What can leading UK academics learn from third sector leadership?

Last week, our CEO Michelle Hill was invited to speak to a group of 8 academic leaders at Brunel University as part of their leadership development. We were connected by Jane Drysedale (Formerly Directory of HR at Brunel University and current Pilotlighter) who was keen to ensure Brunel’s academic leaders have the opportunity to learn outside of the higher education sector and develop their skills to:

  • Grow their confidence
  • Have difficult conversations
  • Ask for help when they need it
  • Admit when they’re out of their depth
  • Share best practice
  • Celebrate success together

Michelle based her talk on Brunel’s Leadership Competencies and led a relaxed and informal session which aimed to discuss real life stories of leadership including the challenges, the successes, the ‘ah-hah’ moments, the mistakes, the learnings and the fun of it all.

Leadership competencies wheel. 

She began by getting those in the room to introduce themselves and asked – “Do you feel confident calling yourself a leader?”

She followed this by discussing her leadership journey to date which included everything from the change of Relate GMS to TLC, moving from a peer to a manager to a leader, the difference between management and leadership to age, gender and being a working mum.

After a short Q&A session, Michelle led two smaller working groups who looked at their ‘why’ – which in TLC: Talk, Listen, Change language is your purpose, your mission. Another group looked at their career decisions that defined their journey, before feeding back to other delegates.

Smaller working groups in action. 

Michelle also shared a poem about authentic leadership by Leo Thomas, the last paragraph of which captures the purpose of the day…

As I've grown into leadership,
I've tried to take the very best pieces
of the great leaders I have known
and make them my own.
I've grafted their best into my own style
and bring them with me to each and every task.
I've realized that I don't have to be
everything to everyone.
I don't have to be perfect.
I just have to be authentic.
The rest will come on its own...
Leo Thomas

 A big thanks to Brunel University for asking Michelle to speak, inviting us to contribute to their teaching and their kind donation made to our charity. Michelle will be returning to the University on 20th April.

If you’re interested in Michelle Hill presenting or speaking at your events or training sessions, please contact Marketing & Communications Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. directly to arrange.


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