Leadership Foundation Program for Newer Leaders

Call for Expressions of Interest is now open, until July 16, 2021.

About the Program
The Leadership Foundation Program was launched in 2018, given strong feedback that this has been a critical gap at SFU. 

The Leadership Foundation Program is a comprehensive cohort-based management/leadership development program intended to equip newer leaders with the capacity, confidence and connections to succeed in their roles. The program is intended to help managers gain foundational knowledge, skills and tools to enhance leadership success, to create a strong peer network, and to contribute to a learning and leadership culture at SFU.

Read more about the Leadership Foundation Program in SFU News.

This is a cohort-based program, bringing together leaders from across the university, to learn together through interactive workshops and other program elements.  The program will be a blend of in-person and online learning sessions.  All participants will be required to be physically present for scheduled in-person sessions.

Modules were carefully selected based on best practice, core competencies and input from SFU leaders, and cover topics relating to leading self, leading teams and leading in the organization, including the following, among others:

  • Understanding Yourself as a Leader
  • Leading from the Intersections
  • Coaching & Communication Skills
  • Leading through Conflict
  • Understanding the University Environment
  • People Practices
  • Performance Development
  • Critical Thinking & Decision Making
  • Creativity & Innovation in the Workplace
  • Presentation Skills for Leaders
  • Leading Teams


In the Program, Participants Will:

  • Gain foundational knowledge, skills and tools that will enhance their leadership success.
  • Connect with and learn from colleagues from across the organization.
  • Set and work towards personal leadership development goals and plans.
  • Contribute to a learning and leadership culture at SFU.

Time Commitment

The Leadership Foundation Program will require the equivalent of approximately 1-2 days per month over 12 months (November 2021-November 2022, excluding July & August). Some sessions will be full days, and others will be half days.  As well, time will be required for additional program elements and assignments (e.g., self-reflections, pre-readings, small group meetings).

It is mandatory for participants to attend all sessions and complete all program components (with the exception of time booked for vacation, or illness). All in-person sessions will require everyone to be present in-person.  As much notice as possible will be given for scheduling purposes.

We welcome expressions of interest from candidates who meet the following criteria:

  • Has been in any management role for 5 years or less (at our outside of SFU)
  • Is a continuing SFU employee (APSA or APEX)
  • Is currently in a management/leadership role, with direct staff reports
  • Has leadership development or a related goal articulated in their Performance Development Plan
  • Can commit to engage fully in program elements and activities
  • Demonstrates willingness and commitment to one’s own learning and development
  • Has support from their manager for full participation in the program

Fees and Funding
The program is being funded through Human Resources at this time.

Registration Process

For Participants:
We invite leaders to submit an Expression of Interest, open until July 16, 2021.
Link: https://www.surveymonkey.ca/r/NHPGG5N

For Participants’ Supervisors:
The program requires full support from your supervisor. In order to finalize your application, please ensure your supervisor has provided their confirmation through the following link.
Link: https://www.surveymonkey.ca/r/NHPZYD8

Cohort Selection Process
Human Resources will review Expressions of Interest and create a cohort of approximately 25 individuals that represent a diverse cross-section of departments and roles from all VP portfolios.

If you have questions, please contact Tara Black, Director People Development (tblack@sfu.ca).

What Participants Have Said About the Program:

“I am different as a leader now than at the start of the program because of my increased self-awareness and acceptance.  The DiSC assessment and Understanding Yourself as a Leader session were invaluable in helping me recognize that there is more than one type/style of a successful leader.  This knowledge has helped to increase my confidence, and approach challenging situations in a more proactive manner.”

“Connecting with other leaders across the university!  This is the best gift of the program.  I found connection with others, even if their work is radically different from mine, we still share some similar challenges.”

“Through this program I learned early on that I didn’t need to be the one to have all the answers and that I needed to coach my team to get to the answers themselves or to work with others to find the answers. Once I realized that was a way to lead, I felt liberated and felt more capable to lead.”

“My most significant takeaways from the program are the importance of having the hard conversations, being a coach rather than a knowledge holder for my team, and effective leadership is intentional and requires ongoing commitment and work.”

“I'm loving the program. It's the synergy of connections amongst the cohort that happen in parallel with the sessions that is providing a real value-add on top of the content. Hearing common problems and discussing them is something we haven't had a forum to do anywhere else.”