ING Commercial Banking in Moscow recently partnered with Vlerick Business School to develop the tailor-made ING Leadership Excellence programme. Julia Sosnovskaya, Human Resources Director at ING Commercial Banking in Moscow, explains.
“The course was targeted at our senior managers, all well-educated people with extensive experience both in their work and of management training. They can be quite critical and very demanding, so we needed to be able to offer a programme that really added value and presented new insights. And it had to home in on skills that they could immediately apply in the workplace.”
The first module, held in November 2011, looked at individual leadership skills. “Self-awareness and self-management were key topics during these first few days, along with insights into understanding people's characters and forms of communication. Our managers were encouraged to think about leadership styles and how these styles fit in with different working environments.” The second module, held in February 2012, put the concepts in a broader picture and looked at team leadership. “This module was more practical, giving the participants management tools to help them become more effective with their staff. It talked about empowerment, generating performance, group dynamics, and basically bringing out the best in people by recognising and applying their talents.”
Empathy and Dialogue
Basic talent management presents particular challenges in the very competitive Russian market. “Most people stay with a company for only three or four years, and finding the right way to retain talent in general is difficult. Developing people’s individual talents while they are with you is even trickier. Our people are generally very well trained in management skills but we saw a need to develop personal effectiveness. The Vlerick partnership enabled us to devise a course that would nurture a new generation of leaders, where the focus is more on empathy and dialogue. Where you influence your team and coach them so as to help them make their own decisions. The idea is not to teach or tell, but to enter into discussion, accept divergence of opinions and be individually different but effective together.”
The feedback so far on the programme reinforces its teachings – participants praise the lecturers' charismatic delivery, the course materials and content and the usefulness of the group dynamics in which discussion is encouraged. All in all, the programme was found to be inspiring and participants were convinced they would be able to take what they had learned and apply it in the workplace.