9 March 2020

Moomal shares one of her favourite school-sponsored student development events from semester two.
Leadership workshop participants at the army barracks

The Business School has amazing frameworks in place to help you succeed. The Student Development Team is a rare treasure! Not only can you gather personalised feedback on your CV and cover letters, you can also access career coaching, mock interviews, and specialised help when you are working through the recruitment process and could really use that one-to-one guidance.

Leadership Training with the Army

Alongside these incredible support systems, there are real learning and development opportunities. In this blog, I will give you a sneak peek into one of my favourite school-sponsored events of semester two: the full-day Leadership Training with the army at the barracks in Colinton, Edinburgh.

I admit, there have been numerous workshops on leadership throughout the year. However, training with the army was a one-of-a-kind experience as we learnt on the army grounds, in real time, what it is like to have limited time and limited resources but still attempting to get the task done. It brought to life for the first time the significance of being able to give clear instructions and ensure you have the team's buy-in.

Leadership workshop participants inside
Leadership workshop participants outside

Building an Exceptional Team—Yes-masters, Sheep, or Aliens?

We started the session with a presentation on Action Centred Leadership. This demonstrated the importance of taking the time to plan, and emphasised the role of supporting and informing your team as and when it's required. Next we discussed the importance of identifying your follower-base. By evaluating along the axis of Critical Thinking and Action, you as a leader can identify whether in your team you have 'yes-master' people (high action but low critical thinking), 'sheep' (low action and low critical thinking) or 'aliens' (who have amazing ideas but will seclude themselves from implementation of those ideas). We then looked at how precisely to support and create the right kind of followers for an exceptional team. After all—what is a leader without its people?

Bridges, Blindfolds, and Breaking Wood

The next session is where we broke a plank of real wood in two. This taught us nothing is impossible if you set your heart to it and learn the right techniques. See my joy with the successfully broken and signatured plank in hand!

After lunch, the whole afternoon was spent on the grounds split up into teams, and alternating leadership roles in undertaking real tasks where we handed a rifle(!), were blindfolded in order to cross a river (make-believe!) and crossed many hurdles to get from point A to point B as a team. Each task was quite intense and only 10 minutes long.

Moomal with her broken plank of wood

The winning team got an amazing book, Stand Up Straight, by Major General Paul Nanson. It was great to see how we were judged not only on the basis of whether we completed the tasks but also how we brought to life the Action Centred Leadership Guidelines that we began the day with. Doesn't that bring us full circle?

My advice to prospective students: say yes when you are offered to take up the full-day Leadership Training. It might be during the reading week, but you will cherish the experience. Until next time, enjoy the journey!

Moomal Unar and family

Moomal Unar is studying for the MSc Human Resource Management.