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Kathleen Toner, Director with Fostering Network NI, on the importance of Leadership Development

Kathleen Toner, Director with Fostering Network NI, on the importance of Leadership Development

We spoke to previous Excelling in Leadership programme delegate, Kathleen Toner, Director, Fostering Network NI, (Twitter style) who offered her insights on the course to support her leadership development.

For further information visit the CO3 website here: CO3 Excelling in Leadership Programme


Why did you sign up for the Excelling in Leadership programme?

As a recently appointed Director, I felt it was important to take an opportunity to reflect on my skills and experience. The programme provided a space to do this with others in similar situations.


What was the highlight of the Excelling in Leadership programme?

Meeting a range of new people with a whole range of experiences and knowledge  who were more than willing to share their wisdom. The residentials in particular provided scope to get to know each other a bit better and to have some time out. The group was an essential part of the experience and we were all willing to be open about our experiences which created a very positive learning environment.


What do you think makes a good Leader?

Having a personal value system; being aware of your own strengths and your weaknesses; recognising and encouraging the potential in others; being open to constructive feedback; having the courage to take difficult decisions even if others disagree; being open and accountable; not being afraid to ask for help; treating people with honesty and respect;  being resilient and having your own support system firmly in place to keep you grounded.


If there is one word you could use to describe your leadership, what would it be?

We did this exercise on the programme and asked friends, family, staff and colleagues to describe us as leaders. The words that came back to me from others were insightful, open and genuine.


What would you say to other people who are thinking about signing up to the Excelling in Leadership programme?

This is a really useful opportunity to reflect on your skills, learn new ones, explore existing and emerging leadership thinking with a group of leaders from the sector. With everyone’s lives being so busy the programme provided a chance to, as one participant noted, “put on our own oxygen mask before attending to others!”.

For information on the CO3 Excelling in Leadership Programme please click here.


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