Aurora: “I’ve become an enabler…”

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Aurora: “I’ve become an enabler in addition to being a more confident leader”


Frauke Constable from The Open University talks about how joining the Aurora programme has impacted her leadership skills.

How did Aurora help you develop as a leader?

Aurora has given me a new perspective on adaptive leadership and the confidence to challenge myself and others as appropriate; I’ve become an enabler in addition to being a more confident leader.

I have come to realise that I don’t need to have all the answers up front to be an effective leader. In one of the development sessions one quote particularly resonated with me and I have shared this with my direct reports and colleagues I’ve been mentoring: “Asking for help is a form of leadership”.

How did Aurora impact your confidence and leadership visibility?

I have become more confident in trying new skills and tools in adapting to continuous change and used a broader range of approaches to bring people with me and earn their respect.

I had had some feedback on unsuccessful job applications for new roles which was predominantly about using weak examples of strategic leadership. Working through the Aurora programme and being exposed to different types of leaders made me realise that it was up to me to become more visible and confident in my abilities.

What do you feel were the major benefits of Aurora for you personally?

Aurora gave me the space to reflect on my career and leadership style to date. Getting an external perspective through the interaction with my fellow Aurorans enabled me to test my thinking and identify any preconceptions that had contributed to the feeling that I had lost my identity in my role.  Being part of an action learning set was particularly beneficial and we have agreed to keep in touch and continue with similar sessions on a semi-regular basis.

Aurora helped me understand that I needed to take my career in a different direction and that a sideways move could be a first step to achieve more job satisfaction. Since completing the programme, I have secured a new role in a different area of the institution; without Aurora I probably would not have considered a relatively short secondment but the programme gave me the confidence to try new approaches so this will be an opportunity to apply my learning and see where it leads me.

What did you personally have to invest in Aurora to make the learning as effective as possible for you?

As soon as I knew that I had been accepted onto the programme, I added the development days to my diary to protect the time. The development days were reserved exclusively for Aurora so that I could reflect on each session on the same day and write up any notes and ideas. I reviewed the material for each development day beforehand and after each session and discussed my reflections with my mentor.

I also took part in as many Coffee and Connect and Watch party sessions as my diary allowed; I really enjoyed the opportunity to engage with Aurorans from other cohorts as well as my own even though I found it challenging at first to interact with so many new people.


About the author – Frauke Constable is a Senior Manager (academic related role) at The Open University.

This blog is kindly repurposed from AdvanceHE and you can read the original here: Aurora: “I’ve become an enabler in addition to being a more confident leader”