Skip to Main Content
Maxwell School
Maxwell / Leadership Institute

In­-house, Customized Leadership Development Programming: Capacity Statement 


The Transnational NGO (TNGO) Leadership Institute is a public, open enrollment leadership development program, which is housed in the Transnational NGO Initiative.  Staff and faculty who are part of the Leadership Institute are able to design and deliver customized, in-house senior leadership development programming for individual TNGOs. We also offer advisory services regarding the development of in-house leadership programs. We take customization seriously, and prefer to develop long-term relationships in which the leadership work is embedded in other forms of collaboration.

Our philosophy: we apply theory-­‐based and empirically tested leadership concepts which are adaptable to different cultural and organizational contexts. First, the focus is on situational leadership concepts: the notion that there is no one approach to leadership, but that good leadership is about the particular match between the individual leader and their style and traits, the culture of the organization, the organization’s external context, and the problem at hand. Second, good leadership consists of the ability to discern and use different frames towards management and leadership to expand options for action and make intelligent choices. Within this framework, we focus on what distinguishes leadership from management, while emphasizing the need for both.

We emphasize three leadership dimensions:

1. Individual: Understanding and anticipating the effects of individual leadership styles on decision-making related to transition issues and the "leap issues" which incoming leaders need to grapple with;

2. Organizational: Developing a deep appreciation for organizational and (cross) sectoral challenges and opportunities from a "bird’s eye view" of top leadership; and

3. Environmental and political: Understanding the need to balance, shape, negotiate and influence the external environment, external constituents, political actors, but also values, vision, organizational culture, symbolic and political leadership requirements internal to the organization.

Our training style is a mix of presentation of content and peer based learning, including hands-on, participatory application of concepts through individual assessments and small group work on cases, simulations and discussion questions. Leadership issues are carefully analyzed and weighted in environments often shaped by competing values and priorities.

For more information including references, please contact Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken, Director, TNGO Initiative, tmbruno@maxwell.syr.edu; phone +1.315.443.5073.