ULI UK Next: Leading Skills’ Seminar – Team Leadership Skills with Ciara Woods

ULI UK NEXT exists to serve ULI members aged 35-45 by providing tailored knowledge sharing opportunities and networking events. Our first ‘Leading Skills’ seminar series of 2018 explored Team Leadership Skills. Led by Ciara Woods, an executive coach with over 20 years’ experience as a coach and consultant helping organisations and individuals transform, this was an engaging breakfast session for 17 ULI UK NEXT members hosted by CMS.

Ciara impressed upon attendees the benefits of active leadership and set a challenge to the group early on to think about the one thing they will take away from the session and proactively use, to cultivating good team working. All too often people attend a training session and then return to their desks without putting into practice what they had learnt.

Each attendee spoke briefly to introduce themselves and their reasons for attending the session. Ciara focused our minds on the key skills required to make an effective team, ranging from clear objectives, being energised and organised, having clarity and good communication, trust and a willingness to both support and listen

Ciara took us through a framework of the different aspects of team leadership, ranging from structure (transparency and understanding), stakeholder engagement (having skin in the game), communications and purpose. A great example of the understanding of a team’s purpose was President John F. Kennedy’s visit to the NASA space centre in 1962, during which he noticed a janitor carrying a broom and asked him what he was doing, to which the reply was “Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

Ciara took questions from the group such as how to handle differences between levels of seniority within teams, and experiences were shared amongst the group by the attendees. Attention must always be given to understanding motivations, satisfying the cravings for context and stakeholder buy-ins. Without this, uncertainty, gaps and assumptions are created within a team.

To build a solid team and relationships Ciara emphasised that it is always important to consider learning and renewal.  The Navy SEALs always conduct an AAR (After Action Review), so make time to consider ‘what went well’ (WWW) or ‘even better if’ (EBI).

The seminar provided attendees with useful, actionable insight into the necessary tools needed to develop confidence in being part of and managing a team. Feedback shows that a number of ULI UK NEXT attendees have already put into practice some of the great advice that was delivered during Ciara’s engaging session.

Words by Richard Roberts, Kingsley Napley, ULI NEXT UK Chair

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