With fall upon us once more, we again hear the sounds of students in the Diag, laughter on South U, and cheering from the Big House. Just like every good football team needs an effective quarterback, so too does a startup if both are to be successful.

But what makes a successful leader?

Several qualities transcend environment, industry, and team size. Things like communicating effectively and having a clear sense of goals. So what are some skills an effective entrepreneurial leader should gain and how can you start developing them while still in school?

Here are just a few courses that can help you become an effective leader.

Organizational Management In Startups or “How to Build a Killer Team” 

Taught by Ted Dacko, with more than 43 years of experience in executive-level management and leadership, he understands first-hand how important it is to build a successful team.

You’ll learn the fundamentals of establishing and promoting a high-performing culture while learning best practices in recruiting for, motivating, and leading your organization. 

Maybe you have questions about vision, culture, strategy development, or the difference between the CIO and the CEO. Ted’s course will help you broaden your perspective of what a leader does to get a startup going, scaled, and funded.

Organization Values and Ethics

Developing “foundational” business ethics, the social responsibility of startups, the ethical dilemmas faced by entrepreneurs, and their impact on start-ups and the broader community are all qualities that Dr. Alison Bailey seeks to instill in her students.

With 20 years of senior-level human resources experience in the non-profit field, Dr. Bailey is an organizational psychologist who specializes in executive coaching, organizational development, and improving internal culture by incorporating sustainable diversity and inclusion practices into the workplace.

Preparing students to address ethical decision-making in the workplace by providing an opportunity to first analyze ethical dilemmas, concepts, and ideas to then develop individual and organizational strategies for addressing ethical competencies. Her students draw on insights from other courses, real-life experiences, and real-world companies. Being an ethical leader isn’t always easy, but your employees will respect your choices. Remember, most people quit bosses, not jobs.

Tech Inspired Business Models

Do you know how to construct a business model, and assess its fundability so you can bring your ideas to life in a sustainable and scalable way? What about cultivating an ability to tailor technology innovation towards a sustainable business model with modern-day revenue stream tactics?

Sounds like a lot of tech jargon, but in today’s ever-evolving technological world, learning how to utilize that technology to make strategic decisions about your operation is just as important as what your business does.

A good leader uses all the tools and resources available to them to decide the best course of action. Dr. Aaron Crumm’s work as a nuclear engineer has helped shape not only how he looks at energy, but the decisions he makes as the founder of his own company. By looking at the data and deciding what, if anything, should be automated, Dr. Crumm was able to keep his company privately held much longer than most energy startups. He tries to pass that same way of thinking along to his students.

Entrepreneurship Hour

Hearing the journey of various leaders can help give you perspective and insight into how to successfully weigh your options and make decisions. This group of founders, CEOs, venture capitalists and others take the time to impart their knowledge and experience so that students hear what it really takes to make it.

This weekly course invites speakers from several industries to share their Try, Fail, Risk, Do stories. Some of the best leaders are humble enough to admit when something didn’t work out or that they made a mistake. The important part is seeing if they learned from it.

Listening to each speaker, students learn one of the most important skills for a leader – the ability to really listen. Leaders have to listen to their employees, their clients, their mentors, their family. Not just hear, but really listen so that they can respond accordingly and with the best possible answer. Not only do the guests talk to students, they also listen and respond to student questions in a Q&A during the second half of each class. Oftentimes their responses to the student questions are more impactful than their prepared presentation.

Ready to Lead

This is only a small sample of the course offerings that can help you grow into a better leader. Employers are always looking for strong candidates with the skills to develop into team leads, managers, and supervisors within their company. Why not start your journey today by checking out all that the CFE has to offer at cfe.umich.edu/courses.

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