Essential Management Skills for Emerging Leaders

Companies across every industry are facing complex organizational challenges that require the rapid development of new and agile leaders. More than ever before, emerging leaders must quickly learn and deploy core management skills, develop a broad strategic perspective, take their leadership skills to the next level, and expand their professional and personal networks.

Presented over three months, this intensive program is designed to help new managers master core business concepts and build key skills in six subject areas, including leadership, strategy, marketing, communication, and negotiation. Participants will gain a cross-functional view through sessions led by instructors specializing in each subject area and through project-based learning.

Program Benefits

  • Master the core business areas every manager needs to know
  • Build organizational, team management, and networking skills
  • Understand how managers interact across business functions
  • Improve your collaboration and presentation skills
  • Develop a project that addresses an organizational challenge
  • Build peer support for your team's projects
  • Identify your operational and strategic gaps
  • Discuss leadership challenges and strategies with peers
  • Map your personal leadership and learning journey
  • Expand your professional and personal networks

Topics Covered

Develop a solid understanding of the core business areas every manager should know. Subjects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Leadership
  • Strategy
  • Communication
  • Marketing
  • Negotiation

The program also serves as a gateway to other Professional Development Programs at Harvard's Division of Continuing Education, where you can build on your foundation and develop advanced skills in key areas. After successfully completing this program, you become eligible for a 20 percent discount on future open-enrollment programs.

Who Should Enroll

This program is ideal for aspiring or new managers who are looking to rapidly increase their management skills and strategic perspective, taking on additional responsibility, and seeking to be effective in their organization. The program is also appropriate for individuals who are seeking an understanding of high-level business concepts in an intensive format.

Managers who currently hold a senior leadership position may be better served by one of our more targeted program offerings.

Active participation during all three months is required for successful program completion.

Project Component

As a participant in this program, you will complete a project that will provide a growth opportunity for you as an emerging leader in your organization. The project aims to:

  • Support your personal growth as an emerging leader
  • Align with the strategic priorities of your group or organization
  • Demonstrate your ability to apply something learned during the on-campus module.

You will begin to develop your project while on campus and continue to work on it over the course of virtual module II. You will receive feedback from your peers and instructors throughout your project development. Upon registering for this program, you should be thinking about how your development goals may translate into a project idea.

Begin your learning journey by reading articles and cases relevant to each of the core content areas covered on campus. Discover your top five leadership strengths as you complete an assessment in preparation for your initial online program session. During this first interactive

web conference with your lead instructor, you will also get to know your fellow participants virtually before arriving for your week at Harvard.

Online program session: fundamentals of learning, leadership strengths

  • Introductions
  • The three fundamental types of learning
  • Strengths and challenges as learners

Master concepts in leadership, strategy, communication, marketing, and negotiation (half day). This module includes daily debrief sessions, case studies, team exercises, and a personal project and presentation. By the end, you will have developed a project plan for addressing a challenge specific to your organization. Topics and instructors subject to change.


  • Knowing yourself
  • Managing yourself
  • Managing a team
  • Managing up and sideways


  • What is strategy?
  • What does strategy mean to the manager and organization?
  • Applying strategic thinking
  • Contributing to your organization's strategy as an emerging leader


  • Persuasion
  • Storytelling
  • Modern audiences
  • Presentation skills


  • Enhancing your organization’s marketing efforts
  • Promoting yourself as a leader
  • Using marketing tools in project proposals
  • Gaining management buy-in


  • Influencing authority
  • Difficult conversations

Fine-tune your individual project with your manager or mentor, build your developmental network, and make a presentation to your organization.

Online program sessions: developing your project

  • Initiating change in your organization, Kotter’s change model; managing up and across
  • Advising sessions with project facilitator
  • Using program material within your project
  • Follow-up sessions from topics covered on campus