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Ground-Breaking Programme for County's Top Business Leaders Launched

A programme designed to develop Cumbria's next generation of business leaders got underway this week.

Leader to Leader is a ground-breaking initiative run by Centre for Leadership Performance.

The eight-month programme is aimed at senior leaders who want to improve their performance.

They work alongside counterparts in other businesses to learn from each other and share best practice.

It provides them with a better understanding of the type of leader they are and where they need to grow.

The fourth cohort to embark on Leader to Leader began their studies yesterday with a two-day residential in the Lake District.

The group include managers from GSK, Iggesund, Nuvia, Doosan Babcock, and Sealy UK. Beverley Stothart, functional head of commercial and business development for Cumbrian firm DRS, has already completed the programme.

She said: "It's unique. It has a nice style about learning, more practical, it's about developing people skills as well leadership skills.

"We went down on the first day, assuming it was going to be one of those courses you just have to get through.

"But by day two we all realised we were in for a special journey. It has been a really supportive group."

She believes the experience has left her a better manager, adding: "It showed what is a good leader.

In my head I thought I had to be fantastic at everything. It actually comes down to one or two areas.

"If you're really one strong in one area that still makes you a good leader. It takes the pressure off at being good at everything."

Sharon Nixon, project manager at the Centre for Leadership Performance, has been involved in Leader to Leader programme since the first intake in 2013.

She said: "I get to know the delegates and can see first-hand how powerful this programme is at developing leadership.

"It offers a highly individual learning journey with time for reflection, observation and application of learning back in the workplace."

The Centre for Leadership Performance is a not-for-profit company based in Cockermouth, working to develop Cumbria's leaders.

It also runs Dream Placement — a scheme that allows sixth formers and college students to shadow senior managers for a week — and Bright Stars, which introduces primary school children to the world of business.

Another intake in the Leader to Leader programme is scheduled for early 2016.

Places cost £3,500, although some science-based businesses are eligible for funding for up to half the cost.

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In Cumbria, November 24, 2015

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