Emerging Leaders Program Blog

  • 21 Jul 2017 4:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As part of the Emerging Leaders Program, participants undertake a module on Leadership in Context. This year’s participants were asked to nominate and explore burning questions about change and leadership which are set out below:

    • How to enable team members to be empowered to take initiative?
    • How to find out the 'true' shared values and deal with conflict?
    • How do you lead change if senior management is not on board?
    • What impact does morale have on change?
    • How do we measure culture when it's subjective?
    • What can you do as an individual in a team to lead change?
    • How to develop the belief that lasting change is possible?
    • How do you transition from team member to a leadership position without affecting relationships?
    • What are the best methods and strategies for effecting change?
    Some of the participants share their thoughts and reflections on the day:

    “We learnt that Organisational Culture is often the product of what has worked well in an organisation in the past and is often assumed as the best way of doing things, summarised by the saying: ‘this is the way we do things around here’. However, it isn’t until we dig down into the underlying values, beliefs and assumptions of the people in an organisation that we begin to truly understand what Organisational Culture really is. As leaders we need to better understand the culture in our workplaces by looking past the norms of policies, procedures and processes and starting to understand the core values that people desire in their work environments.”

    "The timing of this session really resonated with me. We are going through some big changes in my organisation in the moment and it showed that change really needs to come from the bottom and staff at every level need to be invested in that change. It made me think about how I can influence the culture in my organisation as a future leader and that traditional ‘change from the top and expect people to tag along’ isn’t always the best way to get the results that you need."

    "Personally the main things I took away from the session with Josie and Sam was that we can only truly expect to change ourselves. Without taking this first (HUGE) step we cannot expect support from other members of the team or upper management when it comes to change in our work environment. Also I found the wolf pack example an interesting one… Taught me that we can often be surprised by the positive effects of change in our environment so do not be afraid… Finally Sam made an interesting comment about nature and our bodies… Change is happening all the time, naturally. In fact if certain things don’t change as they should we become worried. Change is normal, embrace it, go with it, make it happen to yourself and hope others will follow…"

    "Change can bring about a sense of fear for many people, leaders need to deal with this and create a space for staff to have conversations about what is important to them. We need to engage staff and involve them allowing them to be able to make sense of what is going on around them, 'listen to the song under the words'. Find new ways to communicate, celebrate success and learn from the mistakes. Take the opportunities and be a role model for those around you. You can be a leader and inspire others from wherever you are in an organisation."
  • 24 Nov 2016 1:05 PM | Anonymous

    As part of the Emerging Leaders Program participants undertake a module on sustainability in local government.

    Jayne Preece, City of Mitcham from the module organising group shares her thoughts on the day.

    You were recently part of the ELP Sustainability module organising group, responsible for the planning, development and implementation of a session for participants.  What are some of the key ideas that you got out of this day, and how did this experience assist your professional and personal development?

    “As one of the team involved in planning, developing and implementing the Sustainability Module for our ELP I not only gained a new understanding of what sustainability means for local government,in particular the award winning Stormwater Management and Reuse Scheme at the Rural City of Murray Bridge, but further developed my skills in the areas of coordinating guest speakers, preparing relevant and engaging content and ensuring everything ran smoothly on the day.  What a great opportunity!”


  • 21 Sep 2016 11:23 AM | Anonymous

    As part of the Emerging Leaders Program participants undertake a full day module on exposure to the political context of local government.

    Stephanie Coughlin and Leanne Davis-King from the organising group shared their thoughts on the day.

    You were recently part of the ELP Political Context Day organising group, responsible for the planning, development and implementation of a half day workshop for participants.  What are some of the key ideas that you got out of this, and how did this experience assist your professional and personal development?

    Stephanie Coughlin, Renmark Paringa Council

    This module was organised by our group and of course we wanted the other Emerging Leader’s to really enjoy it. We used the Community Engagement Technique ‘World Café’ to capture what the Emerging Leaders themselves felt was the Political Context in local government. As I was the facilitator it was great to be able to wander to each table and here the view points of my peers. The rest of the group had not experienced this technique before and I was really grateful to them for trusting in it, supporting it and excelling as table hosts.  

    I think everyone got something out of the day but for me it was that as local government we have the ability to really be on the same level as the community and help them have their voice be heard. My role is centred on Communications and Engagement and the day reinforced my commitment to our community and I want to continue to learn different techniques to help their voices be heard by State and Federal level.

    A highlight of the module was having CEO Mark Withers present. He is a fantastic speaker- unscripted and very frank. I really appreciated the honesty in his presentation; it’s something I would like to see more of in the sector.


    Leanne Davis-King, City of Port Adelaide Enfield

    Our group recently organised the ELP module on Political Context in local government. We started the day with Mark Withers CEO of City of Port Adelaide Enfield as our key note speaker and then used a World Café Technique to bring people together in rounds of conversations to discuss the question we posed: 'What effect does the political context have on the efficiency of local government?'

    From the World Café discussion we generated the following main areas of discussion: structure of local government, competition vs collaboration, confidence and risk, public awareness and education as well as the processes of local government.

    A panel of guests discussed the main areas generated from the world café discussion, including Ed Scanlon, Senior Economic Advisor City of Port Adelaide Enfield, Dr Felicity-Ann Lewis, Rebekha Sharkie Seat of Mayo, Lisa Teburea Executive Director LGA. 

    Topics posed to the panel included:

    • Risk taking in Council
    • Collaboration/competition (internal, between councils, state, federal)
    • Public awareness/education on council services (general public and EM’s)
    • The council’s structure (and EM structure)
    • Processes – efficiency/effectiveness

    The political context session provided an opportunity for the group to explore our own views on political contexts within our workplaces as well as expanding our thinking from listening to the wider group views. As part of the initial planning, the group held discussions with CEO’s, General Managers and other leaders to find out more of the different views within our own councils around the political contexts affecting them.  This expanded our knowledge on our local issues and has made a lasting impression on our political views.


  • 22 Jun 2016 12:31 PM | Anonymous

    The 2016 Emerging Leaders Program commenced on 30 and 31 May 2016 with a two day residential retreat at the Monastery Function Centre.

    Stephanie Coughlin, a 2016 participant, shares her thoughts on the program so far.

    What are some of the key ideas that you got out of the ELP 2 day retreat, and what are you most looking forward to in the program?

    I loved the two day retreat! It made me look at my emotional intelligence and how I interact with others in a group or team setting.  It also kick started me into being comfortable in uncomfortable situations.  I, like so many others, tend to do what is in my comfort zone, but since the retreat I have pushed myself to do things which are out of my comfort zone.

    I facilitated a workshop for 28 teenagers from the local high school and also gave a speech to a room full of strangers on a topic which was thrown at me.

    Prior to the course I would have made an excuse not to do both, but the Emerging Leaders Program has helped me change my mind set.  I can only grow when I move into a space which I am unfamiliar with.

    Stephanie Coughlin, Renmark Paringa Council
    2016 Emerging Leaders Program Participant 

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