Is the Emerging Leaders Programme right for you?

17 May, 2023

Many emerging leaders have found themselves in leadership positions on the back of performance in their vocational, professional or technical areas. Leadership roles bring the added responsibility of working with - and managing - new groups of people ranging from your team through to senior management and external and internal stakeholders.

However, the most important element of leadership is often overlooked: leading yourself. This is where Merlin Callister found the Emerging Leaders Programme most useful. Merlin is a Kaitohutohu Mātua | Senior Advisor Te Pou Ohumahi Mātauranga | Education Workforce at Ministry of Education. We checked in with Merlin to learn about his experience of the Emerging Leaders Programme.

Why did you choose the Emerging Leaders Programme?

I wanted to do a leadership course, but I wasn't sure what I wanted that to look like. One thing I am resolute on is the idea that when you lead, you have to do it as you. What stuck out to me about this programme was that the facilitator, Andrew Fox, encouraged this approach and that was communicated in the programme outline.

This gave me confidence that this programme would be for me (which it was!)

You can learn more about our Facilitator, Andrew Fox, and his experience here.

What were the challenges you were facing that made you enroll for this programme?

I was in a position where I was interested in taking on more responsibility and on taking on a more senior leadership role in my career. 'Leadership' can look like a lot of things - people leadership, thought leadership, knowledge leadership, visionary leadership, self-leadership...the list continues!

I was uncertain about what type of leadership I wanted to focus on or what area would suit my strengths. I hoped the Emerging Leaders Programme would give me more clarity.

What aspects were most useful?

While all aspects were useful, I did expect to come to a lecture to learn about how to look and act like other leaders. Instead, it was a focus on me, my strengths, my style, and really focusing on supporting myself to lead as, well, myself, which was very empowering.

What did you learn about yourself?

I had taken the DISC Profile test on two other occasions in my career. What I found interesting was how my outcome has changed over time. Originally, I was an IS profile, then a straight I, and now on this programme, I've become an ID. I think this is representative of the changes in my career and the changing demands and environments I've worked in. What I have learned from this is that, while my preference is always to build relationships with others and take a collaborative approach to my mahi, I also like to get things done! On a wider level, I also learned that communication, particularly providing clarity and direction to others I'm working with, is of real importance to me.

Learn more about the DISC Profile here.

Tell us about your life / work after you completed the Emerging Leaders Programme

I've been having leadership mentoring sessions with two different colleagues of mine. They're continuing to challenge me to think about what my strengths and values are, and how I'm using those to achieve through and with others. This has been a great way to continue engaging with the learnings I took from the programme.

Who would you recommend this programme to?

Anybody can be a leader, it's not a job title, and it's not reserved for specific people. Leadership can also look different to different people, and can be contextual and changing too. So, I'd recommend this programme to anybody, especially those interested in learning how they can lead by being themselves.

Learn more about the Emerging leaders Programme and take the next step on your leadership journey here.