By Van Thi Quynh Hoa, Vietnam
Participating in the Australia Awards Short Course, “Introduction to Leadership and Management”, which was delivered by Queensland University of Technology (QUT), funded by the Australian Government through Aus4Skills in Vietnam, was another lucky and exciting “experience” for me.
What I liked the most from this Course was the opportunity given to work in groups with colleagues from other universities; develop and implement my personal application project; and make new friends. The course helped me understand that a hero grows out of difficulties and challenges.
Although I was a collaborative leader, I was shy to talk to my superiors and colleagues to get their opinions on one or another matter, because I was not confident with my group management and communication skills. I was not also confident in convincing colleagues to take on modern teaching methods and apply information technology to change old-fashioned routine teaching methods. I always worried that I could fail. All these fears made my decisions less informed and colleagues’ participation in the implementation of the decisions less effective. This in the end had a negative impact on our plan to improve the quality of teaching and learning English for students at Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry.
The Course gave me the opportunity to change my leadership skills through the development and implementation of a personal project. During this process, I received support and assistance from QUT mentors and colleagues. The project focused on improving the following skills: confidence building, active listening, and open and candid conversation. More significantly, I took the practice of these skills as a test to apply modern teaching methods to increase students’ learning outcomes.
In implementing the project, I constantly sought feedback from colleagues, who were invited to attend my classes, students through questionnaires about teaching methods and skills that I applied. The students’ improved results recorded in their midterm and final exams were convincing evidence for me to persuade superiors and colleagues to implement modern teaching methods.
My success in applying the knowledge and skills from this course was not only a lesson on how personal change leadership has brought in success for me, but has also created a positive impact on my colleagues. I realised that my problem-solving and challenge-coping ability has been improved. I am now more confident in sharing and discussing issues with supervisors and colleagues to find out a feasible solution to these issues. I am so pleased that my success was a real-life story to persuade supervisors and colleagues to change traditional teaching methods for the improvement of our students’ learning outcomes and performance. Drawing from my personal success, what to take away is that success comes from personal change leadership, and you are your own leader of change.