Leadership and Management (Heritage)

As our first term of our course has come to an end I thought I would share a little bit about what we have learned so far. As part of our placements we have been attending a postgraduate course in Leadership and Management (Heritage) in order to equip ourselves with the business capabilities to run a heritage site. This introduced many of us to a new side of museums whereby our involvement went deeper than just an interest in history or education and we began to look at the museum site as a business in its own right.

Our first module was entitled ‘Professional Development Profiling’ and was taught by Dr. Anita Pickerden. This module aimed to enhance our leadership and management skills as well as our understanding of the external factors facing heritage managers. We have been using reflective techniques to understand our shortfalls and improve our chances of future success as a leader in museums, libraries and archives.

The reflection cycle:  The aim of reflection is to develop an action cycle where reflection leads to improvement and / or insight.

The reflection cycle:
The aim of reflection is to develop an action cycle where reflection leads to improvement and / or insight.

Over the past four sessions we have been doing Action Learning Sets. In these a candidate will raise an issue and the group will help them reach action points and a deadline to help rectify the situation. The difference here is that group members are encouraged to asked insightful questions to help the candidate think for themselves rather than impose an opinion upon them. These sets are not just a learning experience for the individual but for the group as a whole as we can each reflect on the subject in hand to learn.

Our last session centralised on the theme of project management. This was to prepare us for our work based project module. Since our days at school we were all told the importance of planning in order to ensure a smooth running project, however Anita discussed the importance of pre-planning to make sure the project is viable both time-wise and financially. This included thinking of potential risks such as the possible; no one turning up, to the extreme; shelving collapses followed by a flood. This module coincides with the work undertaken at our placements and provided support for work based concerns and how to approach these in a professional manner. We were encouraged to keep a learning journal which records our reflection process so that we can monitor our own professional development. This technique has been invaluable in seeing how far we have progressed already and areas we may wish to improve on in the future.

Example diagram for Situational Leadership styles

Example diagram for Situational Leadership styles

I must admit that walking in to this course I was a little wary as I had not come from a business background and was not aware of certain theories or practices. However, this module has increased my confidence in my own workplace by providing me with techniques as to how to manage your time and how to get tasks done. This has also taught me about how to negotiate within the workplace and the different management styles that are suited to particular environments. Anita has been a great coach who has guided us all through our introduction to this postgraduate course and helped us with our panic over assignments.

We are hoping the next module will be equally as engaging and help us to continue with our personal career development.

Thanks for reading.

Danielle Joyce