Leiden Leadership Programme valuable addition for Delft students
A really worthwhile cross-fertilisation. This is how two enthusiastic students from the TU Delft describe the Leiden Leadership Programme. ‘I'm already applying in Delft things I am learning here.'
The Leiden Leadership Programme (LLP) has been running for five years. Together with the International Leiden Leadership Programme, the LLP makes up the honours education for master's students at Leiden University. The LLP focuses on leadership, self-knowledge and developing leadership skills, giving students the opportunity to explore and discover the many facets of leadership in general but more particularly in themselves. The programme includes seminars, skills training and a practical assignment for a large organisation. The alliance with the universities of Delft and Rotterdam mean that the LLP programme is also open to students from these universities.
Bob Winters (23) and Alexander van Geel (22) have no regrets about deciding to take the LLP. Both students are studying in Delft and have a background in air and space technology, and they are currently working towards their master's. When Alexander opened his Blackboard page one day and scrolled down the mass of messages, he came across an item about the LLP. ‘It really caught my interest. I was often at Leiden University through my work as an exam trainer and I already had a high opinion of the University.'
Bob discovered that leadership skills are useful not only for CEOs or ministers: 'You can also use them in discussions with colleagues.' In Leiden he learned to pay more attention to the social elements in a team. 'In Delft everything is really technical and scientific, while something like group dynamics is enormously important in a scientific process. And it's also great when you find that at the NS, where I and my group did our practical assignment, people appreciate you and take your input seriously.'
Alexander, too, regards the LLP as a valuable addition to his Delft training. 'The students in my group who have a social studies background have a way of thinking that amazes me. I'm used to getting straight down to tackling assignments systematically and analytically, whereas they first take their time gathering material, interviewing people and only after they've done their preparatory work do they decide how they're going to tackle the problem. I'm already noticing that I'm applying those skills in Delft and that I now look more critically at my own working methods. Why do I do things the way I do? Is it the best way or am I just working on automatic pilot doing what I was once taught to do?'
Although the train journey between Leiden and Delft is barely long enough to do a Soduko puzzle, the travelling time plus the knowledge that the LLP is on top of a regular master's programme initially gave him some doubts. 'That was completely unnecessary,' he can now confirm. 'The programme takes our timetables into account and we have the freedom to plan a lot of things to suit ourselves.'
The two budding leaders hope that all TU students who are looking for more of a challenge will follow their example. 'You do need both commitment and self-discipline if you're going to do it,' Bob stresses, 'but in return you get a lot of very valuable insights that you can make good use of.' And he adds, laughing: 'And I'm not just talking about those 15 study credits!'
Photo: Bob Winters (l) and Alexander van Geel, © Arthur Koppejan Fotografie