Map a Path for Personal Growth

Mark Gordon

For those wanting to advance their career into leadership, there comes a time when their technical abilities alone will not get them to the next stage.  Organisations will be looking for applicants who have taken the initiative to grow their mindsets, skills and toolkit in a range of areas, particularly the ability to understand and lead teams, and work with a diverse range of stakeholders.  This is what we call the ‘T-shaped’ professional: they have the depth in their technical area and then, through targeted development, have developed the breadth in leadership.

Mark Gordon’s story shows us a professional who took the opportunity through Enterprise Leadership to develop as a more fully rounded leader.

Read his story below.

Who or what influenced/inspired you to apply?

There were two key people who really supported my application.

My boss in my previous role really opened the door for me encouraging me to apply.

Also my coach gave me the confidence to put myself out there.

The support of both of these people was absolutely fundamental to the process – both helped my map a steady path in my personal growth journey as well as supporting me during the inevitable ups and downs.

What was your personal growth story? (did you have one??)

I came to the realisation (with a thud) that what I was doing to try and advance my career was not working any more.

My focus had been on technical excellence in my chosen discipline, however that will only take you so far. I needed more of an edge to my capabilities, particularly in the leadership space to more fully round out my skill set.

How did this study transform you / or the organisation that you work for?

It built a leadership focussed mindset, which was underpinned by the theory and practical examples we worked through in classes. The grad cert really instilled a different way of looking at and dealing with problems, as well as how to create a productive and nurturing environment for teams.

What was the highlight of your study experience?

The time spent in classes working through practical examples was the most valuable. I really cemented the theoretical aspects of the course.

What advice would you give to someone looking at trying to do what you have done?

I believe while making a change like this having a coach and mentor is invaluable. A mentor is really good for many of the work related leadership questions you may have so choosing someone who works in a similar industry is important. A coach can really help and support you more generally, so it’s really important that you choose a coach who you feel you have a connection with. This approach dovetailed in really well with the work I was doing with the grad cert.

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Dr Kate Joyner is the Interim Director, Corporate Programs and Learning Innovation in the Graduate School of Business, QUT. Kate provides academic leadership for the Public Sector Management Program and delivers executive education in the areas of leadership, systems thinking and strategy. Kate’s speciality is developing leaders and leadership groups for the challenges of the 21st century.

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