Learning about Leadership in Lockdown

Emerging Young Leaders has been a fantastic course, which has allowed me to understand and grow my leadership skills during lockdown.

The current pandemic has required adaptability in the workplace and resulted in opportunities to develop new ways of working. It has carried great importance in helping me connect with other young people, setting my goals and making me a better contributor to my organisation.  

Before embarking on EYL; I had assumptions of what I wanted to get out of the learning. My confidence is something I was keen to develop in order to form stronger relationships in my network. And like many young graduates, working in a professional setting after leaving university was daunting. From finding interests to developing transferable skills, it was difficult to navigate alone. Being on the course has drastically changed my perception of leadership. 

At the beginning of the course, we were asked our definitions of good leadership. For me, a good leader was a resilient individual who can communicate, work in a team and ensure every voice was heard in decision making. Some of my perception was correct in that these were some of the attributes a good leader would possess, however not exhaustive. In one of the EYL session we learnt about different types of leadership and how neither one on its own was the key for great leadership. It was instead, a combination of leadership styles alongside self-reflection to allow individuals who want to become great leaders to learn from their mistakes and grow from experiences.

The course covered a range of topics with reflection sections at the end to help us analyse the takeaways from the session. Split into structured evening sessions, it allowed conversation and debate amongst participants. It was an amazing way to get to know other young people in the group, their difficulties and share experiences. We learnt about how other people around us perceive us in 360 reviews at the beginning of the course. It was interesting to explore our purpose and motivations in the work we do and as we progressed on the course looking to implement this is our long term plans. My favourite sessions of the programme were on Vulnerability and Setting Goals and Objectives. The use of real life examples of leaders, reflecting on their styles, mistakes and lessons was invaluable.

Chrisann and Dami were charismatic and engaging in leading the programme; which was evident in the exciting group discussions during and after the session. Although I did not know many of the participants in the group and sessions adapted online, being part of a group of like minded individuals and encouragement by our session leaders made the environment comfortable. 

My motivation to take part in this course was amplified by my assigned mentor, who helped me change my approach to responsibilities in the workplace. I highly valued our discussions on values as the base of any work undertaken. I am excited to be an EYL graduate, promoting the creation of opportunities such as this for other young people. Being part of this programme has opened up a great network to seek out opportunities.

Kimberly Garande

3 Mar 2021