We are continuously looking to develop our staff and ensure they feel supported by their management, so during a weekly catch-up with our Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) leadership team, the staff identified a need for more knowledge to deal with sensitive situations they face on the APY Lands. The management team took this feedback on board and offered, as one of the options, leadership and management training with The Business Leadership Centre (BLC).
This training session took substantial organisation and planning, as we transported our leaders to Adelaide to train with others from various Skill Hire departments.
Training with the other staff and learning about company values helped our RSAS team understand the bigger picture of working as one team. Even though each staff member works independently with their small teams in their remote communities, ensuring they are aware of the company values and how they are part of the one team aims to help them understand the whole picture of how their leadership is valued.
Quantifying the fact that each person participating is a leader within their own communities was an important factor that this training targeted. Leaders have different outlooks and abilities and are at different stages in their careers. Sometimes members of teams find tasks allocated are challenging and they need support. The BLC facilitator took the group through discussions about how helping your team members to become better at what they do, could soon help you become known as the leader others want to work with, and why that makes a great contribution to an organisation.
A session about understanding and learning to identify not only their own personality profile but others, allowed our leaders to see how using this knowledge can help them to get the best performance from themselves and others during their daily activities.
We all see the world in a slightly different way and understanding yours and other people’s traits can help when you want to work with someone, influence others, make decisions, find out about things or when you prefer to focus your attention in one direction.
Each person has their own naturally preferred leadership traits that contribute to their overall style. This comes from studying, observing, gut instinct and experience. Covering this topic could only help to build each participants’ confidence to tackle daily tasks in future.
Values, loyalty and ethical behaviour
Participants in this training were reminded that if they want their team members to behave in a positive fair way then they as a leader need to be fair and equal in the treatment of all team members. Loyalty will occur where there is fair and equal treatment so honouring commitments, recognising and respecting individual differences, supporting and defending team members, initiating and maintaining honest communication was discussed.
Understanding your strengths and areas needing development
The facilitator introduced a discussion about how leading by example, talking less and listening more, not playing favourites, doing your fair share yourself and taking responsibility would ideally help leaders maintain a balance between tasks and relationships and understand how and when to adopt the appropriate focus for each situation.
It is important for us to empower our RSAS staff to value their own expertise within their communities on the APY Lands. These staff are experts and knowledgeable about relationships, being the conduit between mainstream Australia and APY Lands culture. As a connector the facilitator explained how and why they should feel highly valued for their multiple intelligences.
Leadership and people performance
An important topic during this training was to build each participants’ confidence by explaining how people can be managed in a sensitive manner while still being able to achieve excellent performance outcomes.
Becoming an active listener
How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness and on the quality of your relationships with others. Listening to obtain information, understand, enjoy and learn from others. Listening is a skill we can all benefit from improving. Becoming a better listener can improve our productivity, and our ability to influence, persuade and negotiate with others for workplace success.
During a session our leaders practised active listening as a group activity. Afterwards, participants mentioned how they benefited from practising how to pay attention, show that you are listening, provide feedback, defer judgement and respond appropriately.
Managing meetings effectively
Our staff on the APY Lands have many formal and informal meetings with their internal teams, external providers and important stakeholders involved in their contracts. Learning about the various types of meetings, notices, agendas and managing meetings effectively as the chairperson, concluding the meeting and minutes writing and checking should enable them to contribute and participate at a higher level.
Creativity and innovation
A significant aspect of this whole exercise was to encourage all participants to look at what they do in a different way, not just do the same things that have previously been done but expand thought processes and be creative and innovative within their roles.
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I wanted to say a big thank you to Skill Hire and the team, especially Wayne for such an amazing experience for our students. All of our students were thoroughly engaged with the course and learned many valuable skills.