MBA Programs - Continuing Education in Florida
Professors talk about their approaches to teaching leadership skills.
Gordon J. Barnett Professor of Business Ethics
University of Central Florida College of Business
Courses: Conflict Resolution and Negotiation; Organizational Behavior and Development
Before a classroom of 30 peers, a nervous MBA student is negotiating with her “boss” for a raise. She is way out of her comfort zone and isn’t convincing her supervisor. Instructor Maureen Ambrose is pleased. “Sometimes things go terribly wrong in negotiations, but at least the classroom is a safe environment and someone can learn why what they tried wasn’t effective,” Ambrose says.
For the last two decades, Ambrose has taught hundreds of business professionals how to come out ahead in various types of negotiations, including hiring and salary. Even seasoned managers say they have gained new perspective from how Ambrose presents negotiation techniques. “There is always opportunity to refine negotiation skills or develop them more fully,” she says.
Ambrose says her job is rewarding because she sees immediate reaction to her course material from students who apply the techniques. Over the 16-week course, Ambrose tackles various aspects of negotiation. “Most negotiations are multifaceted. They have a monetary component, but there are other issues as well.”
Often, she says, students are not comfortable with the negotiation process until they learn an approach that fits their style. “I want them to figure out how they can be better at doing this.”
Ambrose also teaches effective management. “There are a bazillion management books, but my job is to translate what works from a broad research-based perspective to information students can use and apply in their jobs.” She says her goal is for students to leave each class with something they can go back to their workplaces and try the next day, some insight that makes them better managers.
For example, she delves into how to talk to subordinates to make them feel heard and how to identify and focus on strengths rather than worrying about overcoming weaknesses. “We try out a lot of it in class. It’s very interactive
“People spend a lot of time at work,” says Ambrose, “and you want that time to be an enriching experience and for them to have a positive impact on other people’s lives.”