In November 2016 we ran Open Programmes in Sheffield and London, where students and young professionals could build their leadership, teamwork and soft skills. Check out this review by Hayley Adams - Student and blogger.
It's a Saturday morning after a long night of essays and university work. I hauled my extra heavy bags from bustling St Pancras train station, into the heart of Victoria, only to be half an hour late and lost (the house numbers went the wrong way.. honestly…). A quick phone call and Gemma was kindly on her way to rescue me from the wrong end of the long road. It wasn't until the next day that I was told that Gemma likes to stick to a timetable (woops! Sorry Gemma!). After some greetings and introductions, the session was underway.
I won't be taking you through every scheduled activity, as I truly feel that, without being cliché, you really just need to go and do the training to reap the benefits.
The best and most eye-opening part of the experience to, not only me, but what seemed like the rest of the group was finding out our personality types. Gemma explains how, overall we tend to fit into one of four categories. After much tossing and changing between two, we came to the conclusion that I most fit into the Choleric category. Finally, I have an excuse for being an absolute pain! Knowing this allowed me to understand who I would best work in a team with, and how to identify strengths and weaknesses in others. This skill is absolutely essential when it comes to leadership of both yourself and teams in both a work/school environment.
We demonstrated how different personalities worked in group exercises by doing what sounds like a complicated activity – it’s hard to explain, but it is straight forward. Each of us had a piece of short rope, and then we had to hold on to the end of another person’s. Without letting go, we had to manoeuvre our way around till we were stood next to those who we held the rope of – with no cross overs. Communication was encouraged and to use each other’s strengths to work it out. No significant help from me, but we did it (and that’s without me leaving in a fit of rage too, which was predicted by the mentors; who’s the real winner here?!)
I find it very tough to organise my time. Being a student, having a job and needing to attend to clients from freelance work, I am left with very little time. Everything is urgent, and yet I still manage to find time to watch EastEnders instead. It is important to understand how to manage these deadlines before crawling into a hole of procrastination with Netflix, coffee and the promise to start it later. The Self Leadership Initiative showed me to lay it all out in a chart and distinguish what is urgent, not urgent, important and not important, making the tasks look manageable and giving you an order. They train you in self-motivation, study skills and goal setting.
The positive attitude and outlook that the group setting and mentors give out is infectious. You are encouraged to push your comfort zone, stretching your potential and ambitions. Chat with Gemma about what can be arranged, and follow their social media sites to learn about upcoming events and what they are up to.
PS, They teach you to juggle. It may have taken me a ridiculous amount of time and a bulging forehead vein, but it’s sat proudly at the top of my CV.
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