Open Program

Real Life Leadership

Know what to do in the real world when leadership gets challenging, when there is no clear answer.

This engaging three-day program will help you revisit and refine your personal assumptions and understanding of leadership.

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Real Life Leadership

Upcoming Dates

21 Nov 2016 - 23 Nov 2016

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Program Overview

Real Life Leadership combines tutor input and group discussions in an environment which is both challenging and supportive. You will also benefit from three one-to-one coaching sessions, one during and two after the residential phase.

Ashridge believes that leadership is a social process, built on the relationships that exist between leader and followers. Most of us play both roles to some extent.

To be an effective leader requires us to understand ourselves and our impact on others. We need the ability to build and maintain relationships that allow us to lead: sometimes as hero, sometimes as servant, sometimes as coach, sometimes as director.

Content and Structure


Before the residential phase of the program, we ask you to read preparation material and prepare your thoughts for discussion during the program.

Residential Phase

The overall program structure combines theory, practice and individual insight into your own external context. This is achieved through a range of approaches, including presentations with Q&A discussions, team and individual exercises, peer support and challenge groups, individual reflection and creative simulations.

The program explores the following themes:

  • Living Leadership - the results of a major research study exploring what senior leaders actually do ‘real time’
  • Informal Leadership – exploring the dynamics of authority beyond hierarchy, the ‘dark side’ of leadership and why happiness matters
  • Leading with energy – maintaining high levels of performance when stressed or tired
  • Navigating the maze of organizational politics – networking constructively, don’t become a victim
  • Strategic leadership – tapping into the latest Ashridge research on integrating the soft skills of leadership with the hard skills of business
  • Managing polarities – what to do when there is no obvious answer?
  • Surviving as a leader – revisiting leadership essentials such as managing conflict, coaching and developing others and getting the right perspective
  • Planning what to do next – how to apply your learning back at work


You have two follow-up coaching sessions, usually around six and twelve weeks after the residential phase. This is to help you apply the action plan you drafted during the program.

You will become a member of the Ashridge Alumni network which is an excellent opportunity to continue your personal development and networking.

You are also given continued access to your online program portal and Virtual Ashridge content for six months after your residential stay. Ongoing support and further learning opportunities are available with Ashridge Momentum.

Related content

View related programs  The Ashridge experience   Customize this program 

This program is a module of our Advanced Management Program.

All Ashridge Open Programs are taught in English, find out how we can help you to improve your English.

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Participant Feedback

“The program provides an excellent grounding in key aspects of being a leader and what attributes great leaders have.”

Conrad Tate, Corporate Development Director, Imperial Tobacco

“I was impressed by the number of concepts that had direct relevance to situations going on at work. I feel I have some tools to put it into context and apply the lessons of the past few days.”

Steve Ward, Head of Systems Design, Atlas Elektronik UK

 “A fabulous taster for leaders who maybe don’t think they are,”

Sean Hegarty, Manager, Wind Construction, ESB Wind Development 

 “Real Life Leadership is a brilliant short intense shot of insight and learning for aspiring leaders.”

William Banks, Financial Controller, Reed & Mackay Travel Ltd

“A high energy thought-provoking series of sessions. Leadership is not a book, it’s a collection of learning and personal application.”

Steve Elliott, Product Director - Corporate Solutions, Travelport

“I have attended various different leadership programs in Europe, US and Asia but this program is unique, practical and very focused. It covers some very important aspects of leadership that we usually ignore and that remains our area of development”

Asim Shafiq, Director Marketing and Sales, Abbott Laboratories (PAK) Limited

“I’ve really appreciated the quality of the program: it is a really high level. It helps to open my eyes on key elements of leadership I was not aware of. Thank you.”

Fabien De Jonge, Project Finance Manager, CFE SA (Cie D’Enterprises)

“I found the course to be a great opportunity to hear opinions from experts, both technical and real-life experiences, and use these to understand and confirm my leadership style. Very engaging, thanks.”

Dave Webster, Financial and Business Service Manager, SMMT Industry Forum


Program fee

Price: £4,450.00 + VAT
What is included in your open program fee?
Download our brochure /executive-organisation-development/open-programmes/real-life-leadership/rll-form/

Who is it for?

You have some leadership experience and would like to understand the key elements of successful leadership, whether you lead teams or projects or just need to make things happen.

Benefits to you and your organization

  • Having explored your past and present learning and experiences, you will leave with a plan for the future and a sharpened personal leadership approach
  • You will understand core leadership concepts such as coaching, conflict management, delegation and motivation and be able to apply the latest strategies to your own context
  • You will have developed physical and mental self-awareness to overcome difficult leadership issues

Faculty Team

Colin Williams

Colin Williams


Read more about Colin

Stefan Wills

Stefan Wills

BA, MSc, CPsychol, AFBPsS

Read more about Stefan

Narendra Laljani

Narendra Laljani


Read more about Narendra

Phil Anderson

Phil Anderson

BA (Oxon), MBA

Read more about Phil

Jean Vanhoegaerden

Jean Vanhoegaerden

MSc Psy

Read more about Jean

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