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New Approaches for Grooming Leaders

February 26, 2002
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Bayer Corporation has a pyramidal approach to developing leadership. At the base is an orientation program for every leader in the company. On the next layer is a partnership with the University of Notre Dame to teach management skills to staff members. At the top is a new three-week session aimed at improving executives' interpersonal leadership styles.

"We all have a good handle on the technical aspects of being a good manager," says Barbara Stelluto, manager of executive education and leadership for Bayer Corporation, a Pittsburgh-based subsidiary of the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG. "But times like this of turmoil and change require not only that you have good management skills but also that you're able to bring the best out in other people . . . and actually have people take a stake in the organization and be responsible for making it a success."

The three-week session, held at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina, is restricted to about 250 managers at or near the vice-presidential level and above. It is spread out in single weeks over the course of six months. About 120 Bayer executives have participated in the program since it was launched in June 2000. Leaders are expected to apply what they've learned to an actual project in the workplace. Their superiors are encouraged to support the new behaviors and help measure results, Stelluto says.

"What we do is ask them to pick two things that their new skills have impacted, and try to put dollars and percentages on the changes, if possible. But we'll also take anecdotal confirmation of how they've changed; we're tickled to have even that."

Workforce, December 2001, p. 46 -- Subscribe Now!

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