This year’s event occurred in Sydney on Friday 23rd March

Technical specialists are undoubtedly the essential cogs and gears of any successful organisation. From accountants, to IT experts, to data analysts, these skilled professionals earn promotions through years of dedication and proven results, but often with little experience and training in management and leadership.  These managers sometimes struggle in the move from executing technical daily tasks to thinking about long-term strategy.

On the flipside, professional specialists looking to be promoted to managers are often disregarded by senior leaders who overlook their leadership potential.

The Institute of Managers and Leaders’ Masterclass, Accidental Manager to Intentional Leader, explored this transition from technical specialist to manager/leader. At this event, industry leaders used their management expertise to identify the essential skills and traits need for this effective transition. The day featured a range of speaker sessions and panel discussions and was a practical and engaging event.

The Accidental Manager

A classic scenario: a highly skilled worker, who excels in their role, is rewarded with the added responsibility of a managerial position. The technical skills that made them a successful scientist, accountant or engineer are not the same set of skills that will make him or her a great manager or leader. Those who find themselves in this position without the appropriate training to prepare for this role shift – from delivery to directing – are known as the “accidental manager”.

Our industry leaders covered the following topics:

  • Skills to influence and negotiate
  • Strategies to manage conflict
  • The ability to develop strong relationship
  • Performance management techniques
  • Competency in fostering emotional intelligence
  • The future of leadership: Leading in 2025 and beyond
  • Case study: Transitioning from technical specialist to leader

Accidental Manager to Intentional Leader: our speakers

How do emotionally intelligent leaders handle performance management?

How do you manage under performance in a way that keeps relationships cordial, self-esteem intact, and produces positive results? This session explores the approach emotionally intelligent managers and leaders apply. You’ll leave this session with tools, techniques and the latest approaches to managing under performance.


Ben Palmer BAppSci (Hons) PhD, CEO, Genos International

Neuroscience of Leadership: 

Learn how to transition from a technical specialist to a ready and equipped manager through neuroscience. With the latest research and findings you will learn to understand and interpret core brain functions and emotional triggers, understand engagement responses to enable you to lead teams effectively through change. You will also develop a knowledge to learn and develop through coaching techniques and feedback strategies.

Vannessa McCamley, Principal Consultant, Facilitator, Coach, Keynote Presenter, Link Succe

What do you stand for? 

After a certain point in your career, your technical skills are a given. Knowing what else you stand for will increase both your influence and impact in your organisation as well as the potential for different career opportunities.

Suzie Brett B Bus LLB MLM, People and Legal Director, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Australia Pty Ltd

Leading through change:

In 2013, GM Holden announced that it would close its manufacturing operations. Jamie Getgood will talk briefly through how he grew through his career and how Holden managed the closure with best practice results.

Jamie Getgood FIML, Director, Getgood Consulting & former HR Director, GM Holden

The Aikido of Influence

Have you ever marvelled at how some people seem to be so influential, yet you don’t feel pushed into doing anything? Have you ever wanted to be able to bring someone along on a journey he or she didn’t want to come on? Have you ever assumed you knew what somebody wanted and got it completely wrong? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then this session is for you.

Duncan Fish, Interpersonal Skills Expert, The Engaging Executive


Panel sessions:

From Technical Specialist to Manager/Leader

Gunnar Habitz CMgr FIML
Sales Manager, KeepItSafe
Therese Linton
Strategy, Transformation and Innovation Consultant
The BASALT Group
Robert Sturgill
Manager, Data Center Operations APJ Service Now


Leading in 2025 and Beyond

Khushaal Vyas MIML
IML 2017 Australian Student Leader of the Year
Agnes Panosian
Data and AI Technical Sales Manager, Microsoft
Antoine Hermens FIML
Associate Professor Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
UTS School of Business