Igniting Leadership Program Blog by Matt Gardiner

26 June 2012 By Matt Gardiner

Matt Gardiner
Matt Gardiner

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Matt Gardiner, a participant in ILP for June 2012, reflects on the first few days of the program:

I approached the Igniting Leadership program with a mixture of curiosity and apprehension. Would it be interesting and engaging? What would the other participants be like? Would I be “torn out of my comfort zone”, as the promotional material promised? As someone who is quite attached to their comfort zone, this last question was of particular concern.

I am happy to say that, two days into the course, I feel inspired: by the facilitators, by the guest speakers and by my fellow participants. It’s a wonderful group of people – insightful, empathetic and generous. We’re all learning from each other in a supportive environment.

The program is highly structured, with not a moment wasted. Day one addressed ‘leadership qualities’ and consisted of guest speakers, group activities and buddy introductions. I am fascinated by the art of good public speaking, and marvelled at the confidence and presence of Matt Pfahlert. His stories were inspiring. Later in the day, Matt Vincent shared a deeply personal part of his leadership journey with the group. These were stories to connect with and learn from.

Day two focussed on ‘values’ and included more group activities. In small teams we worked through our workplace challenges, offering advice and fresh perspectives on complex workplace dilemmas. I came away feeling more capable of addressing a difficult situation in my own workplace, thanks to the insights of my fellow group members. Guest speaker John Daley spoke of the difficult leadership decisions he made as a Managing Director at ANZ, and I found myself pondering a familiar question – are there certain essential qualities needed to be a successful leader? Resilience? Toughness? And how do you balance this with compassion?

Angela Rutter spoke of the role of values in our lives and leadership roles. We questioned ourselves. What are our values? Where do they come from?

Day two wound up with a workshop on SDI: Strength Deployment Inventory, delivered by Louise Thomson. I’m often sceptical about psychological profiling but this was an interesting and enjoyable session. The exercise allowed me to reflect on the ways in which I might typically deal with conflict in the workplace.

I look forward to further challenges in the remaining three days of the program.

Matt Gardiner is a Policy Officer at Public Record Office Victoria. His role includes developing recordkeeping policy and educational resources to assist Victorian Public Sector employees to meet their recordkeeping requirements.