Young water professionals take the driver’s seat at Ozwater 2017

Young water professionals take the driver’s seat at Ozwater 2017


The International WaterCentre had the pleasure of facilitating a ninety minute workshop to approximately 80 young water professionals (YWPs) at the recent Ozwater Conference in Sydney.

Young Water Professionals at Ozwater YWP workshop (Image credit: AWA)

Hosted during the Ozwater Conference 16 – 18 May 2017, the workshop titled ‘Moving from the back seat into the driver’s seat – steering your own development as a water leader’, was led by the IWC’s Leadership Specialist Dr André Taylor, and introduced participants to the key steps they could take to steer their own development as emerging leaders.

Workshopping personal leadership development

During the workshop, participants reflected on a quote from Professor John Adair, a distinguished leadership development specialist from the UK. He once stated that “no individual leader should ever be dependent on an organisation to school him or her in leadership.” In the spirit of that quotation, the primary aim of the workshop was to encourage young water practitioners to take control of their own leadership development process from an early stage in their career, and use some keys steps, principles and methods to steer this process.

Workshop participants explored four steps to steer their own development, which were:

  • adopting an appropriate mindset and ‘leader identity’;
  • taking control of their own leadership development process throughout their career;
  • applying three well-established principles and four key methods of leadership development; and
  • using a simple leadership developmental plan.

Workshop participant, Demand Management Officer for the Power and Water Corporation, and 2017 YWP of the Year Cail Rayment said the workshop changed the way participants think about leadership. “The leadership workshop was the most useful component of the YWP [Young Water Professionals] program at Ozwater’17,” he said.

“It helped encourage me to take control of the steering wheel regarding my own development through excellent facilitation by André Taylor, a challenging self-assessment exercise, and several opportunities to discuss leadership with other YWPs,” Cail said.

Reflecting on the workshop Dr Taylor felt it had been a tremendous opportunity to connect with so many water professionals who were just beginning to learn about the significance of leadership skills, and the steps they can take to build these skills throughout their careers.

“Looking ahead at the scale and number of challenges we face in the water sector, it is obvious to me that we need more effective leaders playing different roles. These leadership roles include thought leaders, champions, team leaders, adaptive leaders, executive leaders and political leaders. The sooner water practitioners can start learning about how to build their leadership skills (alongside their technical and management skills), the greater the return on investment we will see,” Dr Taylor said.

The IWC looks forward to continuing to support these emerging leaders in the years ahead.

More information

Learn more about the International WaterCentre’s Water Leadership Program here:

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