aoife Keane
Unknown.jpeg Sarah McKinnon