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Learning to Lead: UCI Extension Programs Teach New Rules for Alpha-Dog Success

August 3, 2015

It’s not enough to be an alpha dog today. Business leaders must share their vision and unite the pack in a common goal.

For anyone building a career, leadership could be the most important asset brought to the table. Leaders create a vision that drives a company forward and master the complex set of skills that transform vision into reality.

“The workplace landscape that we're in today is different from the past. It continues to shift to a more collaborative environment, and leaders have to increase their agility and lead all different types of employees,” said Patricia Bravo, a human resources expert who has worked for Fortune 500 companies and as a private consultant.

Bravo is also an instructor in the UCI Extension Strategic Leadership Development Certificate Program, which, along with the Organizational Leadership & Communication Certificate Program, addresses one of the biggest challenges in modern leadership: combining business expertise and people skills.

Both programs are intended for a wide range of professionals, and schedules have been designed to accommodate people with demanding careers.

“It’s excellent for people already in leadership roles who want to enhance their skills,” Bravo said. “And it’s also for aspiring leaders so they can be prepared when the opportunity for advancement presents itself.”

Organizational Leadership & Communication Certificate Program
This program consists of eight courses that guide students through every area of leadership from fundamentals to final results. They learn about leadership styles and sources of power, interpersonal communication, effective team building, conflict resolution, communicating across cultures, leading in virtual environments, writing concisely, and planning and implementing change.

Instructor-led courses can be taken online in the evening or in an accelerated, on-campus, six-month weekend session. The program can also be customized and delivered on-site, where it can be adapted to any company’s specific needs.

Strategic Leadership Development Certificate Program
This innovative program offers even more freedom and flexibility for people with busy schedules. Students can begin at any time and study at their own pace, and have 90 days to complete each course or "module."

The five-course program teaches students to create a clear business vision, influence people and ignite their excitement about the vision, mobilize a team to implement it, and put all those elements together to deliver results.

Expertly curated materials for each course are available online. There are also online forums for those who want to discuss the work, but participation is not a requirement. And students can receive live, one-on-one mentoring from Bravo by phone or Skype. But grades are based only on the final project required for each course.

Certificates of Completion
After completing either program, students receive a certificate that can offer a distinct advantage in the job market.

“When someone doesn't have a lot of experience as a leader, employers look for indicators that demonstrate that this individual has some of the basic foundational elements in leadership,” Bravo said. “So the certificate can help a person who’s looking for a job or wanting to grow in their existing role.”

In today’s team-based, deadline-driven workplaces, both programs are training people who can grow their careers as they lead their companies into the future.

– Maxine Nunes, Tribune Content Solutions