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Richard Gaston

Head of Knowledge at Addleshaw Goddard

Manchester Leadership Development Programme

What interested you in taking part in the Manchester Leadership Development Programme?

I’d been in my career for 20 years and have been in my current role for ten years, so I started to think about what I have learnt, and what I wanted to do next. I was somebody who had never had any formal management or leadership programme training at university, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to reflect on myself as a manager. The programme has taught me a lot about reflection techniques and I have taken inspiration from the tutors and other delegates that I’ll definitely be taking back to my role.

Is there one topic on the course which resonates with you?

I’ve learnt about a concept called ‘an incomplete leader’ and that’s really resonated with me. It’s encouraged me to think about how to calm some of my perfectionist tendencies and maybe think differently about leading in a team environment by looking for talent in my own team to fill gaps so that we’re leading together.

The module about innovation and strategy was also really interesting to me as it’s easy to be intimidated by the word ‘strategy’, but a really crucial part of being an effective leader is being able to shape, communicate and deliver against a strategy effectively for your organisation.

Thanks to the programme, I now have a strategy document that I am really happy with, and very proud of, and is increasingly aligned to the needs of the organisation.

What were your motivations for applying to the Manchester Leadership Development Programme and why did you choose Alliance Manchester Business School in particular?

Now being 20 years into my career, it was really important for me to test some of the learned experiences I’d accrued over the course of my career against the theory to see what I could be improving on as a manager. This programme felt like a very sensible way for me to re-engage with the blend of academic and practical learning around management too.

What impact has the programme had on your current role?

You wouldn’t necessarily predict this as a benefit from the programme, but I took part in lots of great conversations with some of the other participants and there was lots of shared learning and cross fertilisation of expertise, ideas and knowledge. Through this programme I think you can guarantee that you’ll come across people that have really useful stuff to teach you about problems that you’re facing in your own organisation through the lens of a completely different sector.

What advice would you give to professionals that are thinking about joining the Manchester Leadership Development Programme?

I’d say it’s definitely worth being prepared for the time commitment it takes to be part of this programme as that’s how you’ll get the most worth out of it. It’s such a credible course that sold itself and the benefits of me completing it to my organisation, so it’s definitely worth it!