By Van Anh, Vietnam
“What is a good leader?” “How can you manage your time and work?” “How can you manage change?” “Who is your leader?” “What is different between leadership and management?” These questions arose and went off constantly in my mind before I took part in the Australia Awards Short Course on “Management and Leadership Skills” in 2018, which was delivered by Queensland University of Technology (QUT), funded by the Australian government through Aus4Skills.
I was in a small department of five teachers trying to recall what a leader was. I realised, had no skills of being a leader; was unclear about what a manager or a leader would do. I did not want to talk about it, nor change my routine work and behavior. But that was all before the Course.
Through the teachings of QUT facilitators and speakers, I found answers to all the above questions. I developed and implemented a personal project on change leadership with support and guidance given by my QUT mentors. Initially, it was not easy for me to change. I had to struggle a lot with myself and reactions from my colleagues. Step-by-step, though, I was able to adapt myself to leadership rules set out in the project; persuaded my colleagues to change as I told them that it was all good for the department and the students.
The most remarkable success that resulted from this project was that I was able to organise a participatory meeting for students and teachers in my department to solve problems and find out what the best way to assist our students was, particularly those who were of ethnic minority background. The meeting has been now a routine activity for the past two years and is a model for other departments within the faculty to follow.
I can not thank QUT, the Australian Government and Aus4Skills enough for the learning opportunity and the knowledge I received and skills I learned from the course. My best takeaway was, “to be a leader, do not speak but act; to be a change champion, do not fear but act”. I hope my story would be shared with QUT alumni around the world and a motivation for those who are still fearful of change.