Last week I attended my first session of the Leadership for Community Engagement Program funded by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Southern Metropolitan Region, Victoria, Australia, jointly with Noah’s Ark Inc.
Part of this program is to undertake a research project focussed on improving community participation in local services for young children and families. It’s also about leadership, and the qualities of an effective leader. Each participant is given a mentor for the duration of the program.
After arriving at the venue and having lunch, I met my mentor for the program. The mentors were invited to speak to the group about leadership, and what being a leader meant to them. Rather than mention individuals names I’d like to list the ideas presented. We have been asked to reflect while we learn, and as this is my space to reflect I hope you enjoy reading what I’ve been learning!
Leadership in a List
Being a leader is different to being a manager
It’s about finding solutions
Having courage and confidence
Being able to influence others
Speak a common language – find the common language so you can move forward
Enablement- moving barriers
Encouragement- encourage others to ‘think big’
Leave the profession in a better state
Deliver to every child, family
Deliver transformational change and coach how to measure change
Don’t shy from anything – get in and learn
Respect, listen – understand
Not a deficit model
Be capable of ‘unlearning’
Give others a voice and act on what they want
Empower others to solve problems – can’t fix it all
Flexibility is a key to being a leader – without flexibility you will impede innovation
A leader enables you to take risks – from this you gain experience to put into other aspects
Link with others
Partnerships- respectful – work ‘side by side’ with others
Spend time to tease out ideas
Put in structures which support collaborative practice
You can do great work in spite of the system
Do yourself out of a job!
Build a ‘treasury’ of good practice to help with evaluating actions – a way of capturing things which have been learnt – a way to demonstrate impact of changes and improvements
Slow down, think carefully
Think about how you bring people on board- what happened? Why?
Education- Lead families, lead teams, build the strengths of other people
Look for the difference- make service innovative for people
Listening to hear
Not being judgemental
After listening to each leader/mentor ,we reflected as a group on the items listed above. We also noted the following:
Mentors – feel an obligation to help others
Learn from your mentor: What does the mentor do that is supportive?
Each mentor had a different leadership style
All are successful in different ways
All confident in what they do
Believe in what they’ve done
Conviction of what they’ve done
So what is my project? Any ideas would be welcome. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Elizabeth Mellor and Dr Anne Kennedy for a great start to the program.