When you think about your leadership style, do you see yourself as an owl, a lion, a peacock or a dog? Upon being asked this question, we, the handful of young female leaders attending the Leadership Forum, were confused to say the least. This, however, was not just a meaningless question, but rather one that pinpoints exactly what the qualities are that we, as young and aspiring leaders, exemplify and value the most when leading.
The Young Leaders Forums, hosted by Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar, is one of many held by the Alliance of Girls Schools Australasia (AGSA) that aim to connect like-minded young female leaders from surrounding areas. However, these forums are organised not only to allow us to gain stronger connections, but also to encourage female leadership, and to foster within us continually effective leadership.
Ideas of leadership were presented to us by an expert in effective team leadership and former Australian Olympic basketball player, Jenni Screen. From various group activities, the creation of leadership goals, to the reflection of past leadership success, Jenni asked us to complete tasks aimed towards the idea that to be an effective leader, you have to first understand your leadership style, as well as your limitations.
An owl, a lion, a peacock, and a dog may not mean much without context, but in truth they represent the four main leadership styles. These directly connect too many skills and situations that are intrinsic to leadership; for example, how you communicate with people, how you deal with conflict, what situations you are most comfortable in etc. An understanding of these basic character traits then allows us to recognise our general strengths and weaknesses and encourages us to surround ourselves with leaders of varying styles.
This understanding in itself highlights the importance of a leadership team in the pursuit of individual leadership roles. Through our work in the Leadership Forum we are all able to recognize the importance of understanding our own personal leadership style, but also how this style functions particularly in a wider leadership group.
We were also encouraged to make goals for our short- and long-term leadership, and in this way, we were asked to envisage an overall cohesiveness to our future work that was sure to benefit both ourselves and the people we represent.
The forum itself was filled with laughs and conversations between various school representatives, but at the heart of the work we were doing was the knowledge that female leadership is incredibly important, but leadership must be functional and well considered to be effective. This is what Jenni Screen and her extensive international success has taught all of us, and what being surrounded by like-minded and inspiring girls has been fostered within all of us. Without a doubt, the next leadership forum or AGSA function is sure to further our education and our understanding of leadership.