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Leading Teams: Insights from the UNE Life Leadership Team

Over the last 12 months, the UNE Life leadership team has been attending a series of workshops led by the incredible Simon Fletcher from Leading Teams. These sessions focused on aligning our understanding of what makes UNE Life, and our leadership team, tick. By revisiting and restating our mission and values, we have ensured that our leadership team is unified in our direction and goals. This shared vision is particularly important as we work across diverse industries and business units, each with its unique strengths and challenges. We chatted with a number of UNE Life leaders who attended these workshops, to gather their key insights and experiences.

Tania Court, Student Experience Manager, shared, “One of the biggest things I got from the training was that building solid working relationships is something you have to put time and effort into.  We’re all so busy it sometimes felt hard to justify the time taken out of our days for the training.

But at the end of the year, I realised that I now have close working relationships with each person on the leadership team.

I wouldn’t have said that before. It’s worth taking the time to build working relationships deeper than the surface-level relationships we tend to have with our colleagues.”

The training sessions also provided an excellent opportunity for profound self-reflection. We engaged in honest discussions about our strengths and areas for improvement. This open and honest approach has allowed us to identify areas where we can enhance or rethink our strategies and operations, embodying one of our key values of continuous improvement.

Debbie Hiscox noted that “As the People, Culture & Development Manager, participating in the Leading Teams sessions has been a valuable experience for me. These sessions have reinforced the importance of self-awareness and the value of open, honest communication within our team. One key takeaway is the power of vulnerability in building trust. By sharing our challenges and learning from one another, we’ve fostered a more cohesive and supportive leadership team.

These insights will influence my approach to leadership and that of the broader team. I feel we have all become more intentional about creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and heard.

The growth and maturity of the leadership team’s emotional intelligence throughout the Leading Teams course will be hugely beneficial and of great value to the organisation for years to come. The sessions have also equipped me with practical tools to inspire a culture of continuous improvement within UNE Life. Overall, the Leading Teams sessions have been instrumental in enhancing our leadership capabilities and strengthening our commitment to our organisational values.”

By sharing our struggles and brainstorming solutions together, we’ve grown closer and learned how to better support each other as a team. Part of this process involved incorporating DISC profile assessments into the training. These profiles have helped us understand how our leaders communicate and work most effectively. By understanding these dynamics, we can collaborate more smoothly and leverage everyone’s strengths.

Sam Webster, Safety, Security & Information Manager, reflected,“Taking the year-long course has been a game-changer for me. The tips and insights on team dynamics and leadership were incredibly valuable. By putting the workshop strategies into practice, I would believe that we have been able to create a more collaborative and motivated environment.

The course taught me how to communicate more effectively, handle conflicts efficiently, and build stronger relationships within the team.

It’s been rewarding to see how these changes have positively impacted our day-to-day interactions. Importantly, the insights and learnings from these sessions are not confined to the leadership team. We are actively passing on our new knowledge and strategies to our broader teams, ensuring that the entire organisation benefits from the training.”

The leadership training has been a fantastic investment in our future, providing us with the tools and insights needed to tackle any challenge and seize opportunities as a united and cohesive team, both within the leadership team and throughout UNE Life more broadly.

David Schmude, CEO, expressed that,“Participating in the workshops has been a wonderful experience for me and our leadership team. I feel fortunate to be part of such a strong group. One key insight I’ve gained is the importance of openness in leadership. By being authentic, sharing our challenges, and actively listening to each other, we’ve strengthened our bond of trust and transformed our team dynamics.

This experience has reinforced my belief that strong leadership is rooted in empathy and continuous learning, which aligns with our UNE Life values.

The skills and strategies we’ve adopted aren’t just theoretical; they’ve led to real, tangible improvements in how we operate and collaborate. This evolution is evident across our diverse business units, where we now see more cohesive, motivated, and high-performing teams. I am excited to see how this helps us grow further.”

After hearing the experiences of our leaders, it’s clear that the past year of workshops with Simon Fletcher from Leading Teams has been an invaluable experience for our leadership team as a whole. We have enjoyed these sessions immensely and see great value in continuing this work moving forward. A heartfelt thank you to Simon for investing his time and expertise with us. Your guidance has been instrumental in our evolution as a team, and we look forward to building on this solid foundation in the years to come.