Igniting Leadership Program 2014: Series 1, Day 2 Reflections

8 April 2014 By James Devlin

Two days into the “Ignite Leadership Program” (ILP) and I can safely say I’ve been loaded right up with ideas and information. The sessions have brought me out of my comfort zone. It’s been necessary really to give me the perspective on my time as a leader and a follower in the workplace. The second day of the ILP program dealt with the theme of values. Across two speakers and a number of activities, we carried out an exposition of this topic, in the context of leadership.

The first speaker provided an interesting dissection of leadership by looking at famous (and some infamous) leaders of the past and present. Individuals such as Nelson Mandela, Adolf Hitler and Mother Teresa were put underneath the lens of vision, ethics and influence. This presentation had two outcomes I really enjoyed. Firstly, it put into perspective the traits which create effective leadership and secondly it engaged the audience in thoughtful conversation.

In-between the first and second speaker, discussion was opened up within the groups regarding challenges in the workplace. The time limit proved slightly encumbering but there certainly were plenty of opportunities to listen and be listened to, which I liked. I appreciated every individual’s thoughtfulness, creativity and listening skills during this exercise.

The remainder of the day was spent with the second speaker before moving onto what I’d say was the most inward-looking exercise, the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI). With the second speaker we looked at values through Schwarz model of human values. I enjoyed the insight this provided and incidentally enough it felt like a good preface to our closing exercise, the SDI. I felt that despite being an inward-focussed exercise, we explored the ideas of the SDI in a way that helps understand how other people work.

I understand now I might be stretching the length of this blog post but I want to hammer something home before I wrap it up. During the first day a member of the group shared with everyone a very personal story. What was incredibly profound was the bravery required to share that story. I wanted to mention this with respect to the reservation of judgement and openness that is exercised within the group. It is these characteristics which for me have served to make ILP such a great experience so far.

James Devlin, Software Engineer for Unico Computer Systems