What is the Leadership Incubator?

By Sunita Chambore, Student-led Learning Manager

One of the ways students can develop their leadership skills at LBS is by leading one of over 80 clubs. Leaders of these clubs can apply to join the Leadership Incubator, a platform for student leaders to discover, develop, and practice their leadership competencies. 

In its seventh year, the Leadership Incubator is a partnership between three teams at LBS: Experiential Learning, the Leadership Institute, and the Career Centre.  

The Leadership Incubator learning journey starts in October each year and takes students with leadership roles on an iterative collective exploration and experimentation process. An essential part of the Leadership Incubator encourages students to uncover their leadership values.  

Values and intention

Understanding your values as a leader allows you to tackle challenges, make decisions and take action with intention. There might only be a limited number of steps you can take to address any given challenge, but how you get there and how you leave people feeling will depend on your values. 

In the first Leadership Incubator workshop of 2021-22, students delved into what made them tick. As all leadership begins from within, they mapped out the values they know they possess and uncovered those that maybe unconsciously a part of them. The students worked in groups of three through a series of exercises where their potential values were reflected back to them. 

Uncovering leadership values in 10 minutes

First, individuals took it in turns to share a story in two minutes about someone they admire. This could be anyone, a family member, faculty, business leader, or friend. Whilst one of them shared their story, the other two group members were listening out for values. They jotted each one down on a post-it. 

Some of the values that came up for one of the groups included:

  • Achievement
  • Success
  • Compassion
  • Order
  • Recognition
  • Kindness

Second, everyone shared a story about a time when they sparkled. When did they last feel on top of the world? Where were they? What were they doing? Who were they with? As each person shared their story for two minutes, the other two wrote down each value they heard on a post-it. 

Finally, each individual had one minute to let off some steam and vent about what they found annoying in other people. The listeners flipped what they heard to extract a value. For example, if they heard ‘rudeness’, they would jot down ‘respect’, or if the person speaking found ‘greed’ annoying, they wrote down ‘fairness’. 

Making sense of values

After three rounds, each student had amassed several post-it notes! Working individually, they spread out all the post-its that were gifted to them by their peers. They went to work organising them into themes and then named each meta-theme. For example, if there were post-its with values such as collaboration, friendships, connection, the meta-theme might be ‘community’.

The Co-President of the LatAm Club, Daria Eimbcke Bosch MBA2022, took part in the session. She reflected on the importance of this exercise in understanding her values and appreciating those of others:

“I realised that freedom and having fun in the process are essential values to me. This was an interesting juxtaposition to drive and ambition, which I always knew were critical values of mine.”

Sam Vennin MBA2022, Healthcare Club Co-President, learned that the values he admired in others are the ones that he strives to acquire and display in his leadership practice. As a result of this workshop, Sam highlights the top three values he would like to take forward as a leader at LBS and beyond:

Empathy: to better understand the people I am leading and find ways to empower them to achieve their objectives and develop their skills.

Authenticity: to build trust with my team and never lose sight of my purpose. 

Impact-focus: to be a change agent in delivering projects and my team members’ development and career progression.”

Authenticity, which has been researched by LBS faculty, emerged as a popular value within the Leadership Incubator and was also one of Daria’s core values. The Leadership Incubator encourages students to reflect on their leadership style and the impact they want to have on the world. A vital component of leadership is understanding your values, so decisions and actions are thoughtfully taken.

This workshop was delivered as part of the Leadership Incubator, a platform for student leaders to discover, develop and practice their leadership competencies.

If you’d like to know more about the Leadership Incubator, please get in touch with student-led@london.edu. 

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