The Leadership Development Lab


The Leadership Development Lab (LDL) is a distinctive approach to Leadership Development pioneered, developed and refined at the Rotman School of Management since 2010. The LDL is now a part of all graduate MBA programs at the school, and viewed by many of its Alumni as the ‘single-most transformative experience’ of their MBA

At the core of the LDL approach is a learner-centric, real-experience-based pedagogy that is more facilitative than instructional. Distinguishing the study of Leadership from the practice of Leadership Development, the LDL provides aspiring leaders the opportunity to inquire and understand their underlying belief systems under the idea of ‘leadership’ and allow them to adapt, adjust and progress those beliefs to ones more consistent with the demands and desired outcomes of their current or anticipated Leadership context.

Leveraging the decades of experience in leadership practice, research and instruction of its Faculty, the LDL is also able to incorporate the longitudinal insights, progress and feedback of thousands of program participation since its inception leading to continuous refinement and development of the LDL itself.

Curricular Courses

The LDL is offered as core and elective courses to all graduate MBA students at Rotman

RSM2622 – The Leadership Development Lab (LDL)

MEMBA(Morning and Evening MBA): The LDL is offered as a core course to all students and serves as the final collective experience of the 3 year program

FTMBA(Full-Time MBA): The LDL is offered as a second-year elective to interested students in the full-time program

RSM5614 – The Leadership Development Practicum (LDP)

EMBA(Executive MBA): The LDP is offered as a core course to all students

GEMBA(Global Executive MBA): The LDP is offered as a core course to all students

GEMBA-HLS(Global Executive MBA – Health and Life Sciences): The LDP is a core course offered to all students

Co-Curricular Modules

In addition to the curricular courses, the LDL is offered to MBA students on an optional, open- enrollment basis. The modules are designed for students currently working in a leadership context (internship, start-up, volunteer work, student club, student government, etc…) and offer real-time insights and applications to support students in their leadership Development

Prioritization - Managing Conflicting Demands

We will focus narrowly on a problem most humans face, and executives face with a vengeance - the experience of conflicting demands on our time, energy, attention and care – and on what we can do to become better at managing our way through the problem when it arises.

Team Alignment for Action

Ensuring effective and aligned action across one's team and organization is probably the primary responsibility of any leader. This session will be focused on the importance of gaining team alignment for coordinated action, and what a leader can do to create such alignment and coordinated action within their own teams. The session will include a memorable and immersive simulation that magnifies the challenges of achieving true alignment and unified and effective action across your team.

Colouring your Leadership

There are many great leaders and there is no one style that is ‘right’. Successful leadership styles come in different shades and colors. The session aims to explore different leadership styles, what your style might be and how you might expand your leadership styles. The session will include interactive discussions and small group exercise.

Art of Influencing

Being able to influence others for positive impact is a core skill for leaders. The session will cover 9 different influencing styles/tactics and discuss when you might use particular style(s) and what are the pros and cons of the various tactics. The session will include interactive discussions and small group exercise to help you expand your influencing skills.

Masterful Interactions

Leaders need to balance asserting and listening as well as artfully manage conflicts. The session will cover skills around interactions focusing on being able to ask meaningful questions and exploring different ways to manage conflicts (e.g., 5 conflict management styles and discussed the pros, cons and when to use different styles). The session will include interactive discussions and exercise/role plays.

Leading teams and organization

Being able to create high performing teams and driving change in organizations are becoming more and more important in this ‘VUCA’ (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world.  In this session we will cover what are the characteristics of powerful teams, tools and skills for creating and leading high performing teams and important factors in leading organizations through change.

External Offerings

The LDL also offers the LDL externally to interested individuals and organizations. In addition to customized approaches that are integrated within an organization’s professional and leadership development system and offerings, The LDL Retreat is a 2-day intensive personal and professional development experience modeled on the LDL’s successful Master’s program offerings. Please contact us if you or your organization is interested

LDL Alumni

For many students that experience the LDL during their MBA program, those experiences are just the beginning of ongoing personal and professional development inspired by the insights and approaches of the LDL. Although founded and self-managed by the alumni themselves, the LDL and LDL faculty are supportive and regularly serve as guest faculty for some of these Alumni events. To contact and get involved as an LDL Alumni, please contact the LDL*C (the LDL Continuing Community)