Saturday, 4 May 2013

Stepping stone

Today I held my first ever position of work for a government body. As part of the Univative Program 2013, myself and 4 other delegates of Macquarie University were chosen to work and incubate a project to be funded by the NSW Department of Trade and Investment. It was to create an online portal that would service the future needs of prospective students, as well as maintain the concerns of current international students studying in Australia.

As the elected team leader, I found that I learnt lessons of leadership that were harder to come by in our face paced society.

Things started off rosy, standard and straight-forward. A cocktail evening, with wine and fancy dress talking in warmth to our competitors from UNSW, USyd, UTS and UOW. I met my fellow team members on this day, and they all felt amicable that we could work together well in a strong and unified sense. I volunteered and elected to be the team project leader for the task, and full speed ahead we went.

The first meeting started out in a flurry of activity and drive: our agenda was properly set out, we met in the confines of the computer labs at our university and pitched all of our ideas together to market the state of NSW as a great place for international students to study. It seemed as if the ball was rolling, we found our business proposal template and began work in research and amalgamation of ideas.

As we cemented more ideas into the fold, GPS phone assistants, interactive map in living expenses it slowly came together as a proper business proposal that we could seriously pitch and present to our bosses at the Department of Trade and Investment. It was at this time which I indicated earlier that I would be temporarily be overseas for a week in Malaysia for travel.* And thats where shit hit the fan.

My brief visit overseas led to a particular member, LC to attempt to usurp me as the leader. As the self appointed leader earlier she had taken on our immediate delegate to lobby to take my position simply for the authoritative power in title. Upon asking "If you dont get to be team leader then you will leave. This simply means you have no sentiment for the good of the project or what we have learnt in ideals, it is simply for your sake". After a pause she replied with "Im not staying unless I am team leader" once more. This was a nightmare in understanding and upon my return the remaining members still all held my support, in fact we were still drinking at the bar in complaint shortly after its conclusion.

But it goes to show me that even though I had received complements and compliance from my members you have to understand and see through certain people in how they work, and how you can adapt to get the most out of them.

*On a side note, visiting Malaysia was amazing. It was the first time I went overseas without my parents, and chilling around KL, going through the bird sanctuary, theme parks, amazing food and shopping districts was a week I won't forget. Travelling is the way to see the world that only boots on the ground and an initial immersion into a society can reveal.