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Effective leadership skills

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Developing your leadership capabilities can be challenging. Different theories and views about leadership come and go, and it’s hard to know which to put into practice. This course takes a critical – but constructive – approach to these different ideas; helps you identify those of most value to you; and enables you to develop your own leadership practices and skills. It’s suitable for managers in all sectors, at both first line and middle management levels, and will benefit both new and experienced managers and team leaders. It will also be valuable in developing leadership processes more widely within groups and teams.

Register for the course

This course is available for study in the countries shown. Fees may vary by country.

Start End Fee* Register
See description £445.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £445.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £445.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £445.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £445.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £445.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £445.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £445.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £445.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £445.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £445.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £445.00 Click to register

*Fees may vary by country.


What you will study

During this course, you will work through study materials that examine different ways of understanding leadership. This includes leadership traits, preferred leadership styles and matching leadership styles to circumstances, together with the ideas of leadership distributed within a group and leading across boundaries. Analysis of the different skills and capabilities required of leaders follows, enabling you to identify those you may need to develop to maximise your own leadership potential.

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Define leadership and identify the distinction between leadership and management.
  • Identify where you exercise leadership, or might do so, in your role.
  • Explain how context affects a person’s approach to leadership.
  • Identify (some) of your own strengths and development.
  • Critically assess a range of ideas about, and approaches to, leadership.
  • Identify a range of perspectives on leadership.
  • Understand the strengths and limitations of a range of approaches to leadership.
  • Identify your own strengths and development needs as a leader.
  • Understand the benefits of developing effective working relationships; recognising the need to understand yourself and your colleagues/manager.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of working as a virtual team.
  • Recognise the four major capabilities of leaders.
  • Understand the role of knowledge and networks in leadership.
  • Implement a realistic action plan for your further development as a leader.

The strong link between course learning and your work practice creates relevant, enduring and transferable outcomes. It requires no more than 30 hours of your time in total, over whatever period suits you. But the learning is far richer than more expensive one- to three-day workshops. Register online today and start tomorrow – no need to wait!

The course features the distinctive strengths of The Open University from its years of expertise in work-based learning:

  • The convenience of accessing its clearly presented and sequenced materials, activities and support whenever suits you and wherever you have access to the dedicated website – if you prefer, you can print key materials to work on them offline.
  • The support of an expert learning adviser who can clarify study materials, answer questions and help you relate the course to your specific needs.
  • A work-based activity helping you to connect the course to your individual and organisational context and needs. This is built up from short activities during the course, leading to a Personal Development Plan. At the end of the course you send this to the learning adviser, who provides personal feedback.
  • Certification of completion from the OU for those who complete the course. You can use this to demonstrate your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activity to your employer and/or professional body. (N.B. The course does not carry academic credit points.)


Although there are no formal academic requirements to study any of our CPD courses, you are expected to have some experience in the field and the course assumes a familiarity with the subject.

For each course you can register and begin at any time during the life of the course. You can study at your own pace and submit your work-based activity at any date before the final submission date for the course. Information about the final submission date is available when you register for the course.

If you have a disability

The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to talk to the Student Registration and Enquiry Service about support which can be given to meet your needs. If you are a new learner with the OU, make sure that you look at our website.

Study materials

What's included

All learning materials, exercises, study support and work-based activity are delivered entirely online.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Learner support

Expert, confidential learner support is available when you need it from a learning adviser, who will respond to you direct within 24 hours. Other support is available via the GB003 forum, library, StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.

Work-based activity

The work-based activity for this course is a written report and has been designed as an integrated ongoing activity which you submit at the end of your study. It will allow you to reflect on your learning and how to use it in your professional work.

Professional recognition

Successful completion of the course enables us to recognise your achievement of the course learning by issuing an OU certificate which you can use to document your commitment to continuing professional development in your personal portfolio, or to provide evidence to employers or professional body.

About this course:
Course code GGB003
Credit points This is a non-credit bearing course.

Your questions

Try our frequently asked questions.

Come and meet us at an event near you.

Or contact an adviser by Email or call +44(0) 845 300 60 90 +44(0) 845 366 60 35

Employers' questions

Contact Corporate Enquiries
Visit our website for employers or Email us