As Head of Wholesale Strategy and Projects at TPG Telecom, Abeer Al-Kharouf has seen firsthand how the pandemic has changed team dynamics. As a result, she wanted to build on her own leadership toolkit to prepare herself and her team for what’s to come.

But leading an already full life working and raising a family, Abeer quickly realised an MBA wouldn’t suit her schedule. So, she started researching shorter executive education courses that would provide the skill development she was looking for.

After a recommendation from several colleagues, Abeer enrolled in AGSM @ UNSW Business School’s General Manager Program (GMP), a unique immersive experience delivered over five days in Sydney’s CBD.

“The AGSM GMP is structured to teach us to be able to lead more strategically in very complicated and ambiguous environments, in a way that drives team performance in very different contexts.”

“The course taught me how to influence, negotiate and improve my professional impact regardless of my level in the organisation and it gave me tips on how to present myself in different situations to achieve this,” Abeer says.

New skills for fast application

The five-day intensive program is designed to challenge senior managers and strengthen their performance. Abeer said the structure was exactly what she was looking for and found she could return to work and implement these new skills and frameworks immediately.

“The format really worked for me. I was able to interact with a team of other general managers and gain expertise from different industries,” Abeer says.

“We realised that we’re all going through the same challenges despite coming from differing industries and sectors.”

While Abeer’s approach to leadership had organically changed as her organisation adapted to the impact of COVID-19, the GMP encouraged her to focus more on reflection and measuring progress and less on KPIs when trying to unpack complex solutions.

“Since the pandemic, the tactics I use to lead teams have changed. It’s less about me trying to control the situation and more about me leading by creating the best environment for my team, influencing rather than trying to control, and knowing when to mentor, guide and coach,” she says.

“Taking a week away from the business and coming together with other leaders was a very healthy and beneficial experience for me. And one of the main insights I’ll be taking away from the program is focusing more on reflective leadership, and actually dedicating time in my day to reflect on future approaches and strategies.”

Building on what Abeer has learnt throughout her career, she also says she will be taking new adaptive leadership concepts on board, including scenario planning, and a test-and-learn approach with her team.

“I will also practice being more silent when I run meetings and brainstorms, listening and asking the right questions rather than starting the conversation and sharing my point of view right away.”

Engage others: positioning yourself to drive change

Abeer also gained valuable insights into how much your personal presentation style can impact the outcome of a situation.

The GMP included sessions focused on how to master skills that ensure effective presentation of content, but also physical and voice-related techniques to help you connect and influence your audience.

With only 7% of communication done verbally, and voice and body language making up 38% and 55% respectively, the GMP includes sessions on how to master skills that ensure effective presentation of content. This encompasses physical and voice-related techniques to help connect and influence your audience.

“We were introduced to strategies that help get your key messages across in addition to engaging with people. There was a full day of preparation, presenting and giving each other feedback, which was very constructive and a fantastic learning experience,” Abeer says.

“Effective presentation at a senior leadership level is really important because it's a chance for leaders to firstly engage the team and excite them, and secondly ensure you're getting your message across, while grabbing their attention.”

After five days and nights of intense study, Abeer was happy she listened to her colleagues who recommended the GMP and she wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the course to any other senior leaders. Abeer is already looking into other AGSM Short Courses she can complete this year.

“The faculty were all extremely professional and knowledgeable, but most importantly they added real value. They all had their different styles, and I really resonated with the content. I gained extra experience and frameworks that I can implement in my day-to-day professional life,” she says.

“The AGSM GMP is a fresh and contemporary program – both the content and the caliber of the people I had the opportunity to network with were very impressive and diverse. It was definitely worthwhile, and I truly enjoyed it.”

To learn more about AGSM’s General Manager Program (GMP), click here.

To find out more about AGSM’s Executive Education, click here.

To find out more about AGSM @ UNSW Business School, click here.