When funeral director Swee Han Lim from Davis Funerals took on his new role as branch manager, he knew his management skills were not going to be enough to lead a team effectively.

“I knew how to manage, but I wasn’t sure how to be a leader. That’s how I felt on the first day and probably the first six months in my role as branch manager.”

Having never completed formal leadership training, Swee decided it was time to seek out professional development. He soon discovered and enrolled in IMNZ’s three-module Leadership Essentials: ELEVATE Programme. He greatly connected with the structured focus areas of Leading Self, Leading Others, and Leading Business Performance within the Programme.

“I thought this would be a good course for me to become a better leader from a business point of view. I was searching for an appropriate course that wasn’t too expensive because we had a budget to stick to.”

Before the course, Swee says he would have described his leadership style as reactive. He led how he saw it, dealing with conflicts in an ad hoc kind of way. IMNZ’s ELEVATE Programme helped Swee reflect on his own communication style and what his staff needed to thrive.

Swee found the relaxed atmosphere and well-structured format of the course helpful as he learnt new skills and gained valuable feedback. He says the facilitator’s knowledge and experience helped him to see that everyone makes mistakes but with the techniques and methods learnt on the course he could feel confident to constructively manage those mistakes and grow from them.

“I thought the format was fantastic,” he says. “I got the most benefit from the part on Emotional Intelligence. Mainly because I’m an emotional person and I do know that emotion has caused me to make decisions I shouldn’t have made in the past. So, by knowing and understanding how that works really helped me in trying to manage my emotions and therefore look at a situation more objectively, and also to understand where the issue really lies.”

Since completing the course, Swee has adopted a different approach to challenges that arise within his team. He analyses the situation, assessing the issues in an objective way, and has the skills to deal with them effectively.

Swee would like to see all of his colleagues complete the Leadership Essentials – ELEVATE Programme. He feels that everyone, not just those in leadership positions, would benefit from the in-sight on how to work with others more successfully and the communication skills he acquired. Swee has tangibly experienced the benefits himself in a number of ways since completing the course, including while training a new staff member and helping a colleague deal with a work conflict.

“Always look at improvement,” Swee says. “IMNZ will be the first thing I will recommend.”

“It would help them understand the different personalities they are dealing with,” he says. “Therefore it will be easier for us all to communicate and reduce any stresses or any ill-feeling towards one another.”

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