Fantastic Insight in ‘How To Be a Great Leader’

19th December 2019

My name is Rowena Griffiths, I am 18 years old and am currently in the process of beginning my career in business, I hope to progress into leadership and management roles where I can make a difference in people’s lives. On Wednesday 27th November I was given the opportunity to shadow a local leader, Councillor Rob Jones, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, in their workplace.

The opportunity to shadow a person in an important leadership role is a fantastic experience for any aspiring leader like myself to have. It enables first hand learning into how a leader operates in their field, whilst teaching the characteristics a young person can aim to develop and achieve in themselves. I was given this amazing opportunity after submitting an application to shadow the Leader of Neath Port Talbot’s Council, Mr Rob Jones. This opportunity came about due to the Chwarae Teg’s ‘LeadHerShip’ programme which gives young women from ages 16-25 the opportunity to shadow senior leaders in Wales, following them through a day in their life.

During my day with the Leader, I spent the first part of my day at his at office gaining insight whilst observing various interviews between the Leader and his colleagues, including the head of HR. Personally I found this very interesting, as a career in HR is something I am very interested in. Additionally, this opportunity has not only given me an insight into the role of a leader, but also into a sector of business which I am interested in too. Amazingly this short meeting has now led on to further opportunity, I was able to network and communicate my ambition to gain further experience during the day. This has led me to securing a second shadowing opportunity in the beginning of the new year in the HR department of the local council which I am very excited for!

The day entailed many interesting experiences that definitely solidified my love for leadership, and now I definitely know that I want to go into a leadership role in my career. The opportunity given by Chwarae Teg definitely achieved its goal of introducing young women into leadership roles by giving them an insight into a leaders life.

My day shadowing the leader was non-stop, in a good way, of course! It began with a meeting with the head of HR as mentioned earlier, followed by a tour of the whole Port Talbot Council Offices. This was fascinating to see as I was given a tour of every department and was able to see first hand, what in particular the Leader actually leads. It really opened my eyes to see the vast amount of people involved in the organisation of the Council. Towards the end of the afternoon we had another meeting with the Head of NPTC, here I saw how two leaders interact and work in the interest of the local people. Lastly, we went on a tour of a second Council Office site, The Quays in Briton Ferry, and again I was able to see all of the departments and meet many of the staff.

Meeting Rob Jones was fantastic, he taught me so much about how to be a good leader! One thing I admired so much in him was that he knew every single one of the employees names when he introduced me to them on the tour! I thought this was so amazing for him to be able to personally talk to them, he not only knew their names, but a bit about them, such as their children and if they have recently been ill or away. Rob Jones taught me the importance of being friendly with everyone; this improves their attitude towards work and general work drive, and as employees feel that they are respected by the Leader himself.
Overall this experience gave me a great insight into the life of a leader and it has most definitely solidified my love for leading people and being in a position of authority with the ability to actually make a change for people.

This shadowing experience taught me that it takes a strong, well rounded person to become a leader, and you must be a strong people person! I strongly urge others who are dwelling on the idea if they too want to go into leadership roles to spend a day like I did, following a leader!. It gives you a great chance to see what the day to day life is like and how an effective leader leads their staff. Most of all, what I have taken out of this experience is a stronger ambition to work towards a leadership role in my career, also opening my eyes to the importance of interpersonal relations between employees and a leader. This personal communication strengthens a workforce more than any bonus can in my opinion, and is definitely something I will be implementing into my own role when I am the leader I aspire to be.