New master program in leadership to inspire courage

December 18, 2020

The majority of people in most countries do not trust their institutions “to do the right thing."

This alarming finding in a recent Edelman Trust Barometer is something that Royal Roads University aims to tackle with its new Master of Arts in Leadership program debuting in April 2021 and aimed at experienced organizational leaders at the mid and senior levels.

Kathy Bishop, assoc. prof. and program head for the MA Leadership, Executive Leadership Specialization and one of the program architects, says without trust it is difficult, if not impossible, to affect the change an organization needs to be successful. Leaders will need new skills and knowledge for success in the post-pandemic world already grappling with accelerating change because of burgeoning technology and other factors such as changing demographics.

Participants in the 36-credit program will experience first-hand RRU’s driving Vision:“Inspiring people with the courage to transform the world.” They can be expected to leave the program with the character and capabilities to enable effective, high performing cultures, says Bishop, adding “It is not possible to meet these times of accelerating and unpredictable challenges without changing organizational culture.”

Bishop says we need to expand the definition of what leadership means and how it can affect an organization. “It is about having leaders who are trusted by people, are respected, and can move with what crisis arises, and move forward in a good way. So, we are looking at supporting leaders who can build that trust back in because trust is a pathway to creativity and innovation ...We need leaders who can inspire collaboration within a larger organization; people who can adapt and positively influence their teams.”

To ensure the program fits real-world needs RRU is working with public, private, and not-for-profit sector organizations and there is already strong interest in the program by the BC Public Service Agency and other agencies to train the next generation of leaders.

Bishop says the RRU applied program is unique in Canada. “Ours has a values-based focus. A lot of programs focus on what leaders do. We focus on what they do and who they are. How they show they connect with people... how they create a shared purpose and take a whole systems approach. The program is more than just thinking about the how, leaders in this program learn through practicing leadership within the classroom and their organizations.

“In these new times we need leaders who are people-centred, values-based and can really inspire collaboration in organization. We need to have leaders who are thriving in changing environment; people who can stay the course through adverse challenges. Often people are promoted because they have done good work but then get into these senior positions and realize they need a totally different set of skills. This program will help them address those challenges, to lead in times of uncertainty, lead new employee demographics and advance diversity and equity.”

Anticipated participants are both people at the pinnacle of their career — deputy and assistance deputy ministers, director generals, presidents, CEOs, police chiefs and lieutenants — who already embrace lifelong learning as critical to their effectiveness as leaders, and those who are at the mid-to-senior level of their careers and want to advance their careers. It will be applicable to the public sector, corporate, academic and not-for-profit environments.

As an applied program, organizations supporting leaders to take the program can work with the program participant to develop a project that meets the needs of an organization.

Learn more about the Masters of Arts in Leadership, Executive Leadership Specialization program and entry requirements.