The leadership development programmes we offer in partnership with the Activate Business School are helping you to become better managers. Tom Pearce spoke to Laura Bedwell about her experience in the programme.

Laura Bedwell is a relocation manager at Sterling Lexicon. Her team of consultants move expatriates around the world, sourcing them rental properties, assisting them with finding schools, overseeing the household goods shipment process and anything else they need to help them settle into the host country while they're on an assignment.

Laura became a manager for the first time in 2018. Shortly after that, one of our team met with Laura, and some of the other managers at Sterling Lexicon, to talk about the level three and level five leadership programmes we offer with the Activate business school.

Laura started her training in January 2020 and, while her first workshop was face-to-face, the course switched to online in March 2020 as lockdown began. Laura's progress was recognised by the business school, when they named her Student of the Month in January 2021.

Laura spoke to me about her experiences and how the programme helped her develop as a leader.

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Becoming a better manager

I decided to go ahead with the Activate Leadership and Management Level 3 Diploma because I hadn’t done any management courses before, and I thought that it would be good for the job role that I’m currently in.

I’ve been doing the course for nearly a year now, and I'm now more comfortable in situations that I wasn’t previously. I’ve learned how to mentor individuals and to help them grow, and built confidence within myself as a manager.

 

"I’ve learned how to mentor individuals and to help them grow, and built confidence within myself as a manager."

This course has so many different categories to it, that all of it plays a part in my day-to-day job role. For example, we recently did a workshop on project management. This has been extremely useful to understand what goes into a project, how it’s put together, and how to get the most out of it.

I was a little apprehensive about having online training sessions, but they've gone really well. The training is engaging, you cover the same material that you would in person, and it’s been a really good experience.

Becoming a better presenter

This course has enabled me to grow as both an individual and a manager, and allowed me to process things differently than I did before. I’m now more comfortable chairing meetings with senior management.

I’ve always been quite a nervous presenter and I’ve never liked doing presentations in front of people or having to speak up. This course has helped me to prepare before going into a meeting and taught me to understand what you want to achieve out of that call. It’s really helped me.

Before I did this course, during a meeting, if I didn’t agree with something, I was very quick to disagree or not process things properly. This course has enabled me to listen to the meeting, take the facts out of it and process it before I come back with my opinion about how we should address any issues that have arisen.

"This course has helped me to prepare before going into a meeting and taught me to understand what you want to achieve out of that call. It’s really helped me."

Becoming better at challenging conversations

I really didn’t like having difficult conversations with consultants, especially when you’ve got to deliver bad news and consider their feelings at the same time.

I’ve always been an emotionally invested person, so I’ve found it difficult to get my point across clearly in those kinds of conversations. For example, I’ve recently had to furlough staff.

Through this course, I learned that I need to make sure that I’ve processed exactly what I need to say first. I can now deal with the emotions attached to a conversation, so I can stay factual and explain my point clearly.

Becoming what you want to be

This course helped me decide what I want to do in the future. We put together a three and five-year CPD plan for my career.

In my three-year plan, I said I wanted to be a service delivery manager, either covering one client or stepping up to the position above the one that I'm in now. In five years, my plan is to be a global account manager in the same industry, side-stepping into a different thing, and dealing with new clients and a different manager, but the same team.

With everything I've learned in the programme, I feel like I'm on the right course.

Find out more about our leadership and management development programmes with the Activate Business School