Leader to Leader

MIT's Leader to Leader (L2L) is a year-long program that provides both a theoretical leadership framework and hands-on leadership experiences.

L2L was recognized in multiple categories of HR.com's 2016 Leadership Excellence awards, including Best Executive Coaching and Best Use of Team Building.

L2L builds MIT's internal leadership to:

  • Ensure the stewardship of MIT, its mission and values
  • Foster distributed leadership throughout MIT
  • Cultivate leaders who seize change as opportunity to advance MIT's role in the world
  • Equip leaders to shape MIT's culture of development and inclusion
  • Build a strong network of diverse leaders across MIT that enables leadership succession

L2L uses best practices for development, including:

  • Multi-rater assessments based on MIT's leadership competencies
  • Executive coaching to support individual leadership goals
  • On-the-job application of what's learned in the program
  • Strategic project work in areas relevant and timely to the Institute
  • Leadership workshops with the MIT senior leaders, Sloan and other faculty, and leadership development experts

Program Components


The L2L program is structured around 1-2 day-long workshops every 5-6 weeks throughout the L2L program year. Workshops are led by MIT senior leaders, Sloan and other faculty, and leadership development experts, and include:

  • Applying a theoretical framework for leadership to MIT-specific challenges
  • Engaging in dialogue with MIT senior leaders
  • Working collaboratively with colleagues on meaningful learning experiences
  • Reflecting and committing to action.

Individual leadership development

Multi-rater survey

Effective leadership begins with self-awareness. L2L Fellows complete a multi-rater assessment that examines a number of competencies that contribute to leadership success at the Institute. It offers insights into how each Fellow is perceived by managers, peers and colleagues, direct reports, and others they specify. Through the feedback provided through the multi-rater assessment, each Fellow will hear information related to their own strengths and areas for development.

Leadership competencies

The seven competencies below provide the foundation for leadership and management development at all levels across the Institute. In the L2L 360┬░ multi-rater survey, each Fellow's raters will be asked to rate the level of effectiveness on specific behaviors related to each competency.

  • Integrity and Credibility: Uses ethical considerations to guide decision making
  • Collaborating and Building Relationships: Works with others to achieve shared success
  • Communicating with Influence: Inspires others to achieve results through stable and changing times
  • Fostering the Potential of Others: Mobilizes others to succeed and cultivates the developmental potential of each individual
  • Advancing a Diverse and Inclusive Environment: Leverages the unique talents and differences of others, especially of underrepresented talent, to enhance organizational effectiveness
  • Strategic Orientation: Develops long-term vision, objectives and strategies
  • Implementing Proactively and Decisively: Initiates rather than reacts, persistently drives towards goal
After the survey

The Fellows meet with an executive coach to:

  • Analyze and synthesize results of multi-rater assessment
  • Identify leadership development goal(s) based on assessment outcomes
  • Periodically discuss progress toward the goal(s), obstacles that hinder progress, and ways to apply L2L learning toward leadership goal(s)

Applied learning 

L2L Fellows apply what they learn during the workshops to their leadership goals and timely and relevant aspects of their work.

L2L Fellows are part of an L2L project team that supports strategic Institute goals. These teams are sponsored by senior leaders and L2L alums and give L2L Fellows the opportunity to:

  • Focus on leadership competencies within the context of real MIT projects
  • Reinforce key leadership lessons
  • Deepen knowledge and understanding about the Institute
  • Build their network of colleagues from across the Institute 

Manager engagement

L2L Fellows are most successful at applying what they learn in L2L to their work when their managers are actively engaged in their leadership development. To this end, managers of L2L Fellows are expected to:

  • Give input in their Fellow's multi-rater assessment
  • Participate in a Manager's Orientation
  • Actively enable Fellows to apply what they are learning in the work setting
  • Meet with Fellow and his/her executive coach at least twice during L2L
  • Attend the L2L project presentations

If a Fellow's manager is unable to fulfill these expectations, the Fellow can choose a designate in the manager's place. If an applicant and his/her manager prefer to choose a designate, the applicant should contact l2l-help@mit.edu for guidance in identifying someone who can serve in this role successfully.

The L2L program runs every other year. The application period for the L2L Class of 2020 will open in the summer of 2019. Learn more about the application process.