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


Just Shut Up and Listen!

The 2014 Student SenateA couple of days ago, I was asked to chat to the 2014 FedUni Student Senate about the Leadership Program, and how we can support them to carry out their new roles most effectively. As part of that, I gave them my top leadership tips, which included: not being able to do everything alone and building relationships with the network of other student leaders around campus.
My final tip, upon reflection, fit conveniently into both of the other two: Listening.

On the radio on the way home a few days ago, I heard a great quote:
“These days, we spend most of our time waiting for the other person to finish talking”.

This sums up a lot of what I think about human interaction in general and people’s conceptions of leadership in particular. We rarely take the time to listen selflessly and agenda-free to someone else, asking questions to prompt them and being comfortable with natural pauses in speech. In general I like to think before I speak, but often I find myself interrupting others in my haste to agree with, differ from or add to what they have to say.

It would be pretty lazy and facile of me to blame this purely on Social Media, but it, or rather any communications technology advance, probably contributes. In a world where we’re encouraged to ‘talk’ in 140 characters or less, and where comments are instant and expected, have we lost the art of listening? Often when reading the news online, I reach the comments section and the first comment is irrelevant, from someone who has clearly not even read the article but looked at the headline and just wanted to be first in. I see this reflected in conversations – have you ever spoken to someone who replies with something pretty unrelated? They’ve probably just been listening for key words, and thinking about their own response – the speech version of just skimming the headlines.


Maybe it’s just human nature, and nothing to do with technology? Are we just hard-wired to care about ourselves more than others?

I’m not generally one to hark back to the ‘good old days’, but I think we need to reclaim the attention-span, rein in the ego and start listening again. If you don’t listen to someone (and I mean genuinely listen – taking time out, shutting up and concentrating) you haven’t earned the right to speak on their behalf. How can you represent someone with honesty and integrity if you don’t know what they care about, or if you try to impose your own agenda on them?

Something I think all elected bodies could do with remembering (Profound soundbite warning):

You may be the voice of [the student body/your constituency/a generation], but you are also their ears…

Do you agree that listening is so important in Leadership?

Is listening really a dying art? If anyone has some stats or studies on optimal active listening times and how they’ve changed over time I would genuinely love to see them.

What problems are there with adopting a “He who shouts loudest…” model within organisations?

Do you have any practical tips on developing listening skills?

Please feel free to share!

– Luke


Student Leader Profile – Marie Digna

MarieEvery couple of weeks, we invite one of FedUni’s amazing student leaders to tell us about themselves and their Leadership experiences and plans. Today’s victim is Marie Digna, who will be leading a group of students to Nepal in November for trekking and volunteering!

What and where are you studying?

Bachelor of Education (p-10) Mt Helen Campus

Where are you from originally?

Manistee, Michigan, USA

‘Tweet’ us a description of Leadership in 140 Characters or less: 

Leadership is about giving people one voice. Leaders aren’t always in the spotlight. The best leaders let their followers shine brightest.

What impact have you made on others through Leadership/Volunteering? 

I like to think that my story into leadership and volunteering inspires people to keep going. I’ve also seen the effect giving something small can have on someone at their low point. Even just a smile or “good morning” can flip someone’s perspective of the day right around.

Why do you do it?

I do it because it makes me happy to help others and because watching someone grow while under your leadership or mentorship is just the coolest thing.

What was the most significant/interesting thing you learnt in 2013?

We all interpret interactions differently. Sometimes it’s best to just clarify what someone intended before you jump to conclusions.

How do you want to develop as a Leader over the next year?

This year I hope to learn how to balance when to lead and when to delegate responsibility to others, which is a crucial talent in being a good leader.

Tell us something truly fascinating about yourself:

Something I think is really cool and amazing about me is that I’m quite nomadic of nature. I never stay in one place long. I’m constantly on the move and doing something. For example, my dad has actually compared me to Forrest Gump because I met Premier Denis Napthine and talked with him about my tattoo and I was at President Barrack Obama’s first Inauguration.

Why would you recommend Leadership/Volunteering activities to other students?

I recommend leadership and volunteering to anyone at least once in your life because you will grow in a way that nothing else can make you grow. You will learn so much about the kind of person you once were, are now, and want to become. It’s amazing. Do it.

Anything else you want to say? (Any topic, keep it PG-rated…)

This year I’m a part of the Residential Support Team, School of Education and Arts Mentors, and I’m taking a group of FedUni students and staff from all campuses to Nepal for three weeks. I highly recommend it! If you’re interested, you can find us at www.facebook.com/LetsGoToNepalFedUni or you can email me at mariedigna@students.federation.edu.au