Q&A - Michelle Wright, Med-Co Europe
What did you hope to achieve from joining the ION leadership programme?
I am generally quite a shy and anxious person, not comfortable starting conversations with new people, so I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and work on increasing my confidence. I hoped the ION programme would give me opportunities to do this, which of course it did, in abundance!
I was also really keen to learn and develop some new skills, but had no expectations in terms of what I would learn. The hope was to be able to take my newly learned skills and tools back into my workplace and improve my leadership ability.
There was also the hope that I would meet like-minded, local business people that would become part of my network, and I would become part of theirs.
How did you benefit personally from the programme?
We brushed the surface of a lot of theories and models that I’d like to revisit, so I think I have benefited from being introduced to a whole new world of topics I might otherwise not have stumbled across.
I feel more confident in myself, both in my ability to put into practice some of the things I have learned on the course but also in my ability to talk to new people. I also feel more confident speaking to people I know already, because the course taught us how important it is to change how we lead depending on the leadership style needed by others. This has benefited me both inside and outside of work, as I am now much more conscious of my own behaviour.
The ION course also happened at a time when I was not sure which direction my career was heading, and was instrumental in helping me seek clarity by asking the right questions and asking for the right support.
How has the business benefited from the programme?
I was in a position where I felt neither equipped or able to properly fulfill the role, having ended up in the role quite accidentally. The ION course has taught me, in addition to all of the learning outcomes, that leadership is a journey and not a destination. Whilst I was incredibly wet-behind-the-ear, this was not a barrier to my development. This alone has led me to believe that even if I am not where I need to be now in terms of the leader the business needs, I am taking steps towards it.
From a business perspective, I feel empowered to ask more questions to better understand not only the role, but my colleagues, employees and the business itself. I think this gives the company a better chance at success than if I had remained where I was and not started my leadership journey with ION.
Have you become a better leader?
I think this goes without question, for all of us. Simply by taking part and opening our minds to everything that ION gave us the opportunity to experience, we have become better leaders because we are embracing our leadership journey.
Would you recommend the ION leadership programme?
Absolutely, but I would add the caveat that unless you have a growth mindset, or the willingness to develop one, you will not fully benefit from the course. It makes you think, question, review and reflect on so much of what we do and how we behave, if you are not willing to accept that you may be wrong or you could do something differently, or if you are not able to learn, change and grow, you will not be able to fully embrace all that this programme has to teach you.
If you've been inspired by Michelle's story, find out more about upcoming ION programmes.