We are often told that the greatest leaders are those who support others to approach challenges creatively, solve problems independently and reach their own leadership potential. But where do these great leaders go for support when they need it themselves?
In her book Leading So People Will Follow, popular Forbes blogger Erika Andersen writes that great leaders don’t do it alone, but rather find ‘friends for the journey’ who will help them reflect and develop.
With this is mind, and in response to continued requests from within the sector, ACWA launched a new program in 2019 offering high-level peer support, or ‘friends for the journey’, to CEOs and leaders in the child welfare and wellbeing service areas, particularly those providing early intervention, family preservation, permanency support, residential care and leaving care services.
The Reflective Practice for Sector Leaders Program was designed to provide a safe and confidential environment for the sharing of experience and learning to inform quality improvement in an ever-more challenging, high-risk sector.
The year-long program brought together senior practice leaders for a series of half-day sessions facilitated by Roger West of Westwood Spice and Dr Wendy Foote, Associate Professor at the University of Newcastle, in which they reflected on their own practice and collaboratively explored any challenges they were facing.
Each session focused on a key aspect of reflective practice, and topics this year included:
- Vulnerability and Strength
- Building Habits to Enable Change
- The Art of Critical Reflection
- Mindfulness in the Workplace, presented by Gillian Coutts, (Director of The Potential Project and Deputy Chair of Uniting)
- Leadership and Organisational Resilience with Robert Fitzgerald AM (NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner).
The program has proved to be a welcome addition to ACWA’s suite of leadership development offerings, with participants appreciating the opportunity to share, reflect and support each other as they navigate an ever-changing sector:
“The sense of connection and support from peers and the facilitators has been encouraging and sustaining.”
“I have put to practise many elements of the learnings from each session. It has been incredibly valuable to my wellbeing as a senior executive in what can be a lonely place at times.”
“I have found a lot of self care has come out of the sessions as a senior leader. I am confident that others would benefit as I have.”
Spaces in this unique program are limited, and expressions of interest are now being sought from established sector leaders wishing to join the program in 2020.
Entry into the program requires a commitment to attending five scheduled 4-hr sessions over the year, and to maintaining a strict code of conduct, particularly in terms of confidentiality.
Sessions will commence on Tuesday, 4 February 2020, and will continue generally on the first Tuesday of every second month.
ACWA would like to acknowledge HESTA for offering us complementary use of their well-appointed boardroom, offering a comfortable, neutral space for participants to meet.