I recently participated in a Student Leadership Conference held by Griffith University. It was a fantastic day and lots was learned by all involved. I participated in activities and talks on next generation leadership, making technology work for leaders, putting leadership skills into action, effective communication and creativity and innovation.
These were all brilliant- lead by some of the best leadership researchers and leadership development associations around.
The day opened with Claire Madden from McCrindle Research. She spoke on the development of effective 21st century leaders. Claire was extremely knowledgable in all aspects of what she spoke about. Whether that be youth culture, social media and the influence that has, what leadership is now or what we (generation X and Y) look for in a leader. This was agreed upon with all those I spoke to on the day.
Claire’s main focus was on the fact that coaching and mentoring leadership styles have replaced the traditional commanding and controlling approach. In our changing times, she pointed out, it is imperative that leaders are equipped with strategies to build a culture which attracts and inspires. This is critical in gaining the support and trust of those in younger generations. It is equally important to implement leadership which supports and empowers those around us. This in turn shapes an organisational climate which produces both productivity and engagement.
Claire brought robust, research-based content to her engaging presentation, giving an overview of emerging social trends affecting 21st Century leadership and how best to effectively motivate teams and lead in these changing times.
The day then moved on to one of the most exhilarating technology talks I’ve ever had the chance to be in on. [Robert Chatfield](https://twitter.com/rjchatfield) gave his personal insights into making technology work for leaders and achieving [Inbox Zero](http://www.merlinmann.com/). The talk was extraordinarily well received and I have since had discussions with people who claim it was one of the best, if not the best, on the day. High praise for a subject that basically tells you to pull your finger out and delete the crap you don’t need. Robert mentioned one particular product, which I vouch for equally- [Mailbox](http://www.mailboxapp.com/). And because it is mainly available on iOS and Mac, get yourself one of those as well (he did allude to the fact it would be a *slightly* opinionated talk). We took a quick look into becoming a modern leader in today’s fast-pace world with views on helping to get technology working for us to keep us productive and our inbox managed. In his spiel, Robert told us we could be “Productivity Ninja’s”, gaining some of the best tips from an overly-excited IT student with industry experience. And we definitely got that.
— Joshua Holmes (@JoshDHolmes) September 30, 2014
A photo posted by Joshua Holmes (@joshua.d.holmes) on
This was followed up by two participant activities by Belinda Yorston from yLead. Bel runs incredible and engaging facilitation activities, which truly require the participants to be involved and give it a go. These presentations are absolutely crucial to anyone wanting to be a leader and highly recommended to anyone else.
The first was effective communication. This session took us through ways to implement leadership communication in such a way to not only communicate ideas, but also ensure the message is clear and effective.
We then moved onto creativity and innovation. Once again Bel held a fantastic session on being more than just a speaker or number cruncher. Leading is also about transforming ideas and being entrepreneurial. This requires you to think outside the box and become creatively innovative.
The day finished with Bel addressing the entire conference for her closing presentation. A once again engaging and involved reflection on the day and being an energetic leader, putting words and talks into action. She took us through a number of key factors including;
Connecting to a passion- Find something you love and get cracking,
Setting a challenge- Make goals and really challenge yourself to be better,
Recruiting mentors- You won’t have all the knowledge. Link up with people who know more than you and leech!,
Creating a map- Know where you want to go and what you want to do, and
Taking another route- Things don’t always work out. Find another way or reevaluate if required.
Overall, it was a fantastic day of learning, networking and engaging. The future of leadership is very exciting and like many other scenes, it is constantly changing. We developed leadership skills and vision with new ideas, interacted with like minded students and of course celebrated those already achieving so much.
Here’s to doing it all again next year!