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Leadership and teamwork vital for peak performance

YOU cannot lead others unless you know yourself, according to Curtin University master of leadership and management program director, Des Klass.

Dr Klass said the program focused on the individual rather than the functions and structures of companies.

“The first block of the program is understanding the self,” Dr Klass said.

“Once you understand yourself, how you work with others and teams is a result of that.

“Rather than learning how to apply current models of leadership, our focus is to have students develop their own leadership theory that is appropriate for their unique leadership situations.

“One thing we focus on is critical thinking. To be a good leader you need clarity in critical thinking.

“The idea of leadership is to maximise human capital. These days maximum performance involves looking at more than just financial indicators. Meas-ures such as triple bottom line indicators are things we ensure our students don’t lose sight of.”

Dr Klass said the other two stages of the program concentrated on the self with others and then looking at leadership from an organisational point of view.

The program uses experiential learning and a technique known as peer coaching.

With peer coaching, students learn from each other.

Students also are required to carry out a major project. In most cases the project is community based.

“We concentrate on two philosophies – how to get the best from the individual and how to apply that to the organisation,” Dr Klass said.

“One of the visions of the MLM program is for our students to make a difference to the real world.”

He said there was a demand for leadership training.

“WA needs leaders. We’ve had a lot of calls from senior executives wanting training for senior members of their teams,” Dr Klaas said.

The course also recognises previous work experience. Prospective students with at least eight years’ work experience, but without a university degree, can enter the course. However, they need to complete Curtin’s Graduate Business Qualification with a 70 per cent pass rate.

“We stress work experience for the peer coaching aspect of the course,” Dr Klass said.

“We find students without previous degrees do very well.”

The university interviews prospective students to make sure they are prepared to consider new ideas.

The course has been running for seven years and recently underwent a restructure. Part of that involved cutting the course from 16 units to 12 to keep it in line with other masters programs.

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