Where’s your charger? Personality styles and social energy

Our first post for a while, this is a guest blog from the wonderful Liana Skewes, who combines studying for a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing, with working as the co-ordinator for Student Futures Online at FedUni AND being a fantastic fashion blogger! Liana has kindly allowed us to repost the following from her blog, which you can find here: http://findingfemme.blogspot.com.au

One of the most common misconceptions people have about me is that I’m an extrovert. This probably stems from the notion that extroversion involves being outgoing and introversion refers to reclusive behaviour. In fact, introversion and extroversion are about social energy, specifically where the energy from social activity comes from. Its no wonder when I’m confident, or energetic, or willing to have a go that people think I’m outgoing. Especially when I am often in positions of visibility, such as performing. Continue reading


Students For Sustainability Conference – 5 steps to unleashing your potential and inspiring change.

What drives changeIMG_1523? Is it something that we should sit back and wait for or do we all have an active role to play in shaping the future? At a recent “Students for Sustainability” (S4S) conference at the University of Western Sydney, this very question was addressed. Four
Federation University students including myself, our sustainability rep Casey Egan, Luke Morris and Emma (Tillie) Schulz were fortunate enough to attend and
each of us benefited greatly from networking with other students and people from around the country who are passionate about ensuring future life on our infinite planet. Attending the event allowed each of us to recognize something we have probably known all along but often forget when contemplating what seem to be impossible world issues like sustainability and climate change.

Continue reading

National Student Leadership Forum – Reflections of a Student Leader

“Leadership is the legitimate use of power to achieve outcomes on behalf of a group of people”

The National Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values, held in Canberra over 4 days in September, was a melting pot of leadership styles, personalities, experiences and beliefs as young leaders from across Australia and around the world were encouraged to look beyond the label of ‘leader’, to what drives each of us to do what we do, to consider what it is to harness your faith and values into true servant leadership. Continue reading

What do you get from giving?

It’s Monday morning and I’m just back from a brilliant weekend away on the Gippsland Lakes volunteering at a family camp. I was busy for the whole weekend and today I’m a bit tired and sunburnt, but I would go back to camp in a heartbeat if someone asked me to.

I’ve been involved with Camp Cooinda for about eight years now, and each summer I spend a few weeks with hordes of 12-18 yr olds canoeing and camping on the lakes. This weekend was a bit different to that, with many of Cooinda’s ex-leaders introducing their young children to camp for the first time. For three days, the usual mayhem of fifty teenagers was replaced with an entirely new kind of cheerful chaos, yet at the heart of it, it was still Cooinda and I know that I gained something amazing from being there. Continue reading

The Student Leadership Conference, from a student’s perspective…

The One Small Thing conference is coming up on the 17th + 18th September – if you’re involved in the program, there’s really no excuse for not knowing that… 🙂 – and one of last year’s delegates, Bella, very kindly sent us her thoughts on her experiences last year.

FedUni Student Leadership Conference 2015 globe logoIn 2014, I began my interest in the Leadership and Volunteering Program and being a part of the wider university community. Best decision so far! It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, undertake professional and personal development and have fun. I truly recommend having a look to anyone with an inkling of curiosity or enthusiasm for leadership, volunteering, socialising and learning. Continue reading

Yes I’m noisy, get over it!

This Blog comes to you from The Secret Leader…

Werribee gorgeI love my job at FedUni for lots of reasons; there are the warm and fuzzy reasons, like watching our students develop and evolve during the time they are with us, and then there are more selfish reasons like the fact that my job challenges me almost every day. I often find myself pretty far out of my comfort zone, which is generally terrifying but it has seriously accentuated the steepness of my learning curve and last year was the stand out for me and my PhD on life! So, for some strange reason I have decided to share the rambling journey I had last year into exploring my own personality, and maybe it will trigger others to embark on a, hopefully more streamlined, tour of self-reflection.

The learning started at the beginning of the year when I observed one of my colleagues deliver a workshop to our Leadership students on ‘Personality Types’. I seriously thought I was there to offer assistance, to provide refreshments and register everyone into the event – how silly I was for not realising that I, like the students around me, was embarking on a year of discovery about my own personality. I like to think that I am fairly self-aware, and I know that learning is for life, yet I still get a shock every time I find out something new, then suddenly that ‘something new’ seems glaringly obvious and I wonder how I could have lived all these years without noticing it. I learnt a few new things from that workshop, turns out I’m the ‘I’ in DISC, I’m a communicator and prefer big picture to details, and I’m energised by being around people and hate to work alone. These would be the foundation bricks for what else I still had to learn in 2014 about myself.

A few months later I was talking out a proposal with a colleague and I apologised mid-sentence, declaring “sorry if I’m talking rubbish, I need to verbalise my ideas to make sense of them”…what he said in reply hit me like a wrecking ball (minus the naked pop star, luckily). He responded in a tone of near horror, “Oh my god, you really are an extrovert!!” There it was the word that would haunt me for the next 6 months, a big fat label stamped across my forehead that lit up in sparkly lights for everyone to see whenever I spoke. It had honestly never occurred to me that I was, dare I say it, an EXTROVERT. I know that talking comes a lot more naturally to me than listening but I do really work hard to give other people their turn in the conversation, I try my best to always hear the other person and take their words on board. I get nervous when I talk in public, surely that means I’m partly introverted, doesn’t it?!

I took to reading a book which was recommended to me called “Quiet” to better understand this new world of introversion vs extroversion that I find myself in. I hear it changed my introverted colleague’s life; maybe it will have some answers for me too? Alas, after five chapters of hearing about how most of the world’s greatest brains, Einstein, Jobs, Zuckerberg, Gandhi to name a few, are all introverts, and how deep quiet thinkers come up with the most sense because they think before they speak unlike us noisy folk, I began to feel really bad about myself and wondered how I might go about adopting more of an introverted style.

In November, with a fresh group of student leaders in tow, we headed to Werribee Gorge for a day of team building including abseiling down a 20 metre cliff. The students went over the edge one by one in varying states of anxiety and excitement, I watched each one intently hoping to understand them better and pick up little gems of their personality to be able to work with them more productively across the coming year. Then suddenly it was my turn. One of my colleagues went first as I got into position for the knee-knocking decent. I watched her with amazement as she cruised over the edge without a word, her face a picture of determination as she glided down the cliff as quiet as a mouse as if she abseiled every week. Her ease at doing it made me even more nervous, I couldn’t possibly remain so poised and demure; she had set the bar so high as she elegantly landed at the bottom without even a squeak, I was sure to fail in comparison. I make more noise in my sleep than my colleague did when facing this actual life threatening task! Just like a true extrovert, as I got more terrified I made even more noise, screaming, cackling, whimpering as I went over the edge and all-the-way-down-this-frightening-rock-face. Finally, after the noisiest most tortured 20 metres of my life, my jelly legs were holding me up on firm ground again and I was side by side with my abseiling partner in crime, both of us filled with a mixture of relief and adrenaline. She turned to me and with one sentence absolutely floored me, she told me how scared she had been for the entire afternoon at which point my jaw nearly hit the floor “But you were so quiet, you looked so in control” I exclaimed in absolute disbelief. “No, that’s how I cope, I have to internalise to be able to get through difficult things” she replied. It turns out she thought I loved every minute of it because I was SO noisy. How different we are and how differently we handled the same situation, we were both a little in awe of the other and you could almost hear the penny drop in our brains as we began to understand our introvert vs extrovert behaviour. I hadn’t failed at all, I was just using a very different coping mechanism, a mechanism which worked just as well and even had people fooled that I was enjoying myself.

Along my journey I have realised that I seem to surround myself with deep thinkers, folks who have perfected the art of internalising thoughts and emotions in a way that would literally have my head exploding all over the carpet if I tried it; they are gentle people who really consider their words before sharing them, great analysers. They seem to be the ying to my yang, they have qualities that I have always admired greatly. But since the abseiling I have definitely stopped feeling bad about being an extrovert, I’m noisy, it’s just the way I was built, get over it! We all have different aspects to our personalities, different ways of dealing with situations. I’m delighted to have gone on such a journey of self-exploration and to understand those around me better, it has given me more insight into why I and others behave the way we do, I am getting better at pre-empting reactions and feel slightly less stressed than I used to when dealing with loud or quiet reactions. I have peeled off the sparkly extrovert label from my forehead and will continue to remind myself that I don’t have to be demure to succeed at life.

Have you ever shed a stereotype or peeled off a label, shiny or otherwise? Let us know by commenting below!

On Marriage Equality and Representative Democracy

Rainbow FlagOn this blog, we don’t tend to get political. There are plenty of people out there already writing about politics for a start, and we want to encourage everyone to develop as leaders and follow their passions regardless of their personal views. Sometimes though, a political story transcends politics to teach us some significant leadership lessons.

A few days ago, as I’m sure you’ve seen, the current coalition government of Australia decided not to allow their MPs a free vote on same-sex marriage. This means that if a vote does occur in this parliament, any MP who represents either of those parties will be obliged to vote against the right of individuals to marry a partner who identifies as the same gender. Whether they personally agree with it or not.

In a representative democracy governments will always legislate according to their own policies, we elect them to make those calls and are given the opportunity every few years to kick them out if we don’t agree with them. Does our government provide constituents with sufficient voice, given that surveys have indicated that support for marriage equality across Australia is sitting at around 70%? Wouldn’t a plebiscite in this term of government be an appropriate option?

My personal view, and one that is apparently shared by around 70% of Australians, is that someone in a modern, forward-thinking egalitarian society should be able to marry someone who identifies with any gender or none if that’s what they want to do. My sister lives in a country where same-sex marriage is legal and was able to marry her long-term partner (who happens to be female) a few years ago – it was a great day and she is visibly happier and healthier being able to live an authentic life as a result. This blog isn’t here to try to persuade you on marriage equality – you hold your views and I hold mine – I’m fine with that.

It’s OK that governments don’t consult the public on every decision – 70% have our chance in a year or so to change to a government that agrees with us on this. However, is it okay to not allow their individual MPs to vote for themselves or to truly represent their constituents?

Leaders fall broadly into two fields – those who try to persuade people of their point of view, and those who try to represent the point of view of the people. It is very easy to interpret the government’s action as an act of infantilising and neutering their own teams. If so, leaders run the risk of demonstrating both a lack of conviction in their own beliefs and their ability to persuade others to get behind them, and an unwillingness to lead on behalf of people who personally disagree with them. No wonder public trust for politicians is low – if you as a leader don’t trust the people around you to be able to make the right call, how can you expect others to?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter – please leave a comment if you have something to say!