Having almost completed the Learning Disability Nurse Leadership Development Programme, words seem somehow insufficient to truly articulate my experience. I came across the programme online and was initially reluctant to apply. The programme content and overview seemed somewhat interesting; but generic, vague and offered no real depth or insight into learning. Despite this, I applied…
Fast forward a few weeks, I received an email explaining I had been accepted onto the programme. I was pleased, excited, slightly anxious, and still had no idea of what to expect.
Day one, welcome:
After introductions, programme overview and background; we received the results from our Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment, and engaged in group activities. These activities offered real insight into how different types and preferences could influence decision making within a team. The activities displayed how and why people approach situations differently based on their MBTI preference. It highlighted the importance of consideration for individual’s preferences to ensure cohesive working and positive team outcomes. These activities enabled me to understand the reasoning behind why I prefer certain tasks and make decisions in the manner I do. I gained an understanding of myself that I previously did not exist.
Day two, residential:
The take home was the learning around leadership energies. This was an entirely new concept for me. It highlighted the importance of managing your own energies, being aware of others; and used correctly with the right intentions, great things could happen. Underpinning this work, we explored what we individually are like as a leader. This consisted of exploring our values and beliefs and shifted my perspective of what is leadership. I had always thought to be a leader, you had to be a CEO of a company, or be in a senior position within an organisation. The learning from this day enabled me to realise leadership is not confined to position or rank. Everyone has the ability to lead, to influence, to affect change regardless of their job title. Leadership is about others, and your ability to bring out the best in people, to promote growth. Leadership occurs in the day to day conversations, and decisions we make that seem somehow insignificant and mundane.
Day three, residential:
I have an understanding we are relational beings, but never considered relationships in the context of leadership. Successful leaders have an ability to engage with people resulting in change. Engagement is all about relationships. I learnt leadership is about taking people on a journey, and journeys are not always straightforward and linear. So too are relationships, they can seem messy at times because our work is relational, and relational can be messy. Change results from meaningful relationships, and forms an unbreakable foundation, which produces significant results mutually benefitting both parties. Having this understanding has changed my approach to change management projects; interactions are no longer transactional, impersonal or superficial.
Day four, RADA:
I have never been one for creativity, so the idea of dramatic art did not excite me…
I like to think as a nurse, my communication skills are pretty good; but RADA completely changed my understanding of communication, and how to use your body and voice for maximum effect. RADA was amazing! It sounds silly, but I learnt how to communicate. Communication seems so basic, so straight forward. But RADA equipped me with the skills and strategies needed to ensure my communication matches the message I am trying to convey. I found RADA extremely beneficial, I am not keen on public speaking, but now I have strategies to manage my emotions and feel so much more confident. The impact personally and professionally has been huge!
Day five, final module:
The Power of Public Narrative…
I like things to be in boxes; home is home and work is work, the two do not really mix.
I learnt sharing your narrative invites others to be in relationship. People feel they know you a little bit more; they have insight into your values, your struggles and is a key part in the development of those big relationships which are vital for change. I realise now, there is power in vulnerability, being vulnerable is okay, and it is okay for the boxes to mix sometimes. I understand more about the blur between personal and professional Funmi. Used strategically, your public narrative enables people to relate and is key in getting the buy-in needed to influence change.
Overall, taking part in this programme has been an invaluable experience, it has surpassed my expectations. I have particularly valued the networking opportunities which have arisen. I have gained insight into myself as a person, and the type of leader I am. I look back on the programme with fond memories, having grown personally and professionally, with a new understanding of my ability to affect change within my sphere of influence. I feel motivated, empowered and more confident than I ever have!
Learning Disability Liaison Nurse