About this online course


Learn to lead teams and manage stakeholders effectively and strategically to encourage cooperation and successful performance.

In our interconnected and complex world, leaders are faced with both internal and external stakeholders. Problems have to be solved within complex networks of stakeholders, each with their own dynamics, interests, perspectives and power. As leaders, engineers have clear advantages: they are analytical, technically skilled, project-based, good with numbers and well-used to problem-solving. However, engineers cannot rely on this skillset alone when exercising leadership in today's world.

In this course you will learn how to develop and apply an influencing mindset, which will allow you to you lead your team effectively and to successfully manage stakeholders. The course gives you the tools to operate within a network of stakeholders:

  • distinguish power and interests in networks of stakeholders
  • build trust
  • recognize roles and norms in groups
  • deal with conflict and cooperation
  • motivate group members
  • identify your own leadership style

Upon completion of this course you will be introduced to an influencing mindset and toolkit, in order to use a set of cohesive strategies for dealing with stakeholders – both cooperative and non-cooperative stakeholders.

What you'll learn

  • How to apply an influencing mindset to encourage multiple stakeholders with different interests to cooperate
  • How to recognize team dynamics, define roles and norms, and handle both individual and team issues, including motivating group members
  • How to use leadership approaches and styles to influence stakeholders and groups

Quote from student

I am an engineer and often have to lead a team to finish work projects. For most of my career I feel I have been enhancing only my technical skills with less effort to build my leadership skills. Learning new skills will always be a good investment! - Davel Sihombing, Indonesia


Course Syllabus

Get started with influencing stakeholders

Course structure, familiarize yourself with the virtual learning environment, complete your profile, meet your fellow learners and the e-moderator

Week 1: Welcome in a complex world

  • Discovering your leadership style
  • Identify yourself as a mayor of a city which needs to find an effective way to influence the stakeholders of a port expansion project.
  • Learn about the multi-issue approach
  • Designing a multi-issue game 
  • Leadership pitch 

Week 2: Strategies in networks 

  • The process approach
  • Disadvantages process approach 
  • Smart command and control strategies 
  • Developing and presenting your project 

Week 3. Trust in networks 

  • The importance of trusting people and be trusted yourself if you want to be an effective leader
  • The rules of the game, meaning the do’s and don’ts, of operating in and leading a network.
  • Cultural dimensions 
  • Leadership in practice: Managers about the Influencing Mindset

Week 4. From Networks to Organizations 

  • Information Asymmetry and Professionalism 
  • Two Leadership Approaches: Substance and Process
  • Professionalism, Information Asymmetry and Leadership 
  • The Self-engineering Capacity of Organizations 
  • Variety and Overlap 
  • Two more Leadership Approaches: Top Down versus Bottom Up 
  • Leading Organizations

Week 5. Engineers as Team Leaders 

  • The soft skills which are required to lead a team.
  • Provide insights in team dynamics in different phases:
    • The Forming Stage 
    • The Storming Stage 
    • The Norming Stage 
    • The Performing Stage
  • Different dynamics require a different approach from the team leader
  • Strategic Plan 
  • Leadership in practice

Bonus Week – Strategic Leadership


Unless otherwise specified, the Course Materials of this course are Copyright Delft University of Technology and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


This is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that runs on edX.


The course is designed for individuals who are in a leadership positions or preparing for such positions in the future. Few years' experience in an organizational setting will be an advantage, but is not a requirement.

  • Starts: Anytime (Self-Paced)
  • Free | Earn certificate for $149
  • Length: Self-Paced
  • Effort: 4 - 5 hours per week / 5 weeks
  • More than 17,000 already enrolled!

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