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Leadership Essentials

Acquire Practical Tools
and Proven Strategies.


As a management concept, leadership is unrivalled in its ability to spark passionate debate. Although the topic has been popular for many years, a new interpretation emerges every decade or so. Leadership is a key organizational concept, but no-one can agree on a definition. The beliefs and assumptions that underlie the notion of leadership vary between cultures, generations and even organizations.

This course offers you the chance to dig deeper in order to clarify and contextualize what it means to be a leader. Its purpose is not to provide a magical formula for producing leaders. Rather, it aims to teach participants about the diverse understandings of leadership, improve their self-awareness and help them find a leadership style that works for them.

The program is built around case studies, practical activities, group discussions and visits from inspirational leaders.

Forge your own leadership style through reflection, introspection and action.


  • Demystify leadership.
  • Learn about the diversity of expectations around leadership.
  • Discover how our definition of leadership has changed and will change over time.
  • Reflect on your own practices to identify areas for improvement.
  • Develop an approach that works for you and strengthen your skills in the various aspects of leadership.


  • Managers, executives and leaders with more than four years of experience and at least four years in a management role.
  • Professionals who are looking to take a step back and reflect on their management and leadership practices.


Interactive and discussion-based training approach.

Course developed by Cyrille Sardais. Dr. Sardais is the current Pierre-Péladeau Chair of Leadership, heads the Reflective Mindset module in the McGill-HEC Montréal EMBA program and coordinates leadership courses for HEC Montréal’s BBA, MBA and MSc programs.



“Leadership Essentials was a turning point for me in terms of how I looked at leadership and how I could develop my leadership style to become a better manager. I feel much better equipped to support my teams and move them forward. The program was a great opportunity to take a step back, question how I do things, challenge my ideas and grow, both professionally and personally.”

Geneviève Goyette, Project Manager, Les entreprises Réjean Goyette

“I highly recommend the Leadership Essentials program, which has done a lot for my personal and professional development. Understanding people and working together to grow is the basis for any human relationship. Everything about the courses was great: the instructors in charge of the various modules, the support they provided and the guest speakers whose presentations and contributions gave us some real food for thought.”

Yves Schneider, Operations Manager, Première Moisson


Day 1 - What is leadership anyway?

Morning - Introduction
Cyrille Sardais

  • Our expectations about leadership
  • The possible and the impossible
  • An initial definition of leadership with examples from film

Afternoon - The concept of leadership, past and present
Cyrille Sardais

  • Influence and leadership
  • Types of legitimacy
  • Changing expectations
  • Lessons learned from orchestra conductors
  • Lessons in leadership

Day 2 - The dilemmas and difficulties of leadership

Afternoon - The main challenges faced by leaders
Stéphane Coulier - Coaching en leadership

  • A professional’s perspective and follow-up discussion
  • Action plan for implementing what you learn in the program

Morning - The structure game
Pénélope Codello

  • The pitfalls of management
  • The issue of engagement
  • Types of structure and leadership
  • Assignment based on an educational game (the “Structure Game”)

Day 3: Authentic leadership

Morning - Visit with a leader
Robert Dutton

  • Conversation with Robert Dutton

Afternoon - Values, non-negotiables and authenticity
Cyrille Sardais et Robert Dutton

  • Types of rationality
  • Authentic leadership
  • Non-negotiables

Day 4 - Self-awareness and leadership development

Morning - Accept yourself, accept others
Pénélope Codello

  • Profile types
  • How different profiles act and communicate
  • Self-acceptance
  • Using the NOVA Profile tool (a diagnostic tool that helps you get to know and understand yourself and others)

Afternoon - The roadmap of long-term leaders
Marie-Noëlle Gagnon

  • Leaders that last
  • Stumbling blocks
  • Nine elements to remember and cultivate
  • Go the distance: Your roadmap to sustainability

Day 5 - Leading for the long haul

Morning - Leadership paradoxes
Cyrille Sardais and Jean-Marie Zeitouni

  • What can we learn from the strengths and weaknesses of the leaders around us?
  • Case study examples looking at a variety of leaders

Afternoon: Overview
Cyrille Sardais and Jean-Marie Zeitouni

  • Unit review
  • Questions
  • Taking the long view


  • Games
  • Case studies
  • Guest lecturers
  • Psychometric tools


Participants will receive a copy of the book Petit traité de management pour les habitants d'Essos, de Westeros et d'ailleurs (A Short Treatise on Management for the Inhabitants of Essos, Westeros and Beyond)



Coordinator and instructor:


Cyrille Sardais

DEA (History and Civilization), PhD (Management Sciences)
Associate Professor, HEC Montréal



Pénélope Codello

DEA, PhD (Management Sciences)
Associate Professor, HEC Montréal


Stéphane Coulier

Master (Finance), Master (Research - Organizationqal Development)
Professional Coach


Robert Dutton

Adjunct Professor, HEC Montréal

Marie-Noëlle Gagnon

Marie-Noëlle Gagnon

BAA (Mathematics), EMBA
CEO - Talent, Cirque du Soleil Group




$3,495 + taxes


Five days - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Summer 2024
May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 2024

The first and the last days will be face-to-face session only.

Networking cocktail on the last day, in the evening.




 Make an appointment with:

Émilie Mazet

Émilie Mazet
Program Manager

 By Email
 By Phone

This course is part of the following categorie(s):

Leadership Human Resources
HEC Montréal Essentials

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