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Leadership Fundamentals

Leadership isn't just defined by the job title...

...It's about developing the perspective, skills and personal style to get results that matter.

Leadership Fundamentals is an intensive immersion in the skills necessary to excel in your current role and prepare for future roles at the University. The teaching model is built on the premise that leadership is not defined by one’s job title, that leadership is a process rather than a person, and that whether or not one is a formal leaders, one is engaged in the process of leadership. To deliver this workshop, Northwestern is partnering with the Center for Creative Leadership

How to participate

Staff participants who apply and obtain managerial sponsorship will be eligible for be selected for the program, that typically takes place 1-2 times a year. Applicants are selected by a committee of University staff members in leadership roles. Eligibility criteria apply. If you believe a colleague or direct report would benefit from participating in the program, please share this web page with them and encourage them to apply.

The selection committee seeks diversity based on geography, function, gender, ethnicity, and school/unit. Particular attention is given to candidates' personal statements as well as those of their manager. Managers whose direct reports apply will be asked to sponsor their candidates and partner in the learning process.

Participation in Leadership Fundamentals is for the purpose of professional development in your current role. While it prepares staff for future roles, it is not intended to set an expectation for immediate or future advancement.

Intended audience and eligibility

Leadership Fundamentals is intended primarily for staff members with no direct reports – whether seasoned staff or just growing into their role – who are in influential roles or lead key projects and are ready to step up their leadership.

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates must:

  • Be a regular staff employee (non-exempt, exempt) at any of Northwestern’s six campuses around the world — Chicago, Evanston, Qatar, Miami, New York, and Washington, D.C.
  • Be in good standing.
  • Be an Individual Contributor with no direct reports.
  • Be sponsored by their manager.
  • Be able to attend on the Evanston campus from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on both workshop days.
  • Commit to actively mentoring other employees in future employee development programs.
  • Complete a short application.

Program goals

By applying the lessons from Leadership Fundamentals, participants will have the opportunity to increase their abilities in:

  • Stretching outside of established comfort zones to work with others, solve problems, and drive results.
  • Applying a range of techniques to influence others and immediately impact workplace challenges.
  • Accomplishing high-quality work faster through relationships and collaboration.
  • Gaining a more accurate picture of their leadership abilities and learning style.

Program agenda

Day 1:

  • Direction, Alignment, Commitment
  • Learning Agility
  • Leadership Brand
  • Lunch
  • Interpersonal Savvy
  • Leadership Practice

Day 2:

  • Influence
  • Lunch
  • Leadership Across Boundaries
  • Taking my Leadership Home

For more information about the agenda and program content, visit the Center for Creative Leadership website.

Application process

The application consists of a few questions to establish eligibility and two brief essay questions. 

The managers of eligible candidates will be sent a link to a short sponsorship form.

  • Candidates must receive sponsorship from their immediate supervisors in order to participate.
  • Managers who sponsor their direct reports' participation commit to be full partners in the pre- and post-program learning process.

A selection committee has been convened to review applications and will select a maximum of 50 participants.

If you would like further information, or assistance with your application or the manager support process, please contact us:

Note: This workshop is normally offered at a cost of more than $2,000 per participant. Northwestern's investment in leadership development has made it possible to offer Leadership Fundamentals at no additional charge to Northwestern employees.