#6 Be. Leadership 2013 Opening Retreat

By Gareth Tucker

So many new faces, questions and expectations. There was nervous excitement as Philip Patston and Lesley Slade introduced themselves. It built as we each realised the calibre of people we were sharing the room with, and the diversity of the group of leaders we were to do this course with.

John Allen, the chairman of the Be. Institute board, was the first speaker and he introduced Be. Accessible to us. As a group, we created a picture to explain our world, using metaphors to make what we were about to experience more accessible for us. Such a vivid speaker, John was a great introduction to the course.

Chief Executive Minnie Baragwanath was next and her bubbly enthusiasm was contagious. She shared the reasons behind the creation of Be. Accessible and spoke about her role. We really felt her passion and love for the field she works in.

Be. Leadership alumni also introduced themselves - such humble yet powerful people, they explained how to get the most out of the programme.

On the second day, we worked in syndicates to create what we would like to see as a community of learning. We highlighted respect and the need to be fully present at each session.

Paul Curry spoke about his experiences as a leader of people, in contrast to the group leadership model Minnie had discussed the previous day. Paul sees his role as that of a humble leader who lets his team take the successes while he owns the mistakes. A leader, he said, must have a team, the team must respect their leader, and that respect must be earned.

On the last day we worked in our syndicates and explored our personal leadership ideas. We looked at the different styles of leadership and how we can change the style we use. Philip explained how a group goes through phases of forming, norming and storming before it is able to perform, and that we should expect these phases and work through them together.

We also looked at the importance of reflection and how important this will be going forward.

The first session had started with nervous expectations and a sense of unknown. By the end the group was mentally exhausted and had settled into a comfortable team. It was a busy and intense experience that opened up Be. Leadership and whet the appetite for more to come.