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Delft University of Technology

Advanced Leadership for Engineers: Leading Teams, Organizations and Networks

Delft University of Technology via edX Professional Education

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This professional education course is designed for engineers either currently holding a management position or preparing for one. If it’s your ambition to become a truly, effective leader, this course taught by internationally renowned experts in the field will help you to develop the skills you need to effectively lead organizations, projects and people to successful outcomes.

Why leadership for engineers? Engineers have unique mindsets that give them the potential to be highly competent business leaders. As leaders, engineers have clear advantages: they are analytical, technically skilled, project-based, good with numbers and well-used to problem-solving.

However, engineers cannot rely on this skillset alone when exercising leadership in today’s world. The problems business leaders are required to deal with are often unstructured and lack a single correct solution. The increasingly non-hierarchical nature of our world complicates this further. Problems have to be solved within complex networks of actors, each with their own interests and perspectives.

In this business and management course you will learn how to develop and apply a new mindset for leadership – a process-based mindset - through mastering captivating concepts and engaging in challenging assignments. There are risks associated with this new type of mindset and the course will show how they can be managed effectively. An integrated approach combining elements of the more common project-based and the process-based mindsets will be presented.

You will learn how to lead in an organization of autonomous knowledge workers and find the answers to questions such as: “How should you deal with information asymmetry?” “How can you deal with resistance?” “How to build trust with players with other interests?”

You will gain experience of leading groups and learn to define roles and norms as well as how to deal with group dynamics such as conflict and cooperation. Furthermore, you learn how to motivate group members to ensure successful group performance.

The content of the course is diverse and includes videos, real-world assignments and practical skills such as negotiation and dealing with group issues. You will also have the opportunity to exchange cases and experiences with the course staff as well as with like-minded professionals who are also seeking to develop their leadership skills just like you.


Week 0 – Introduction & alignment
The first week of this course starts with a non-obligatory part called ‘week 0’. This part will be a recap of the first two weeks of the MOOC ‘Leadership for Engineers’ in which you will be introduced to the process-based mindset. This mindset is required for leading in a dynamic, complex world with multiple players who have different interests and uncertainties. If you have already completed the MOOC Leadership for Engineers, you can skip week 0.

Week 1 – Strategies in networks
The course starts with leadership on network level. In hierarchies the standard project management tools often work well, but leading in a complex and interconnected network requires skills which go beyond project management. The most important question which will be answered this week is: “How to deal with different stakeholders”?

Week 2 – Trust in networks
Week 2 will show the importance of trusting others and being trusted by others. You will learn the rules of the game, meaning the do’s and don’ts, of operating in and leading a network are explained.

Week 3 – Leading in an organization
Week 3 will focus on leading in a knowledge intensive organization and will help you deal with the information asymmetry resulting from specific complexities in organizations such as professionalism, variety of managers and negotiation dynamics.

Week 4 – Leading a team
The focus in week 4 lies on leading and especially on the soft skills which are required to lead a team. Based on the theory of Tuckman you will gain insights into team dynamics in the different phases a team goes through. Different dynamics require a different approach from the team leader,

Week 5 – Recap & final exam
This will give a short recap of the content of the course and end with a final exam (multiple choice questions) in which your knowledge of the different topics will be tested.

Taught by

Hans de Bruijn, Gerdien de Vries and Dr. H. G. van der Voort


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