Developing Leaders Series

Developing Leaders Series

Leadership Development

Business Sherpa Group created a series that provides high quality leadership development, designed specifically for SMEs.

In the Developing Leaders Series (DLS) and Developing Leaders Series North (DLS North), the most important leadership competencies are covered in three levels, each four sessions long. Our goal is to help next generation leaders succeed by providing training and a community to lean on.

Upcoming Series

DLS 2023 registration is open!

In the upcoming series, we will be offering all three levels which cover contemporary leadership topics (see details below). Click ‘request schedule information here’ to learn more until registration is open.

Level 1

Level 1:

What is your leadership style and how can you be most effective in leading your team? How can you leverage those around you to effectively deliver on your Vision?

This session will use the results from your INSIGHT assessment (done prior to session start) to help you understand your preferences in working with other people and how that can work for you or against you in many cases. We will consider your style by looking at four traits:

  1. Getting Your Way: How you express your thoughts, present ideas and assert yourself (Direct vs Indirect)
  2. Responding to People: How you approach and respond to others, particularly groups of people (Reserved vs Outgoing)
  3. Pacing Activity: How quickly you take action and make decisions (Urgent vs Steady)
  4. Dealing with Details: How you structure your time, carry out projects and handle details (Unstructured vs Precise)

The session will also explore the following:

  • how the environment (especially stressful situations) affect your behaviour and may lead to overuse of your strengths
  • how to communicate better with team members having the same, opposite or different styles
  • how to work better with your leader/boss
  • how to improve your team effectiveness

Level 1:

Communications and Influence will focus on the many communication styles and how a leader can effectively communicate with their team, their peers and senior executives.

There are many communication styles in the workplace. How can you be effective in your role and what communications strategies and techniques can be used to achieve the desired results? What types of influence can you utilize to get the best results and what are the risks associated with each of these approaches? These questions covered in this session.

Level 1:

All managers have to meet organizational objectives, not just for themselves but for their whole team. This session provides a framework for setting organizational, team and personal objectives.

Having performance objectives identified, we then outline some techniques, approaches and tools to effectively manage the organization, team and individual activities to achieve the desired objectives. Objectives and Key Results (OKR) methodology is outlined and practiced.

The session will also aim to answer:

  • What do you do if objectives are not being met? How do you get things back on track?
  • What should you do if there is a major external change that negatively impacts the performance of the individual, team or organization?

This session will include frameworks, approaches and tools which can be beneficial for any team leader.

Level 1:

Conflict can happen whenever there is a disagreement between two people. Defined, a conflict is “a clash or struggle that occurs when a real or perceived threat or difference exists in desires, thoughts, attitudes, feelings, or behaviours”.

How we manage conflict impacts how effectively we move through it. The best organizations leverage disagreements to have wholesome discussions, which can lead to the best outcomes for the organization.

The session will be interactive and includes tips and tools to effectively deal with conflict in the workplace and personal life.

Level 2

Level 2:

As a senior manager how many decisions do you make every day, and have you considered that even when deciding to not make a decision today that you are making a decision to defer?

Effective decision making is a complex process, especially when it involves many other people. In this session, we will explore some well-proven decision-making frameworks, and practice applying them in the current uncertain times.

Frameworks and models discussed include the Eisenhower matrix, SMART goals, and the John Whitmore model. These tools and methodologies can be beneficial when making strategic decisions for your organization and yourself.

Level 2:

It is important that all organizations manage their financial resources effectively in order to deliver on their mission. Most organizations today employ or contract financial experts, including bookkeepers, accountants, comptrollers, or Chief Financial Officers (CFO), to deal with the details of managing money flows, preparing financial statements, and filing government information and tax returns. However, it is important that all senior managers in these organizations have a basic understanding of financial statements, audit procedures, and reporting requirements.

This session gives non-financial managers the necessary understanding of financial terminology, required procedures, and reporting requirements. The responsibilities of both the Board of Directors and management for financial reporting, as well as risk assessment and management procedures, will also be covered.

Level 2:

Leaders need to be able to negotiate in order to secure the people and resources to effectively lead their organization. Many situations require that you utilize advanced negotiating techniques, and this session will explore some of these approaches. We will discuss soft and hard negotiating, and identify some of the pitfalls of these approaches. We will then move on to principled negotiation or negotiation on the merits.

This approach includes:

  • Separating the people from the problem.
  • Focusing on interests, not positions.
  • Generating a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do.
  • Insisting that the result is based on an objective standard.

Finally, the session will explore some of the more complex situations, like:

  • What if the other party is more powerful?
  • What if they won’t focus on the merits?
  • What if they use dirty tricks?

Level 2:

Most funders, whether governments, foundations, or other agencies, now require that their funding recipients have a strategic plan. However, we would argue that this is not even the most important reason to have a strategic plan in place.

This session will answer the following questions:

  • Why is a Strategic Plan important? What are the benefits?
  • Are Value, Vision, and Mission statements required? How important are they?
  • Who should be involved in the process?
  • Should you develop the Plan internally, or get external guidance?
  • What are the major phases in the process, and what is involved in each phase?
  • What is the Board of Directors role?
  • How does the plan get reviewed, approved, and communicated? How do you get buy-in, and is that important?
  • How often should the Plan be reviewed and updated?

This session will include a number of tools to aid in the development of a comprehensive strategic plan, including templates and approaches to developing Values, Vision, and Mission statements, conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, environmental scan, identifying stakeholders, strategic actions (with owners and timelines), and a communications and engagement plan.

Level 3

Level 3:

In this session, the focus will be on leaders’ role in creating a company culture that supports business goals and how company culture affects employee satisfaction and retention.

This is an interactive session that will challenge participants to think about how company culture affects employee satisfaction and retention as well as a leader’s role in creating a culture that supports your organization’s business goals and mission. Peers will reflect on their respective organizations as well as on the best practices of leading culture focused organizations.

This session will cover the following:

What do we mean by company/organizational culture?

How does culture happen – by chance? by design?

What does a desirable culture look like in your organization?

Why care about workplace culture?

What is your role in defining, articulating, building, promoting and reinforcing culture?

At what pace can we expect to change/enhance organizational culture?

What everyday culture building activities can be implemented today?

Level 3:

Leading a remote team involves unique challenges and opportunities. Managers struggle with ‘less visibility’ into their employees’ daily activities and employees miss the interactions that spark creativity.

This workshop is designed to give managers the tools to successfully lead high-performing remote teams. Participants will learn about the strategic advantages of remote work, defining success based on outcomes, implementing new communication tools, and fostering an environment that promotes wellness.

This session will cover the following:

• Adapting to Remote Work and New Ways of Working

• Performance Management: Defining Success on Outcomes (not activities)

• Choosing and Implementing New Communication Tools

• Team Building on a Remote Team

• Wellness on Remote Teams: Strategies for Balance

Level 3:

Coaching is a specific leadership skill that uses active listening and powerful questions to support the development of others. Rather than telling others what to do, coaching builds capacity in others to make decisions, solve problems, and perform at a higher level.

This workshop introduces participants to a step-by-step methodology to having a coaching conversation. Participants will have the opportunity to practice this methodology as well as how to craft powerful questions to use when coaching.

Topic overview:

• Coaching vs Managing: Benefits to Individual and Team Performance

• Active Listening

• Steps to Having a Coaching Conversation

• Asking Powerful Questions

• Selecting a Mentor and Approaches to Maximize Impact

Level 3:

Delivering effective feedback is an essential skill for any professional environment. Feedback helps us improve performance, build cohesive teams, and meet our goals. We often avoid giving constructive feedback because of the potential for having a negative impact on relationships with colleagues. However, giving quality feedback can help foster positive work environments.

In this workshop you will gain simple and effective tools to make giving and receiving feedback a positive experience. Participants will use a model to practice giving that is specific, objective and non-judgemental.

Topic overview:

• The Role of Feedback in High Performing Teams

• Barriers to Giving and Receiving Feedback

• Judgements vs Observations

• Giving Feedback Model

• Preferences for Receiving Feedback

• Receiving Feedback as an Opportunity for Growth


These interactive half-day leadership sessions are designed to provide leadership education for any team members within SMEs, including not-for-profits, and facilitate new connections with peers. The sessions are delivered by leadership development experts with broad experience who will cover a range of contemporary leadership topics.

The sessions are structured to be a complementary series, with each session covering a separate topic and are a complete lesson in their own right. Together, the sessions provide a sound base of knowledge on key competencies that will help any growing leader feel confident and capable.


The DLS/DLS North were designed for any team member who wishes to grow their leadership skills. Regardless of where you are within your organization, if you are interested in developing and expanding your leadership skills as well as beginning to plan for succession, these sessions will benefit you.

The DLS North is designed specifically for those working in northern Canada by focusing on the unique realities of northern communities.

Similarly, the DLS tailors business challenges to the southern landscape and is best suited for professionals in this region.

Each half-day session will be limited to 10 to 12 participants to allow for an interactive and engaging learning environment that facilitates connections with peers on leadership challenges and goals.


Whether you’re curious to learn a bit more about the Developing Leaders Series or want to receive updates when new programs launch, connect with us below! 

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