Earlier this year, a group of leaders from different departments were invited to participate in a customised Leadership Development Programme delivered by the Irish Management Institute (IMI).
The objective of this program was to prepare participants for increased autonomy and responsibility, empowering them to lead high-performing teams, enabling them to build strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders, improving their self-awareness, communication, and presentation skills, and encouraging their engagement in a bias-free and informed decision-making process.
Drené Potgieter, Innovation Lead at ATC, has shared her reflection on the programme below, which includes her insights on the knowledge acquired and experiences shared.
What were the key takeaways you all took from participating in the course?
The primary takeaway was that through this programme, we could delve into management and leadership topics, fostering a shared understanding of these subjects.
We engaged in crucial conversations as a team and established a consensus on communication, performance management, escalation paths, cross-training, clients, and organisational structure. These discussions were facilitated by subject matter experts who guided and contributed to the conversations with their valuable insights.
The relationships developed over these eight months were particularly noteworthy, considering that some of us might not have interacted as extensively during the day, given our locations across four countries. One of my colleagues extended this sentiment in a noteworthy way; “It created a bridge between a group that was not there before and empowered them to solve challenges together.”
Another critical outcome was “ATC Voice”, a companywide employee survey designed to listen to the teams’ preferences on different matters instead of imposing our ideas from a leadership level.
Describe the level of commitment involved.
The program spanned eight months but consisted of seven days, with three days conducted on-site at the IMI. All participants attended these full-day sessions and were joined by ATC’s senior team.
The remaining sessions were conducted online via half-day Zoom sessions. Additionally, two peer-coaching sessions and a collaborative project spanned the 8-month duration. Approximately 1 hour per week was devoted to the course over the last four months, with a few additional hours dedicated to preparing presentations for the final project day, totalling around 24 hours.
Our group focused on communication, while the other group centred their project on quality. The topics were carefully selected based on the feedback from the ATC Voice Employee Engagement Survey.
The commitment required for this program was significant, particularly given the challenge of integrating it into day-to-day operations. It’s important to mention that all participants, being managers, are heavily involved in operations. The commitment demonstrated by the individuals and the company was commendable, considering the effort required to allocate time amid regular operations.
How did ATC support you in the competition of this course?
ATC funded this programme, and all participants were given the time and support during working hours to fulfil our work.
The company also made a concerted effort to accommodate participants, ensuring flexible and comfortable travel arrangements tailored to our personal lives. Whenever possible, travel plans were coordinated with other internal meetings in Dublin, maximising the efficiency of our time.
Our Managing Director, Keith Young, was a mentor for the one project group, and our HR Director, Michelle O’Neill, for the other group, showed additional development support. Our directors and board members were also present on all in-person days, which again illustrated their commitment and support to us, which has helped us to get to this point today.
We are grateful for this opportunity to develop our leadership skills and grow as a team. We look forward to continuing the practices we have learned during this course and would like to thank the team at the IMI for their knowledge and support.