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Learning to lead: Reflections from the IWC Water Leadership Program

In July, participants nearing the end of the fourth round of IWC’s Water Leadership Program assembled at The University of Queensland for two days of follow-up training with topics ranging from managing conflict to fostering creativity in teams.
Learning to lead: Reflections from the IWC Water Leadership Program

Program participants working on an activity to learn about 
fostering creativity in teams

“This training is an opportunity for participants to build new leadership skills, learn from distinguished water practitioners, share their own leadership lessons, receive more feedback from their peers, reflect on what has been achieved to date, and re-focus their leadership development plans on the next 12 months”, said IWC Leadership Specialist, Dr André Taylor.
“It is also an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues who have become friends during the program, and encourage each other to continue learning about leadership so we can be at our best”, he said.

Highlights included hearing from inspirational guest speakers such as Nick Apostolidis (Board Member, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities) and Julie McLellan (CEO, Healthy Waterways), and learning from respected leadership specialists such as Professor Victor Callan (UQ Business School) and Associate Professor Frank Pollard (Griffith Business School).

When asked what the most rewarding element of the event was, Dr Taylor nominated the participant presentations. “Each participant in the program had the opportunity to share some of the leadership lessons they have learnt since the program began seven months ago. I found these short speeches to be inspiring and educational. I was very proud of everyone who presented”, he said.

Participant Jason Lange (Water Cycle Team Leader, Townsville City Council) also appreciated these presentations. “I was truly inspired by the short presentations from fellow participants and took great strength from hearing how others are working on self-leadership”, he said.

Reflecting on the impact of the program as a whole, Emma O’Neill (Coordinator - Integrated Water Management, Ipswich City Council) indicated that the program’s resources helped her build confidence in leading cross-boundary teams. “I am now more confident to take on more challenging leadership tasks knowing I can draw on this material for ideas and guidance”, she said. “I lead a relatively new multi-disciplinary water team and the material from the course provided many ideas about how to best ensure I help influence the development of a high performing team culture”, she added.

Another program participant, Urmi Buragohain (Acting Team Leader, Environmental Planning, Kingston City Council), suggested the program has helped her leadership by building self-awareness. “My improved self-awareness about the general leadership pitfalls that I usually fall prey to, for example, failing to grab hold of an opportunity, has helped me develop strategies to tackle them when I come up against one”, she noted.

Want to become a better water leader?

  • Applications for the next round of IWC’s Water Leadership Program are now open. The program runs from December 2015 until August 2016.
  • Applications for scholarships are also open until 15 September 2015. 


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