Stepping Into Leadership

Stepping Into Leadership: Self Team and Organization

The Stepping Into Leadership program is designed for both supervisors and leaders in your organization who aim to improve their leadership and supervisory tools and skills. Based on a practical competency-based leadership development model and assessment, the program focuses on self, team, and organizational leadership skills and behaviors. The training also incorporates CliftonStrengths® principles that helps participants identify and utilize their personal strengths.

Applicants must commit to the entire 56 hours of instruction, scheduled over a 14-month period in a mix of in-person and virtual courses. Classes must be taken in sequential order as listed. Coursework, assigned prior to and throughout the program, will maximize the value of the class instruction.

What You Can Expect

  • Program content is sequential in nature and must be taken in order.
  • There will be homework between sessions for participants to apply the principles, skills and techniques on the job.
  • Participants will be partnered and asked to be in contact between sessions to discuss challenges, successes, questions, etc. This will help establish a professional network of leaders for performance support and encouragement.
  • Participants will set their own growth goals and track progress throughout the series.
  • Self-assessments will be used throughout the program to build self-awareness and complement the learning experience.
  • The program will have a competency and strengths-based foundation.
  • The program will focus on practical application of leadership research informed by the considerable experience of the instructors.
  • The program will use the D2L Brightspace learning management system for collaboration between participants and with their instructors.


Unit 1:  Building Self Leadership

Session 1 - Leadership Overview:  What is Leadership? What is Leadership Development (LD)? What role does LD play in an organization? The CliftonStrengths® assessment will be completed by all participants prior to the next session.

Session 2 - Workplace Impact:  Understand one’s work style and know how to integrate with others’ styles and approaches; explore how to harmonize effort to achieve the desired results.

Session 3 - Critical Thinking:  Explore the capacity for objective analysis and thoughtful evaluation of issues and information.

Session 4 - Emotional Intelligence:  Examine awareness of and ability to control emotions; discuss how to appropriately express emotion, and ways to manage relationships thoughtfully and empathetically.

Unit 2:  Exploring Team Leadership

Session 1 - Flexibility and Resilience:  Grow willingness to compromise, adjust to change, deal effectively with pressure, and remain optimistic and committed to successful outcomes.

Session 2 - Mastering Your Professionalism:  Recognize the importance of positive attitude, good judgement, and appropriate workplace behavior.

Session 3 - Leader/Follower Orientation:  Value and support followers and work to strengthen mutual trust and commitment to each other and organizational goals.

Session 4 - Effective Communication: Basic Communication Skills:  Speak and write clearly, concisely, and convincingly in a manner appropriate for the audience. Listen effectively and clarify information as needed.

Session 5 - Effective Communication: Crucial Conversations:  Handle difficult conversations and communicate effectively across differing life experiences and perspectives.

Unit 3:  Strengthening Team Leadership

Session 1 - Managing Conflict:  Manage and resolve challenging circumstances or disagreements in a constructive manner and prevent counter-productive confrontations.

Sessions 2 & 3 - Developing Others:  Coach others to their optimal performance by effectively delegating responsibility, offering ongoing feedback and providing learning opportunities.

Sessions 4 & 5 - Building Effective & Inclusive Teams:  Understand ways to inspire and foster team commitment, cooperation and coordination through increasing trust, facilitating conflict resolution and motivating team members to accomplish goals.

Unit 4:  Fortifying Organizational Leadership

Session 1 - Establishing Values and Vision:  Take a long-term view, build a shared vision with others and influence the translation of vision into action.

Session 2 - Strategic Thinking:  Formulate objectives and implement plans consistent with the long-term interests of the organization, capitalizing on opportunities and successfully managing risks.

Session 3 - Innovation & Change:  Recognize opportunities, encourage new ideas and innovations, and develop or improve products or services in response to change.

Session 4 - Influencing & Negotiating:  Effectively persuade others, build consensus, and gain cooperation to accomplish mutual goals.

Leadership Competency Assessment

Prior to class, all participants will complete the Leadership Development: A Competency-Based Self-Assessment©. It is recommended that a co-worker or supervisor complete the corresponding Co-Worker Assessment© on the participant to establish a richer performance baseline. Participants and co-worker/supervisor will retake the assessment at completion of the series to identify professional growth.

The Schedule

Participants will be required to take all classes in the order presented. The program begins and ends with 2-day in-person classes, and between will meet monthly in a virtual setting. Having virtual offerings allows the group to touch base more frequently and apply what was learned between classes.

The participants will start in one group and remain with that same group through completion. For a complete list of class dates, select the group below:

Group 4—April 11, 2023 start date  (closed for new enrollment)
Group 5—October 4, 2023 start date  (closed for new enrollment) 
Group 6—April 24, 2024 start date  (closed for new enrollment) 

Program Fees

Members Per Person:  $3,700 full program
Non-Members Per Person:  $4,980 full program

The program fee provides instruction, access to class materials and refreshment breaks for in-person classes. By registering for this event, participants are committing to the full program. Once registered, participants will automatically be enrolled in future classes.

Technology Requirements

Due to the nature of this program, use of a webcam with microphone and speaker is required.

About the Instructors

Dana Haagenson spent over a decade in the software industry, serving in individual contributor and leadership roles from product development to product management/strategy to human resources. As a professor at M State, she teaches students ranging in age from Gen Z to baby boomer in the areas of human resources and accounting.

Dana also develops and delivers customized leadership, team and personal development sessions for organizations across various industries. As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, Dana has coached over 1,000 individuals and teams in discovering and harnessing the power of their individual and collective strengths to achieve both personal and professional strength.

She earned an Accounting degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead and is a CPA, as well as Certified Professional in Human Resources.

Steve Wischmann is the owner of Horizon Performance Solutions, LLC, a leadership and organizational development consulting company specializing in growing professional capacity and sustained success in people and teams. He retired at the rank of Captain after three decades of service in the U.S. Coast Guard. His career included several command assignments, executive positions at the Department of Homeland Security and numerous operational assignments including two high-Artic NATO support deployments.

Steve has an M.A. in Public Policy and Management with dual concentrations in policy analysis and public management. He served for six years as an adjunct professor at Hilbert College in Hamburg, NY, teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses in business management and public administration. Steve has extensive background in providing organizational and workforce development strategies and programs for small businesses and non-profits, corporate teams, and government agencies. 

How to Register

Current openings are for Group 6 which begins April 24, 2024. See the class schedule and register on our website or download a printable brochure. Class size is limited so early registration is recommended.


Contact Rita Kelly by email or phone 763-746-0707.