1.  Sample Reflection


I was late arriving to the first day of the course in Professional Diploma in Leadership. I was excited about starting the course and the night before I prepared the clothes I would wear, packed my handbag with everything I needed – course details, change for the toll and snacks etc. The first day of the course I set out driving at 6am sharp to ensure I would arrive on time. Despite my endeavor to be punctual I hit heavy traffic, went in the wrong lane more than once, got flustered and felt like driving home at 10 am when I still hadn’t reached my destination. I really questioned why I had drawn this course on myself. At 10:45 I reached the IOL. I was greeted by the course facilitator who kindly guided me to the classroom. I settled in straight away and got involved with the activity of evaluating my values. As I sat in the classroom I thought to myself ‘leaders aren’t meant to be late!’


I was excited to be commencing the course, I enjoy learning and I believe this course will benefit me now and my future career development. I was relaxed going to bed knowing I was prepared for the journey and day ahead. Once stuck on traffic I felt anxious and as I became more lost driving in Dublin I felt frustrated. I started worrying about my baby and whether he was missing me as I normally see him most mornings before I go to work. I felt vulnerable as I began to question my decision to commit to this course and whether I could realistically meet the demands of travelling to Dublin, course work, working fulltime and being a mother and wife. I felt grateful to live in the country where travel is less congested. I felt comforted when I met the course facilitator who was friendly and welcoming. I felt embarrassed I arrived late to the course; I normally pride myself for being punctual and hate being late.


I put so much energy getting to my destination I was disappointed I had wasted valuable time and I had missed the course introduction. Once I surrendered to the fact I was going to be late and let go of the stress I made progress with my journey. I realise how important it was to be greeted with a smile and the importance of a friendly face in all situations. I would normally be judgemental of people arriving late and I feel I will be more considerate of this going forward.


I want to be an inspiring leader and I believe the values I have identified from starting this course are definitely characteristic of great leadership including emotional intelligence, gratitude, forgiveness, kindness and courage. Leaders are human and are not flawless. I did my best to arrive on time and despite being late I kept going, I didn’t give up.


I believe my character and values I possess are important for effective leadership. It is refreshing to learn the value business’ now place on emotional intelligence. I hope to develop my knowledge and skills of leadership during this course. Leadership is more than being perfect. Great leaders recognize their qualities and values and have an awareness of their leadership needs.


I look forward to the upcoming classes, course work and reflections. I plan to reduce the stress of commuting to Dublin by taking public transport.

2.  Sample Reflection


Module one of the diploma in clinical leadership was well organised with excellent and engaging speakers. A combination of talks including class participation was used which worked well. There was a good, open atmosphere over the two days.


I was initially apprehensive about the course as I was not sure what to expect but found the speakers engaging and the topics interesting. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first session on day one. As a now confirmed introvert I generally feel uncomfortable in these types of situations. Going step by step through the Myers Briggs self-assessment was interesting. Assessing and knowing your core strengths and weaknesses and using this knowledge in your role in the workplace, although common sense, is something I had not considered before.

I found the term personal brand interesting and liked the idea of leadership based on your core values as demonstrated in the case study. Examination of different leadership styles was definitely something I could relate to from past experiences. I found it interesting how it is important for a leader to be able to adapt and move between different styles depending on how the situation or the person presents.

 I thoroughly enjoyed the session on mindfulness and in particular resilience. Having not given much though or time to this topic previously, I was pleasantly surprised. Examining how you react when your resilience is low shows how important it is in the workplace and at home. The “new paradigm” of resilience presented and the leadership attributes discussed to create a resilient working team are thought-provoking. I was particularly struck by the comparison of a burnt out and a bored state being essentially the same biologically.


I found the lectures well thought out and thought-provoking. The initial ice breaker exercise was a great way to start the session on day one. I think it allowed a more open discussion of the Myer Briggs self-assessment, which could be quite personal, between the class.

The comparison of different leadership styles was well demonstrated. This led into a description of the authentic leader, a world away from the traditional “heroic” style of leadership. Discussion of the Providence case study was a good way to examine leadership based on core values and also the creation of a personal leadership brand. The alignment of Josie Walsh’s core values with that of Providence and her personal background are probably quite unique, however, it still demonstrated good, consistent leadership with a clear vision can defeat the odds. Watching the interview with Josie Walsh, was apt, it put a face to the case study, which for me made it more genuine.

The mindfulness session was a good way to end the two days. The “new paradigm” of resilience presented and the leadership attributes discussed to create a resilient working team are interesting.


I came away from the first module looking at my role in the workplace in a different light. I feel inspired to improve myself both at home and in the workplace. I am looking forward to the rest of the course.

Action Plan

I can definitely apply some of the topics discussed in the workplace. Knowing and working to your strengths, being emotionally intelligent and knowing when to apply different types of leadership but also being genuine and true to your core values are all areas I can work on in my role as a biomedical scientist and quality officer.

3.  Sample Reflection


For the past 2 years, I have been very heavily involved, in attempting to lead a significant change process of de-congregation, (from Institutional to Community services) within the Organisation, in which I work.

Despite entrenched opposition from multiple stakeholders, things are beginning to shift and by Christmas 2017, it is planned that over one third of the Resident (Client) population will have de-congregated. I am a lifelong advocate of lifelong learning and I have been advocating strongly, that we need to be ever-ready to contemplate change, embrace and shape it. Over the 2 days of this module, I had been reflecting on progress to date and the changes underway at our place of work. I am acutely aware that I am part of a highly committed team and wish to explore my influence on the team dynamic and team function processes and thus enhance performance.


Over the two days, I experienced a kaleidoscope of feelings and emotions, ranging from Panic (I have so much to do), Guilt / Worry (I should not be here; there’s a massive job to be done; my family is paying an enormous price for the work I do; will I be able to stay strong / healthy?), Shame (People are living less than acceptable lives, under my watch), Resolution (determination that things will get better), Optimism (I have a can do disposition and this will get better), Hope (Intuitively and from evidence of how we work, I know that we as a team, can do what needs to be done). This is but few of the feelings and emotions I experienced over the two days, when I allowed myself to reflect on why I am undertaking this Diploma in Clinical Leadership.


The two days provided a wonderful opportunity to hear and learn about theories and ideas that contextualise and present possible frameworks for much of the messiness of management and leadership that we are currently encountering in our day to day work. I found the session on personal profiling particularly helpful and insights / experiences from other course participants helped reinforce that irrespective of our respective employment / professional backgrounds, leadership and management challenges are universal.


I felt reassured that while we may not have identified a theoretical framework for the work that we are undertaking, our organisational team can have confidence that we are addressing key issues identified in the leadership literature. On a practical level, I found the personal profiling particularly beneficial, especially as two of my colleagues are also participants on the Course and I could identify where we might be supporting and conflicting with each other.


I am very privileged to lead a highly committed, high functioning team at a time of very significant challenges. I know that I am not the ideal Leader. I am reassured to learn that there is no recipe for the perfect leader. I believe that the team I lead have the core ingredients of Character, Commitment and Competence to lead the changes that are so evidently required at this time, where we work.


Because of our low baseline, we have (out of necessity) been operating in a Transactional style for the past two years. I am confident that with recent current traction for change and hopefully with insights gained from this course, we will in the future be operating a much more Transformational model of leadership.

4.  Sample Reflection


Since about mid December 2017 and ongoing, I am consumed with the management of legacy issues which are surfacing at work. These issues and their current management have the potential for significant reputational damage and because of their nature, involve various external stakeholders. Management of these matters has derailed my ability to submit my assignment and indeed up until a few days before it was due to commence, my attendance at this Module looked very unlikely. Having been accommodated with an extension for submission of my assignment and reassured by the course facilitator, I attended with relief, to commence this module.


Attendance for this module over the two days, allowed me, to leave at a distance, some of the stress of dealing with highly charged historical legacy issues of a very sensitive nature. It was comforting to share a common purpose with colleagues. The topics covered are particularly pertinent to my workplace at this time. We have an ongoing recruitment campaign, as we strive to attract, retain, support, coach, mentor and develop motivated team members, to work in ways, very different to what might have been expected / accepted previously. We are introducing a system of staff supervision, which has taken a significant investment in time to achieve trust and buy-in for, from staff, as the Trade Unions are maintaining a position on performance management, until they get national sign-off.


The sense of camaraderie on the Course is very encouraging. Even though there is a time lapse between modules, there is that sense of common purpose between participants, with a definite growing sense of belonging within the smaller Teams. Within Team 2, we each had a chance to share our challenges since the last module and agree a loose frame work to approach our next assignment.


I usually take the lead on projects at work. I have struggled to prevent myself from taking charge in our team sessions and for course work (out of necessity) and I find this challenging. From a work perspective, we have identified a process to manage legacy issues which I will be able to delegate, once the necessary supports are in place.


Because our Organisation is undergoing a very significant Change process and its current Strategic Plan expires at the end of 2018, a new Strategic Plan is timely. There are many parties with a multiplicity of interests in the future of this Organisation. We need a new Strategic Plan!


From an Organisational perspective, I need to get buy-in from what may understandably be reluctant participants (interim Board of Management) and other relevant stakeholders to unapologetically document a Strategic Plan. Clarity about Mission, Vision, and Core Values is required if we wish to be a provider of relevant services of respected quality standards, into the future.

5.  Sample Reflection


I have committed to allowing myself time from my busy work schedule to develop my self-awareness around my leadership style and techniques within an interdisciplinary setting.


I was filled with various emotions during the two days. Amazement and gratitude by the depth of knowledge shared by our course speakers, facilitators and fellow colleagues. Also feeling insecure at times as teaching format and structure is not something which I have engaged with in a long time!


Initially feeling overwhelmed as I felt the speakers used heavy referencing regarding surgery and the medical profession. As the 2 days progressed I felt it became more balanced including all allied health professionals opinions and referencing. It’s been great for me to work outside my comfort zone which has mainly been surrounded by the nursing profession up to this point. It’s lovely having dedicated time to listen to ideas without distraction or interruptions!


Even though I work in mental health it’s evident from the 2 days that I haven’t been allowing myself adequate time to develop my own strengths. I’ve observed from the values clarification exercise that my own personal values have changed compared to what I would have identified with 20 years ago due to life experiences and work commitments. I think I’d really like to reconnect again with what I feel is still there such as creativity, personal development and freedom. It actually made me feel sad doing this exercise and I nearly go as far to say I experienced a sense of loss realising how these values which I would have held dear have been put to the side. But all is not lost! This course is allowing time to personally develop and I’m going to prioritise using more creative ways in my personal and professional life.


My strengths seem to be in team building and a drive, vision for change. As the facilitator said ‘try and find someone at complete opposites to you to complement your signature strength’. So I need to find an extrovert who is good at networking, evaluating and completing tasks!

Action plan:

From the facilitators lectures on Leadership I feel we go between transactional and transformational models all the time in the HSE. A lot of the time we are down in the transactional phase. There is no award system within the HSE such as a formal appraisal which you see in the NHS. I’ve been thinking about how to bring it into current work structure. It can be complementing and praising staff for a job well done (we have recently introduced a compliments book onto our unit), allowing more responsibility and guidance for front line staff, more educational opportunities. I also need to network more within the team. There is a wealth of experience within our course and I need to go and push myself outside my comfort zone to get the most from this experience.

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