The Value of Personal Development in Cyber Leadership

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Blubs with leadership concepts as filaments

I am thrilled to be the new Co-Programme Director and steer LUMS Cyber Executive MBA programme into the future. The programme offers a rigorous and relevant post-graduate educational experience that prepares executives to tackle the complex challenges of cybersecurity leadership. Gone are the days when cyber was side-lined to the IT department. Every leader within every organisation plays a vital role in driving strategic awareness and governance to safeguard organisational assets and reputation.

As a champion of personal and professional leadership development, I think it’s vital to develop the skills and knowledge which executives need to thrive in today's fast-paced business environment. By providing students with a holistic understanding of the interconnected nature of the modern business landscape, they can navigate complex challenges, such as digitally protecting their organisations, to achieve their goals and drive meaningful change. Fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth is deeply embedded at Lancaster University, ensuring that we drive innovation and excellence and remain at the forefront of executive education.

A bit about me …I have held corporate executive leadership positions in the airline industry. I am a seasoned executive coach, international customer service consultant and accomplished business entrepreneur. I teach, mentor and coach as part of the Professional Executive Management Learning (PEML) team at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS). I intend to bring my entrepreneurial spirit and insights from my experience to enrich student learning and the programme overall.

My strengths lie in personal and professional leadership development, which uses coaching to focus on emotional intelligence and reflective practice. Emotional intelligence is crucial for effective communication, relationship building, and decision-making, while reflective practice enhances self-awareness and continuous learning. Combining these elements can help leaders navigate challenges, cultivate resilience, and achieve goals with greater clarity and purpose.

Through my work as a personal leadership coach, I have seen the impact that investments in personal growth and development, including goal setting, time management, work-life balance, and managing stress can make. The Cyber MBA programme focuses on developing great leaders.

Key areas which leaders identify they need to work on are:

  1. Emotional Intelligence Development: Understand and managing their emotions and those of their team members.
  2. Communication Skills: Enhancing their communication skills, including active listening, giving and receiving feedback, and communicating with empathy and clarity.
  3. Conflict Resolution: Constructively managing conflicts within their teams and fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration.
  4. Decision Making: Developing effective decision making strategies by considering multiple perspectives, weighing the potential impact, and aligning decisions with organisational values and goals.
  5. Vision and Strategy: Clarifying their vision for the organisation or team, develop strategic plans, and communicate their vision effectively to inspire and align their team members.
  6. Leading Through Change: Navigating organisational change, adapting to new challenges and leading their teams through transitions with resilience and agility.
  7. Team Development: Strategies to build high-performing teams, fostering a culture of trust and accountability, and empowering team members to reach their full potential.

While these areas are common across all leaders, their impact is more keenly felt in critical areas such as cyber security when the defence of the organisation is at stake.

Based on my work with business leaders and my commercial experience, I believe that diversity of thought, experience, and background is key to fostering innovation and driving success in today's cyber-interconnected world.

Here are my top 5 leadership tips:

  1. Build Inclusive Communities: As a leader, I encourage and welcome all individuals from all walks of life, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, or background. Leading an inclusive community is about building mutual respect, open dialogue, and a shared commitment to learning and growth.
  2. Encourage Diverse Perspectives: As a Teaching Fellow, I value the richness of diverse perspectives and actively seek to incorporate them in the curriculum, in discussions, and in decision-making processes. I have found that embracing diversity broadens our understanding of complex issues and develops innovative solutions.
  3. Lead by Example: My mantra has always been that leaders should lead by example. They should set the standard for excellence, integrity, and ethical conduct. Our actions inspire others to follow suit and uphold the highest standards of professionalism and accountability.
  4. Encourage Collaborative Partnerships: I have actively engaged with stakeholders throughout my career. I recognise the value added and have espoused the power of collaboration. Stakeholders have provided valuable perspectives and unique insights that I might not have considered. Collaboration requires leadership, and by working across different sectors and with different stakeholders I have witnessed how leadership and collaboration can powerfully transform people's lives and thinking. Working together can amplify our impact and drive positive change in our personal and professional communities.
  5. Inspire & Empower: I aim to empower leaders and ignite passions to make a difference through my work as an executive coach. Regardless of whether I coach a seasoned executive or a rising star, my message is consistent, ‘leadership is not a point of arrival’; the work doesn’t stop, and we must continually work to develop ourselves to lead with confidence, compassion, and courage.

Cyber Leadership Symposium 2024

Lancaster University and Templar Executives would like to invite you to attend the Cyber Security Leadership Symposium 2024 on the 3rd and 4th July 2024.

This event brings together a community of cyber security leadership practitioners to share their practice and experience, to create a vision for cyber security leadership. This is the only event dedicated to the advancement of cyber security leadership where participants can learn and network with the best. Whether you are seeking progress in your career or to discover what it means to be a cyber security leader, this is the event for you. This event aims primarily at facilitating exchanges of experiences in using innovative leadership practice and formalising a network of professionals who are interested in cyber security leadership. It will cover a broad spectrum of topics, including new technologies, methods of thinking and broader global trends impacting on our security. Book Your Tickets Now!

Cyber Security Executive Master of Business Administration (CEMBA)

The CEMBA is a blended, part-time postgraduate programme that will provide middle and senior leaders with the expertise they need to manage cyber security skillfully in the digital age. It is the only MBA programme with provisional certification from the National Cyber Security Centre, the UK government's technical authority on cyber security.

This Executive MBA programme is delivered in partnership with leading global cyber security consultants Templar Executives, taught by international academic experts from Lancaster University Management School and the School of Computing and Communications. The practice-based approach blends cutting-edge academic research with industry best practices, upskilling the next generation of business leaders with the cyber tools to help future-proof their organisations and operate successfully in an increasingly complex digital world. Learn more about the NCSC Certified Degree accreditation

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The opinions expressed by our bloggers and those providing comments are personal, and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Lancaster University. Responsibility for the accuracy of any of the information contained within blog posts belongs to the blogger.

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