A buzz of nervous excitement could be felt around campus on Monday morning as we entered the auditorium last week to kick off Leadership Week. After three intense weeks of a ‘crash course’ in Accounting, Finance and Economics, I was looking forward to something softer. Reflecting on this a week later, I can confirm that the experience was indeed different. The work was no less challenging; but the reward, huge.
Finding ‘Humanness’ in a Cloud of Technical Training
The MBA class of 2021 represents the densest concentration of high achievers I have yet to form part of. Up until this point, I realise just how focused I have been on trying to respond to that voice in my head telling me I need to prove that I belong here. Our Leadership Professor, Jennifer Jordan, describes this as “imposter syndrome”. I’ve been so intent on proving my worth in class, that I almost lost touch with my own humanness … and that of others around me.
With the guidance of our highly experienced coaches, leadership week has really allowed me the space to tap into that humanness again. What a privilege!
The Real Value of Collaboration
Creating a space of trust to be able to share with each other at a human level, we really began to see the hidden gifts of our classmates. This made me realise that while we all complement each other on a technical level – engineers, marketing experts, financial managers, consultants – the real magic happens when you figure how to use your softer strengths – compassion, intuition, passion – to your advantage as a team.
Adopting the Growth Mindset
A high point of the experience was when the winning team came around to share their spoils (a gigantic Toblerone) with us all. It reminded me of the value of adopting a growth mindset. ‘Winning’ in the MBA journey is not about who you are now, and how that compares to others. It’s about how you use the opportunity to grow holistically to become a better leader.