Fostering Leadership Excellence with Lab14’s Management Development Programm

We believe that strong leadership skills are critical to help Lab14 and our various group members grow our position within the nano- and micro-technology space.

In our pursuit of long-term growth and fostering a deep connection with our company’s vision, we have initiated the development of our in-house teams, harnessing their knowledge, commitment, and alignment with our mission to drive our organisation forward. Designed by the visionary Sarah Novak, we have established a novel management development program (MDP) to nurture leadership excellence within our organisation.

As we prepare for the second round of this transformative initiative early next year, we’ll dive into some intriguing insights from those who participated in the first round.

Q&A with Sarah Novak:

What has been the most surprising learning outcome for those who have participated in the first round, particularly in terms of their ability to lead the organisation, nurture high-performing teams, and understand Lab14’s unique leadership expectations?

One of the most unexpected revelations for participants was the fundamental importance of self-leadership. “Leading others effectively begins with leading yourself”, explains Sarah Novak. “Self-reflection and the skill of truly understanding feedback from others are essential skills for this process.”

Some participants were really surprised that what they thought would help their team differed from what the team actually needed. Another participant was astonished at how well they could guide others merely by asking open/coaching questions.

In the end, bringing your personal, team, and organisational goals together is the great challenge of leadership…

Could you share with us how the various building blocks of the MDP – Assessment, Coaching, Sparring, Training, and Experimentation – were integrated into the day-to-day work of participants?

The Lab14 MDP doesn’t stop at theoretical knowledge – it’s a comprehensive journey. Learning is structured as a continuous process that is seamlessly integrated into the participants’ day-to-day work.

The various building blocks stretched over 18 weeks so that participants had time to reflect and put learnings into action throughout the whole program. We had several smaller interactions as well as 2.5 full days onsite together. I believe that addressing actual work challenges is critical for learning.

How do you envision that participants continue to apply and refine their newly acquired leadership skills and knowledge beyond the program’s completion?

I think that slight changes in our mindset and how we perceive ourselves, other individuals, our teams, and the organisation automatically impact our behaviour beyond the program. We gave participants additional models, tools, and ways of approaching challenges that they will hopefully remember and use when the occasion arises.

I’ve seen many learning buddies stay in touch far beyond such programs to support each other and we’ll do our best to give a little reminder here and there.

“I believe that our Management Development Program is not just a training initiative—it’s a transformative journey that helps participants sharpen their leadership potential”, explains Sarah, who is excited to kick off the second round of the MDP early next year.

Sarah Nowak​

Vice‑President People & Culture


Essen, Germany