A decade ago I was involved in transdisciplinary training group for primary healthcare. Several students and academics headed off to a lovely location (White Point Resort in Nova Scotia – Gorgeous) to talk about working in transdisciplinary teams. Truly egalitarian, harmonious and productive research and treatment teams. There were representatives from psychology, social work, medicine, epidemiology and possibly others. Part of the training was to gather into a group with a representative from each area and to choose a research idea. After a considerable amount of time generating several very good ideas and coming to no conclusion, it hit me! I said “Oh, I get it! This is one of those experiential activities to illustrate that true egalitarianism isn’t possible!” (I was quite pleased with myself, I can tell you).
And the woman facilitating our group was NOT pleased with me.
Today I was invited to take part in the ANU Inaugural Leadership Symposium. Leadership, or at least the idea of it, is all the rage. The latest buzz word. The idea de jour. While I tend to mock and deride fads, I quite like the idea of offering training and practice for students and faculty to learn about leadership. Even for those who never plan to be leaders, the skills involved are easily transferable to life in general. Just from today’s short meeting, I have identified a number of skills or attributes of good leadership that would be useful for anyone.
- Interpersonal skills
- Ability to face and manage one’s own and others’ emotions
- Awareness of self and others
- Ability to look back on experience and forward to action
- The ability to recognise complexity
- Awareness of one’s own perspective and the ability to see a situation from someone else’s
- The ability to listen
- Knowing your own strengths
- Energy management (being a leader is exhausting)
- Understanding how to communicate, not just what to communicate
- Did I mention listening?
One of the questions raised at the symposium is how to implement this kind of education for our students. Psychology is in an ideal place to do this for our students because so much of what we teach already covers these points! Is it possible that all we need to do is point it out?