Great leaders are made

Executive leader stands in front of conference room table

When you understand your own leadership style you help your team—and the entire organization—become more effective. Designed for professionals at all levels, the Duke Executive Leadership Program draws on research in organizational behavior, sociology, psychology, and political science to support your individual development of leadership skills.

Duke Executive Leadership Program Overview

The Duke Leadership Program is designed to transform senior executives into impactful leaders through experiential learning and professional development. It focuses on honing decision-making skills, strategic competencies, and leadership styles to drive organizational success. Participants engage in real-world applications, interactive sessions, and case studies led by distinguished faculty. The leadership development program emphasizes a personalized approach with mentoring and action plans, fostering both professional and personal growth. Graduates join an elite network of alumni, enhancing their career trajectory and leadership effectiveness.

Key Highlights:

  • In-depth leadership training.
  • Experiential learning with real-world applications.
  • In-person mentoring and bespoke action plans.

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Amplify Your Leadership Skills

The Duke Executive Leadership Program is designed to amplify your leadership capabilities through a blend of experiential learning, expert mentoring, and real-world simulations. This program leverages a holistic approach to leadership development, integrating advanced decision-making frameworks, strategic problem-solving techniques, and a focus on personal leadership styles. Participants are immersed in a dynamic learning environment where they develop the tools and know-how to navigate complex business landscapes with confidence and agility. The program's design connects executives to their full potential, enabling business leaders to drive organizational success and achieve their career goals.

Gain the Executive Edge

After going through a Six Domains of Leadership 360-degree assessment, administered by our executive coaching partner, you’ll explore the different ways you lead and identify individual business challenges and opportunities. Throughout the program you’ll work one-on-one with an executive coach to interpret feedback and develop a customized plan to achieve your goals.

“Going to Duke’s campus for the leadership program was helpful because mentally it forced me to leave the office behind and focus on learning as much as I could from the experience. I most appreciated learning more about contextual and inspirational leadership. For example, it’s important for employees to understand how their work fits into the context of the company’s strategy. As leaders, we should be explaining WHY we’re needing people to take on certain tasks/responsibilities. If they don’t know why, then they may not do their jobs well.” —Daniel Huffman, Manager, Building Products Company

The ROI of Duke’s Executive Leadership Certificate

Participants in the Duke Leadership Program see measurable improvements such as promotions and salary increases, reflecting their enhanced value to their organizations. These tangible benefits stem from the program's real-world curriculum, which equips executive leaders with advanced skills in strategic thinking, communication, and decision-making. Graduates often find themselves better positioned for higher-level roles, as their ability to lead effectively and drive results is significantly amplified.

The ROI of the Duke Executive Leadership Program extends beyond traditional metrics, offering unique benefits that amplify its value. Participants report significant gains in strategic thinking, problem-solving, and negotiation skills, which directly enhance organizational efficiency and innovation. The executive program also fosters emotional intelligence and resilience, critical for navigating complex leadership challenges. Alumni cite improved stakeholder relationships and a stronger influence within their organizations as key outcomes. Additionally, networking opportunities create lasting professional connections, further boosting career advancement and opening doors to new opportunities. These unique ROI features underscore the transformative impact of the program on both individual careers and broader organizational success.

Who Should Attend Duke’s Executive Leadership Training?

The leadership training program is appropriate for anyone who leads and influences others in their work. Senior leaders and senior managers who currently have or anticipate having leadership responsibilities, as either an executive or a manager, will gain the most from this curriculum.

Those trying to exercise effective leadership often report feeling caught between groups that have different expectations. We naturally think of being caught in the middle as involving middle managers needing to address competing demands from a boss and subordinates. However, this is much more broadly applicable. For example, CEOs report feeling caught between the expectations of their senior team and their board of directors, or between their employees and regulators. Similarly, middle managers report feeling caught between the inconsistent expectations of different departments. In this session, we will look at the challenges faced by those trying to effectively of lead ‘in the middle’, as well as options for how to address those challenges.


More About the Executive Leadership Development Course


Individual Action Planning

Before starting the program, you’ll identify a set of colleagues to complete a survey which informs our 360-degree assessment of your leadership style. Along with information faculty gather directly from you, this data will become the foundation of your program experience, providing a framework to discuss your leadership style and identify your unique challenges and opportunities. Each day in the program you’ll meet with your assigned coach, a specialist in executive planning as well as the 360-degree leadership assessment. Together you’ll build a personalized action plan with short- and long-term objectives. You’ll create strategies for specific work situations, such as a new assignment or change initiative. You’ll also establish a behavioral plan for your long term leadership performance.

Six Domains of Leadership

illustration of six domains of leadership hierarchy

The program’s intellectual foundation is the Six Domains of Leadership model, developed by professors Sim Sitkin and Allan Lind. This framework begins with your innate strengths, helps you understand how you are performing in different dimensions, and provides guidance on developing solid and enduring leadership behaviors. As you engage with each element, you’ll start to see the interplay between different domains and how you can build on them to become a more effective leader. The model addresses the full range of skills that are needed to exercise strong leadership and covers the breadth of different leadership scenarios, including:

  • Personal Leadership – Building a leadership persona from your personality and values
  • Relational Leadership – Forging sound relationships with those you lead
  • Contextual Leadership – Providing coherence and team identity
  • Supportive Leadership – Protecting your people
  • Inspirational Leadership – Motivating exceptional effort
  • Responsible Leadership – Ensuring your leadership is balanced and ethical
  • Configurational Leadership – Adapting your leadership style
  • Leading Change - Apply the leadership domains to the move from old to the new
  • Co-leadership – Sharing leadership authority

Program Objectives

The curriculum breaks down the act of leadership into easily digestible scenarios. Over 5 days you’ll learn how to:

  • Create and project your vision, values, and expertise
  • Make your leadership style more intentional and strategic—don’t rely on intuition alone
  • Build coherence by clarifying roles, rules, and processes
  • Serve as a source of optimism and enthusiasm while eliciting excellence and innovation
  • Provide the resources and support to encourage savvy risk taking
  • Infuse responsibility, ethical actions, and balance in an organizational setting
  • Recognize ways to lead effectively under a variety of conditions/circumstances
  • Lead during times of change
  • Leading your organization through the challenge of crises
  • Create an effective leadership team

Prepares for a 5-day immersion in leadership development. Drawing insights from participants in different industries and functions, faculty engage you in lively debate and analysis. A combination of individual and team assignments ensure you can put what you’re learning into practice. Innovative exercises help you understand different concepts in a visceral way and create new dimensions in your learning. You’ll also spend significant one-on-one time with your leadership coach, working through feedback in your 360-degree personal assessment and developing an action plan.

Sample Schedule

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Check-in Available

Program Introduction
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Day 1

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Personal & Relational Leadership
8:00 AM - 12:30 PM

SDLS Overview & Applying What You Learn
12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Lunch & SDLS Review
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Experiential Exercises & Debrief
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Coaching & Workbook Planning
4:00 PM - 7:15 PM

Dinner & Video Case
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Day 2

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Contextual Leadership
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Lunch & OCI Planning
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Inspirational & Supportive Leadership
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Coaching & Workbook Planning
5:00 PM - 8:15 PM

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Day 3

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Responsible Leadership
8:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Trust Exercise
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Configurational Leadership, Video Case & Debrief
1:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Optional Campus Tour
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Coaching & Workbook Planning
5:00 PM - 8:15 PM

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Day 4

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Leading Change
8:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Video Case
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Leadership During Crisis
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Individual Reflection/Planning (PDP & OCI) 
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Coaching Teams & OCI Presentations
4:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Celebration Dinner
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Day 5

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Co-Leadership & Leadership Teams
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Program Review
10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Evaluations & Program Close
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Program Registration Calendar

Registration Cost
Registration deadline
August 24, 2024
Advanced Registration
Advanced Registration Price available through July 28, 2024
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Client Success Stories

Leadership Development

Shane Smith from Jabil with a group of people
Skills gained in the Duke Leadership Program and other Duke Executive Ed programs helped this manufacturing senior executive lead his team through unprecedented pandemic challenges—and continue to pay off long after.

Program Location and Accommodations

JB Duke Hotel Fuqua Executive Education
During your time in Durham, you’ll live and learn in the four-star JB Duke Hotel, a contemporary and tranquil retreat on Duke’s campus with state-of-the-art learning facilities.

Duke Executive Education

Program Calendar

JB Duke Hotel Fuqua Executive Education
Explore our upcoming program offerings.

Client Success Stories

Leadership Development

Fuqua Exec Ed students
How one COO improved performance and communication on his leadership team with the help of the Duke Leadership Program.

Leadership Traits

What does Dean Bill Boulding mean by triple threat leadership?

Access this HBR article now to read about the trait so critical today.



Duke Leadership Program vs. Duke Management Program

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Fuqua professor Sim Sitkin

Sim Sitkin

Sim B. Sitkin is Michael W. Krzyzewski University Professor, Professor of Management and Public Policy, Faculty Director of the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics, and Director of the Behavioral Science and Policy Center at Duke University.  Professor Sitkin has extensive, worldwide consulting and executive education experience with many corporations, nonprofit, and government organizations, including Alcoa, American Airlines, Cisco Systems, Deutschbank, Ericsson, PwC, Siemens, and the U.S. Department of Justice. His research focuses on leadership and control systems, their influence on risk taking, accountability, trust, learning,  and innovation, and how they empower organizational members to become more capable of change and innovation.  His most recent books are Organizational Control, The Six Domains of Leadership, and The Routledge Companion to Trust.


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Fuqua professor Allan Lind

Allan Lind

Allan Lind is the James L. Vincent Professor of Leadership at Fuqua. His teaching interests center on leadership and global management issues, while his research agenda includes the study of leadership, organizational fairness, business relationships, organizational behavior, and conflict management. Professor Lind’s consulting and professional experiences include work with Siemens, bioMerieux, Areva, URS-Washington Division, Deutsche Bank, Glaxo Smith Kline, Micron Technologies, and the U.S. Federal Judiciary.

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Registration Instructions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Certificate Requirements: Attendance to the Duke Leadership Program and three electives within a three year period. More