As leaders, we often give and receive feedback about weaknesses and development opportunities. There are typically systems and processes within organizations that encourage this type of feedback and drive employees to improve in specific areas. The question is, why do we spend so much time on weakness, and does it help?

In this course, you will take a different approach to leadership development. Leading from strength is about looking at what someone is naturally good at, as well as the skills gained through experience. You will harness these strengths and learn to leverage and expand them. Leadership development takes time—you won't be done with your journey when you complete this course. With that in mind, the course asks you to look into the future and set personalized development goals.

It’s not uncommon for people to act differently when at home, at work, or with different types of people; while common, this is not advisable. Everyone has a set of personal core values, but not everyone is aware of them, and often people don’t spend much time thinking about their values. In contrast, the best leaders learn not only how to tune into their own values, but also how to communicate and live those values in all aspects of life.

In this course, you will work to lead with integrity while inspiring and empowering those around you. Professor Dawson will help you to discover and align your core values. She will guide you to apply your values to your leadership and to create an action plan for the future. Those who master values-based leadership will be able to rise more effectively through the engineering ranks, ultimately allowing them to emerge at the top without losing sight of what values are most important.

Leaders of all kinds have to make informed and resolute decisions. Engineers are often fact and data driven, which can make them excellent decision makers. In general, everyone has a decision-making style—what separates out great decision makers is their ability to adapt based on a problem’s needs.

You will begin this course by evaluating your default decision-making style using a data-driven tool, “Decision-Making for Leaders” designed by Victor Vroom, a leading expert on decision making. You will then explore what quality decisions look like. These initial steps will set you up to more effectively take action and make good decisions.

Professor Erica Dawson, PhD., the Nancy and Bob Selander Director of Engineering Leadership Programs at Cornell University, guides you through the course, allowing you to evaluate yourself, digest the results and data, then assess your ability to effectively adapt. The course concludes with the creation of an action plan, setting yourself on a path for future success.

Leaders need to be able to collaborate, innovate, problem solve, and build relationships. All of these core responsibilities require excellent communication skills. Often when thinking of leaders, we picture them addressing crowds, giving directives, and commanding forces. Leaders need to be able to do those things, but they also need to be top-notch listeners and have the ability to use a variety of communication tactics at the right times.

In this course, Professor Erica Dawson, PhD., the Nancy and Bob Selander Director of Engineering Leadership Programs at Cornell University, will break down critical skills that facilitate collaborative communication. She will guide you as you practice and apply these techniques.

Many of the skills in this course, including listening and asking powerful questions, are core to strong interpersonal communication. These skills help you establish, improve, and maintain relationships. You will focus on workplace examples, but these skills are applicable outside of the workplace as well. Many of the skills are hard to learn and even harder to make a habit. Your life outside of work will impact your work and your ability to have good relationships. Mastering these communication skills and learning to leverage them to create open and collaborative communication is key to the future of any leader.

Leaders need to be bold visionaries and trendsetters. They need to guide people and inspire those people to achieve the vision they lay out. To do so, the leader must be courageous. As leaders put so much of their efforts into guiding and inspiring others, it’s fundamental for them to be skilled communicators. Engineers may not have spent much time refining their communication skills, especially those that involve a great deal of courage. However, leaders have and feel emotions within the workplace, and can harness those emotions to improve their leadership skills and become more courageous communicators.

In this course, Professor Erica Dawson, Ph.D., the Nancy and Bob Selander Director of Engineering Leadership Programs at Cornell University, will help you develop your confidence and motivation to enact courageous communication. You will start by developing a new perspective on what courageous communication in the workplace is and how emotions play a role. You will then set intentions for moving forward. Ultimately your work will help you use the skills associated with courageous communication to develop and manage your team using feedback and leveraging difficult situations.

The best leaders are inspirational and transformative. They motivate, inspire, and empower rather than simply dictating or directing those around them. Leaders need to garner specific results that often require sustainable behavioral changes for both individuals and groups. To get these results, you need to both influence and motivate the people around you.

Many people view influence and motivation as one and the same, but they are not, and it is important to be able to use them separately or together. Influence involves having an impact on other people's actions, thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, or emotions, while motivation is about getting people to change and sustain that change after they have been influenced. In this course, Professor Erica Dawson, Ph.D., the Nancy and Bob Selander Director of Engineering Leadership Programs at Cornell University, will help you expand your repertoire of tools and techniques for influencing and motivating others, ultimately leading to the desired and sustainable behavioral changes you want to see.