Speaker 0 00:00:03 Welcome to the culture of things. Point with Brendan Rogers. This is a podcast where we talk culture leadership and teamwork and plus business.
Speaker 1 00:00:21 Hello everybody. I'm Brendan Rogers, the host of the culture things podcast. And this is episode 38 today. I'm talking with Robert bacon and Taylor and Barnard Robert, and tell'em worthy 2020 school captains at central coast grammar school. I've had the privilege of working with both Robert and Tailem over this past year, we've talked about so many things related to their leadership journey and their experiences as school captains of one of the most prestigious schools on the central coast. We wanted to bring this journey to life in a podcast episode, tell by other current and aspiring young school leaders, but also people working with young leaders to reflect on how we can work together to achieve great outcomes. In saying that I know through firsthand experience of working with Robert and Tailem how much our young people can open up our minds and help us older generations to view the world through a different lens. The focus of our conversation today is learning from Robert and Tyler about their school leadership experience, Robert Taylor, and welcome to the culture things podcast. Thank you for having us. Thank you for having us today. Yeah, absolute pleasure. And you guys have recovered from some sense of schoolies.
Speaker 2 00:01:33 Not yet. We're actually just about to go on schoolies.
Speaker 1 00:01:36 Wow. That's next week. Oh, I'm so glad I got you beforehand. Tyler, let's start with you. Just tell us a little bit about yourself. Hobbies, interests, background.
Speaker 2 00:01:47 I love swimming. I swim quite a lot as a competitive swimmer. My entire family is from South Africa besides myself. I am the only Ozzie in my entire family. I've got two dogs at home. They're long-haired shoe wall was, I love them to bits. They're getting a bit old now and I play three musical instruments. I quite enjoy music.
Speaker 1 00:02:10 Thank you for sharing. Robert, how about yourself mate? Unlike Taylor I'm and Ozzie with Aussie heritage, but, uh, my mum is from England. So I do have some other heritage as well. I'm not just Australian for a long time in my life, been into building and that kind of stuff. And I work as a handyman and that throughout school and mowing lawns and all that kind of stuff. So I enjoy that a lot. I am also a keen cricketer, so I'm very into my cricket. So that's about the match sport as I do, but that's a bit about me. Excellent. Well, I guess this time of year is a good time of year. Taylor loves the swimming and he's doing very well. You love your cricket. Some was fantastic, right? Yeah. Cricket starts on Friday, so that's always good. Absolutely. Let's get into the topic. Really. Just you guys sharing your around
Speaker 3 00:03:00 This school leadership, the school captain journey that you guys had just been on. How about you first tell us this, Robert I'll throw to you. Why did you even want to take on and put yourself in the ring for school leadership opportunity? I think I've always been involved with leadership activities from a young age stuff through junior school and that kind of stuff. And I've always enjoyed doing that, having that responsibility and taking on that role of leadership. And I, I think over the years, I feel as if I'm a good leader and I've always enjoyed doing that kind of stuff. So that's mainly why I went forward for the role of school captain. And, uh, I've enjoyed every minute of it. Taylor, what's, what's your perspective on that? Why did you want to take up something like this, this opportunity?
Speaker 2 00:03:47 Well, similar to Rob, I had previous leadership roles within and within the school community and outside, I believe that I've got the drive and determination to become a good leader and I'm comfortable with taking on the cha challenging situations and take on the responsibility of a challenging situation. And I also believe I lead by example, I'm a strong believer that your behavior outside should mirror your behavior behind doors at home. That's how you kind of establish respect. So if you respect someone, they would respect you. So I guess I just follow a few moral traits and I think that's gotten me along as a truthful honest person.
Speaker 3 00:04:33 Robert, I'm going to go back to you. What do you think had prepared you quite well for the role of school captain through this, you know, stuff that maybe happened in your journey in year 11 or even prior to that in your schooling journey, but even in your personal journey? I definitely think that I had a strong role in the school productions, especially like backstage and all that kind of stuff. And I took on a leadership role there at quite a young age compared to everyone else and bleeding some of your cohort, especially at a younger age, especially in Newton is quite difficult. And you definitely learn a lot from that. And I think that over those few experiences I've had there, I've had the opportunity to make a lot of the mistakes that you make early on. And that sort of, I think that gave me a good grounding to be able to work with them, lead my peers, especially, which is not always easy. So I think that was the main thing. I've also, I've had various incidental other roles at school working with my peers in leadership roles. And I think that's, it's all been very beneficial to help me with the role of school captain. Was there anything outside your school environment that you felt may have contributed to what you think was a successful year in leadership for you? Yes. I attended ripen the rotary youth program of enrichment I that is
Speaker 1 00:05:58 In year 10, which is a leadership weekend kind of thing. And I think that definitely on a subconscious level was very beneficial in developing my leadership skills. Definitely. Tyler, what about you in your experience at school and otherwise outside of school? What do you think has helped you be deleted you've been through this year?
Speaker 2 00:06:19 Well, my previous experiences had been in year 11. I got captain of the first netball team at school and it was unheard of for a year 11 student to get a captain Rob captaincy role in the school netball team, any team, sorry, I was a first-year 11 to get that role, which was a bright confidence boost because that had been the first captaincy role I had gotten within central coast grammar school. And then I went then followed on to get the same role again this year, but unfortunately COVID kind of cut us short a little bit, but we got a few games in here and there, I also captain of the swim team at school, outside of school, I had not a captain captaincy or like a title role, but within our, the swim club that I represent full swimming, there's a lot of little kids coming up throughout the levels of squad and during competitions or training or anything like that, I would help out if I don't have an event, you know, they would, they, because they're so young and those carnivals can get very crazy, you know, it helped them out and I'll just be a little bit of a guide or if they're stressed or anxious or anything, give them a bit of a pep talk, you know, just get in the water, swim your best.
Speaker 2 00:07:29 You'll do fine. And I also think the upbringing I've had at home, I think it's a little bit different to most households, but because I was very independent growing up. So I kind of learned my own strengths and weaknesses myself and at an early age. So I've just carried that through and strengthened it.
Speaker 1 00:07:46 Let's go into a bit of those strengths and weaknesses because some time ago, early in our talks and, and involvement through the year, we put you guys through a profiling tool and you guys are very different people. So how about Tailem your profile was S steadiness male. How do you see that playing out your strengths? First of all,
Speaker 2 00:08:11 I can't quite remember what this S stood for, but I know that I still got the sheets of paper and all that at home. It was really helpful exercise. I need you to go over that actually, but for steadiness, yeah. Steadiness, which is a hundred percent correct, because I feel I'm more of an approachable person, very open-minded accepting of any, anything of what anyone wants to say. I kind of always think before I say, do you think of the best possible answer? And I'm quite confident in what I would do. I would never shy away from a challenge or anything like that. Like I said before, I'm very like driven and determined.
Speaker 1 00:08:50 And Robert let's talk about what you see as some of your strengths, cause your profile was
Speaker 3 00:08:56 The D style, which is more dominant. And again, I'll have to remind our listeners that there's no stall that's better or worse than the other. They're just a different style that we have. Tell us a bit about your strengths and what you learned through that process of this understanding the dominant in you. I think I've always known for awhile that I was very much a dominant leader to characterize it that way. And I think that kind of, it really helped me to understand how to utilize that the best because just going in and cause you can be a dominant leader and you can be bossy and you can be overbearing and everything, or you can be a dominant leader and be very driven and focused and you know, get the best out of everyone. So I think that really helped me to understand how to use my leadership personality, the best, which I think was extremely helpful and also working with Tyler and we both knew what our strengths and our weaknesses were and were able to work together.
Speaker 3 00:09:52 I think better as a team because we knew that how to complete certain tasks together or certain things that had to be done, or it was better if her or I approached them or we work together or whatever, it really helped us to understand how to work together, but also how to best for me to utilize my personality, to get the best out of what you were trying to achieve. We complemented each other really well when you learned that about yourself. So you may be new, some have already, but I guess there was a bit of paper to justify or support. Some of you thinkings and feelings. Tailem headed this team of yourself, this Juho of school captains. How did you find that corresponding strengths and weaknesses work for you guys? And even if you've got an example where it worked.
Speaker 2 00:10:38 Yeah, of course. Well, Rob is more so the, you get the job done kind of guy, which is really good because there's no ifs or buts. There's no like fluff here and there. Maybe we do this, maybe we do that. We kind of discuss it, lay all the options out on the table rubs. Right. And we'll kind to make the decision. And if there's a bit of gray area, Rob would kind of be like, no, we've got to get rid of that. This is happening. And I thought that was really, really good because that complimented me really well because I think of every possible situation that could go and kind of suss out what could be the best option, but sometimes it takes too long and we don't have that time. So I think we compliment each other really well in that situation. Whilst on the other hand, he's a bit more direct.
Speaker 2 00:11:22 So when I say direct in approaching something, I think he doesn't so much think about the emotion behind it whilst I'm more the empathetic one that is a bit more open-minded people are more comfortable, I think, to talk about problems or anything to me. Yeah. So it kind of works hand in hand because we both get the job done well. But at the same time we don't leave any open doors or any feelings hurt in the background because obviously not, everyone's going to agree to a situation or, or to a initiative or anything like that. You're going to always have that one or two odd people standing out saying, I don't want to do this, but instead of them turning on us, or even though they might have hard feelings towards us, I feel like we still get the job done, but at the same time, not burning any bridges, that's how I feel. We compliment each other and work hand in hand.
Speaker 3 00:12:14 How about you, Robert? How have you felt that the character traits of both of you have really complimented each other and worked well from your perspective? Yeah, I think it was really beneficial to firstly learn about and do that profiling because without being informed about how we work together and how, what motivates us and everything, you would see me as the bossy one, who's always taking control and talents, the one who kind of fluffed around and worries about things that don't need to be worried about. But when you look at that further and you, you realize how you actually work, you can apply that to situations where you know, that I will always try and get it done as quickly as possible and just get the job done kind of thing, which in some cases, organizing some menial tasks for school, things, rosters, all that kind of stuff.
Speaker 3 00:13:02 It's really beneficial for me to be doing it. Whereas talent might want to consider every way of doing the roster or, or whatever. And maybe that's not the best option, but when we're looking at larger group projects or whatever, it's sometimes better stop and think. And I think it was really beneficial for us to know, right. This is actually how we work and it's not actually our flaws. It's actually our strengths. And that way we could work really well as a team together and get the best out of all situations. I know we didn't do any profiling with anybody else in your leadership team. So your house captains or anything like that, given some of that knowledge, how did you tailor them, see people within that team and that house captains group that you guys were leading specifically, how did that change your approach with any of them or learn a little bit more about them or take a different view on how they may have reacted in a certain way?
Speaker 2 00:13:55 Yeah, so we had four houses and each house had two captain, one male, one female in all honesty, I think Rob and I predicted who was going to get those positions and we were pretty close with the end result. So it's not up to us to get them to work together because they have their role and we have our role. But in saying that we can notice from the outside, like we can watch from the outside in as to how they worked together. And we could clearly notice that by the end, who was working well together as a team who was overly dominant whilst the other one would just kind of say yes. Okay. Or they would just kind of step over them. They had no say whilst others just could never agree on something. They would always have different perspectives. And then we had one group that there would be one person doing all the work in the role whilst the other one wouldn't be pulling their weight.
Speaker 2 00:14:50 But one wasn't strong enough or confident enough to approach that or to bring up that inconvenience in the team relationship. So yeah, we kind of observed at all and you suggested to us, we do a feedback session, which Rob and I did to each other. And we found that very beneficial. And I think they did as well because we got great feedback from that afterwards saying they kind of cleared the air between that team cohesion saying, okay, you need to pick this up. There'll be really helpful. Now sometimes they understood. They said, yeah, I agree. Other times they would be like, Oh, okay. I actually didn't know that noticed like thank you for telling me while all other times I would say, you know what, you've been doing this really well. Like you've done a great job on this and it's a great confidence boost for them and it makes them want to work harder. So we've seen it all.
Speaker 3 00:15:38 Robert, how has feedback looking at yourself first and foremost? How did that feedback process help you become a better leader? Do you think? I think that, yeah, the feedback that Tom and I did between each other, I think was really beneficial. There were no major things, you know, that we were either I was being overly dominant or Tailem was bossing me around or there was nothing like that. It was more, some things we did more on a subconscious level that was really beneficial for us to realize what we were doing. Because sometimes you don't realize some of the things you're doing, you're not doing it on purpose. And especially for me, it's a learning opportunity to learn more about yourself and be for me and for us together to both work better together and be a better leader, which I think it's really important and was beneficial.
Speaker 3 00:16:30 Or do I show you this, Robert, first of all, based on the year that you've had in the reflection, what would you say is Tatum's single biggest leadership strength? I think her biggest leadership strength is probably the way she works with the cohort. She, doesn't not clean up after me, but there's a lot of instances where, especially from learning more about ourselves, we'd know, right. While this situation, you know, it's probably better if Thailand goes off and deals with it or I'd go and do it or whatever, but I think Tom's yeah, picker strength is, is working with everyone. And I think compassion is not the best word, but showing a bit more compassion and some instances where the more direct approach isn't the best approach. So I think that's probably her biggest strength. Taylor, how about you? What would you say is Robert's biggest leadership strength that you saw through the year?
Speaker 2 00:17:23 I would say assertiveness. Why? I would say that is, like I said before, he makes sure the job will be done. Even if that sometimes means a corner needs to be cut or a hard decision needs to be made, it will be made to get the job done. And like you said, sometimes it's not always the best decisions made. It could be approached in a better way, but definitely getting the job done his and his assertiveness in his role. So let's at the flip side of
Speaker 1 00:17:50 This. Again, we always love to do that. So Taylor, putting you on the spot, Robin's going to have a little bit of time to think about it. I suppose. What would you say over the course of this year is an area where Robert could make some improvements that would really help his leadership?
Speaker 2 00:18:07 I don't want to make him sound like he doesn't have a heart or anything. I think just considering our cohort as people, you know, I think some emotion could be put into his role if that makes sense. Because like we've been saying I'm a bit more of the compassion side. I feel like he can consider people's emotion and also hear their perspective a bit more. So be a little bit more open-minded in the way we approach things in the role,
Speaker 1 00:18:36 Robert, there's your chance by what would you say to Tyler? What sort of feedback would you give her around an area that you feel that could help enhance her leadership approach? I think sometimes over stressing over complicating, some situations, which I think we already know anyway, from our leadership profiles and the work we've done together, but sometimes some stress over things that don't need to be stressed over. Sometimes, you know, the little things that in some cases don't matter, uh, some that are more focused on and in some instances it's just better to, to move on and keep going rather than keep stopping to worry about the very small things, which from my point of view, don't matter sometimes. Well done guys. It's very pleasing for me to sit here because I know how uncomfortable that was the first time. And I'm not saying it wasn't uncomfortable just then, but you guys did it so much more easily and the relaxed approach you guys take. And they're just fist pumping here at the moment. So well done. Great teamwork. Great teamwork, Taylor, what did you guys do well this year? What do you think you guys did well as a unit?
Speaker 2 00:19:47 Uh, I could name quite a few things. Brendan. I think we did a really good job. In all honesty. We had received also a lot of feedback from teachers, parents, and students, and obviously the higher ranking staff at school that we had been doing a really good job. And that's obviously good to hear because then we know we can keep doing what we're doing. I don't think we received any complaints, which is great. We really utilized our cohort. We built a relationship with our cohort, you know, and also I found that our roles, when we found out we got our positions, it didn't change our attitude. We didn't have the mindset of look I'm captain. You have to do what I say. Like I'm higher ranking than you. You've got nothing on me. You know what I mean? We did not have that attitude or we kept modest the way that we should approach any situation, thinking the same way that any other person that our grade would that further allowed us to reach out to other grades in the school because every year I know in the interviews and I both Rob and I in our head prefect interviews, we were asked, what is something you want to change within the school community?
Speaker 2 00:20:53 And we both said cohesion and I kid you, not every person this year said cohesion. And they just want a wider spread of connection within each level of school. And the levels of school is you have your junior school, middle school and senior school. So we achieve that this year. So we achieved a goal that everyone has been trying to year after year. And I think that was definitely through our relationship, like building the relationship between the cohort first and then working our way throughout the school because we had that relationship. People were comfortable to reach out to us. So if they had a opinion or if they had something they thought could change in the school and initiative that could improve the school, they would be happy to let us know. And then we could action that. So we could get a lot done because it's better to work as a team, more brains are better than one. So it works. You've got all these different perspectives, all these different minds that can work together to build one big, awesome solution.
Speaker 3 00:21:48 And Robert, what do you think you guys could have done better? I think where we could have improved throughout our journey. I think it was definitely in the beginning. We made, I think a lot of mistakes. I mean, you always make mistakes throughout a journey. So building on from what Taylor said is that we built a lot of relationships, but in the beginning we spent a lot of time making the mistakes, building those relationships. And I think as well, we'd never worked with a group, such a large group, like Talmud worked with the netball team and whatever and swimming. And I'd worked with my crew of production people and that kind of stuff, but we never been the captains of a whole school and had our whole cohort to manage. And, you know, we had the house captains to work with and, you know, give them responsibilities within their own houses.
Speaker 3 00:22:37 And we'd sort of been the sole leader of, you know, a team of 10 or 20. And it was now we were the leader of a hundred, if not 1300 students. Plus we had the house captains, you know, to help us out and work with their respective houses. So we sort of had a chain of command sort of thing that we weren't used to working with and leading like that. And I think that early on, we kind of did some things, how looking back on it, we'd say probably wasn't the best idea to work that way. But at the same point we learned from that very quickly. And I think that there were some areas where we could have originally done a bit better, but quite quickly we were going from strategy strident making. We're doing really good things.
Speaker 2 00:23:22 Yeah. We very quickly learned from our mistakes in the beginning because obviously we, we that's when we were learning each other, like that's how we were learning how each other work together. So once we established our relationship, then we could move on because we had such a high ranking set of authority that we weren't used to. And we just had to get used to it. We had to speak to the whole student body and then the whole school. So it got a bit of taking used. Give us
Speaker 3 00:23:46 A little bit of detail around the errors that you felt you made. So I think originally between the two of us, it's definitely Minera more on my part, but I think learning ways the guys you'll learn that you've already learned that. Yeah. And even if you didn't, it's still your fault. Absolutely. Yeah. So, uh, I think once again, we'd always been in positions where we were the leader, you know, it was sort of leading a small group in whatever, and you'd always just work on your own and you'd go and make decisions. And you, you were already doing small things, but it was your show kind of thing. And I think very early on, I know I made the mistake of even the small things. It was still worth, we needed to work as a team, maybe me being direct and wanting to get the job done, organizing a group chat with a small roster and it needed a consultation.
Speaker 2 00:24:37 No, no, no. Hear me out. So we had to obviously get over the roster going for the duties. That was a very first task we had as head prefects
Speaker 3 00:24:46 Tri was getting done nice and quickly. Yes.
Speaker 2 00:24:49 But there was a big gap in this very quickly laid out plan in Rob's plan because usually, like I said, two brains are better than one and Rob kind of took it upon himself to get it all done. And I had no problem with that. If he wants to get it done, you can get it done, but it's just always good to let the other person know what you're doing when you're going to post it. When are we going to make it public? Remember the due date system, like now all this and that to always have that constant communication, because it could almost definitely, always will be one thing that you're missing that the other person will remind you about. So like in this instant I saw the roster that Rob had posted onto the chat and I had looked at it and it was all these tiny little errors here and there that, that sparked such confusion within the cohort.
Speaker 2 00:25:33 So it just was just chaos. It was utter chaos within the chat. And I got so furious at Rob because it just, it could have been avoided very easily if he just had consulted me for just slick me through an email that I could read within 10 minutes, I could get back to him. He could have posted it and problem averted, but we, but we learned it quickly. So I had a little crack at Rob had my spiel at him, let it all out. He was like, okay, I understand where you're coming from. Let's not do this again. We fixed it and we've moved on no hard feelings.
Speaker 3 00:26:04 So in that great example, what is it that you wish you had prior to you guys being school leaders and head prefix that potentially may have been able to help you not have to make that sort of mistake
Speaker 2 00:26:19 For myself? If I had more experience with working with such a mass group of people to lead them, it would be a lot more helpful. Rob mentioned before we both have only worked with like my net boating would be 10 girls. I've got my swimming club, which is quite large, but I mean, you still have your coaches, your parents and everything. Like you're not solely there yourself. So I had never had such a large group of people that were answering to me. So I had to always be on the ball. I had to know what's happening all the time, know the details as well, because the questions that are asked you can't be like, I don't know then who else are they going to ask the questions, not answered you, where they go to, and then once you say, I don't know, then they kind of lose that trust within you.
Speaker 2 00:27:02 And they won't, they won't come to as often because they're like our T wouldn't know, Rob wouldn't know, don't ask them. We picked it up later on. Like we said, we made those hiccups at the beginning and we learned from our mistakes very quickly because you have to, it's not that one mistake and you've got ages to figure it out or fix it. Like you're going to have something coming up the next week. So I would definitely say working with a really low, with a large group of people like we are now earlier on, so we could get used to the habits and the way of dealing with the different situations.
Speaker 1 00:27:31 What about for you, Robert? Is there anything different that you felt that could have aided your better handling of a situation like that? I think having leadership opportunities, you know, we've all, you've always worked in a leadership. You've had leadership teams and whatever, but you know, working with a partner who's on like the same level as you to lead a group, having a partner to learn to lead with was something that we had to do. Our interview will continue after this, an expression of gratitude or reciprocity, no matter how large or small is an important part of a healthy culture and relationships. Our friends at jangler have a great app that allows you to send a gift card with a personal video voice message or funny gift you can send right away or schedule to send on the perfect day and time set and forget. I like that. I have found a perfect for clients, employees, birthdays, or any celebration where I can't be there in person. It's quick, easy to send and you can spend instantly in store or online when you receive a card, check it [email protected]
What about the speaking opportunities that have come from your role talking to large groups of people tailor them? I know you were quite anxious about that sort of stuff in the early days. It's not something you'd done a lot of. Tell us a little bit about your feelings around that from in the early days to how you feel about that now.
Speaker 2 00:29:06 So I've never had a problem with speaking in front of a large, large crowd, or like if you've got a class assessment, you know, you have to do a speech or presentation. I've never had a problem with that because I would know I'm always prepared. And I also on the sporting field, I always have to perform in front of a crowd. You know, it's not something it's not something that's new. I've, I've dealt with it, my heart, my entire life. So it's not I'm, I'm used to it. I'm fine with that. But the thing that I really struggled with is being put on the spot, because obviously in our role, it wasn't anything to do with sport or a presentation. You would, it was more so you're doing a speech, you're doing an introduction. You're going to be introducing like, you're introducing a speaker. You have to give a blurb.
Speaker 2 00:29:50 You could be emceeing. You have to be reading off a run sheet. Things like that. That was that got to me because I'm not a very strong reader I've mentioned before, but I've got dyslexia and it's been something I've struggled with for a long time. It's and especially in English in school, obviously. So reading is actually quite a big difficulty for me and I have glasses, but I wouldn't wear it them on stage. So that makes it a little bit harder. You know, I have improved immensely in that field and Rob's nodding his head because he can tell because at the very beginning we would have to speak in front of the entire school for assembly. And that would be either on the fortnightly and also on the weekly. But I remember I would always, before we S and we used to still do it before we ever do a presentation, a speech, anything we'd both read through our scripts to each other, because I would go through it, read, read, read, and I'll get to work. Be like, Rob, can you pronounce this for me? How do I say this name properly, or this and that, then I'll kind of write it down on the sheet, the way that I can understand, then I just have that sigh of relief that I'm okay. I know what I'm doing. I know how to read. Like I can pronounce these words properly now, just reading through it once, get it in my head. And then off you go it whilst before I would be very nervous.
Speaker 3 00:31:06 And Rob, how about yourself? I know you've been involved in debating over the years, but how has the experiences of talking regularly, sometimes prepared sometimes unprepared in front of large groups? How has that improved your own communication and your speaking skills? Yeah. So as you said, you know, I've always been involved and I've done a lot of debating and public speaking. So, and especially with debating with the past few years was impromptu this thinking on the spot and not having a lot of time to prepare and all that kind of stuff I was kind of used to, but in the same sense, it was a different kind of speaking that you do a school captain, it wasn't a persuasive speech, or, you know, a funky topic for public speaking. It was the impromptu Jews, welcoming someone or inviting someone up to talk or reading through a ranch sheet or emceeing an event or whatever that you don't really get a lot of experience to practice with.
Speaker 3 00:32:01 So it was definitely a learning opportunity for me to further be able to hone my skills and think on the spot and be able to just get up and talk on your feet, which was, I think really beneficial. I want to talk about your teachers. I know that through the conversation I've had with you guys that they've helped you a lot through in the year, and that's obviously really important. I don't want to go into that. I just want to ask you guys each, if there was something that you wish the teacher or teachers could have helped you with prior to coming into this role, or even during the year, what would that have been for you? Robert? I think, cause we'd always in the preparation to becoming prefects and all that kind of stuff at school. There's all, we had a few like leadership training days and public speaking, training workshops and everything.
Speaker 3 00:32:52 But the public speaking that we kind of did was different to anything you've ever been trained to. And the leadership skills was something you'd always was not what we really got trained to do. So I think something a bit more based on head prefect, experiences, training, something like that. I think even working with a head prefect for a couple of days or something like that to, I think I know what you're in for to be able to give you opportunities to prepare for that, you know, prepare for the speeches, the M saying in front of the whole school and that kind of stuff, you know, just before someone gets up on stage the change of the name of the musical item, that kind of stuff that you really don't get to prepare for and really any other opportunities. I think that's probably something that would be beneficial. Tyler, how about yourself? Is there anything that you wish that the teachers really could have helped you with either previously or through the year that really would've been advantageous to your leadership?
Speaker 2 00:33:55 I don't have anything that I wish they would have done because a lot of the things that I hope they had of they did, I found because that's just in my personal opinion because I thought the teachers were very supportive. Obviously certain teachers here and there, like obviously not everyone. We had reached out out to teachers quite often or staff, especially the media department and they were always ready to help us. They were ready to take anything on board. They would be giving us the advice back saying, Oh, I don't think we can do that within our school. Like it could be regulations and all this and that. Or I know that if we had a question or you had a query about something that we had an idea about initiative, we would go ask one of the teachers that we're close to, or we've got a good relationship or are happy to help and they'll point us in the right direction. So we knew where to go. We go approach the next person. They would be happy to help if not pass us on to the next person. It was never really a dead end. I feel like they always wanted to provide us with the resources that we re we acquired because they wanted just to help us be our best.
Speaker 3 00:34:56 I think another thing in terms of support from the teachers and the staff at the school, I think we found we got a lot more support from where we didn't expect it, you know, from your classroom teachers, the media department, that kind of the admin staff, that kind of stuff that you didn't expect it from. And we got less support from the higher ups of the school who we would technically reporting to. And they weren't technically supposed to work with us the most. I think we found, we got a lot of our help from our classroom teachers or whatever, who we got to develop personal close, personal relationships over the years. And I think from the higher ups of the school, not in all has been in a lot of cases is where that we could have gotten more support some of the time, especially some people at the very top we could have. We would've thought we would have liked to have more interaction with and more support from them. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:35:50 I, a hundred percent agree with Rob because like he said, we're reporting to them, technically speaking, that's their, that they're our boss. So they would give us a task or anything like that. And we would have questions about it, but they would more be like, or very gray area, very up in the air. So we would kind of just take what they say, take it and run with it, make it into our own or get the job done, hand it back. And they'll be like, yeah, that's fine. There's no guidance. They gave us no guidance at all. Whilst I think what we were used to is obviously the classroom environment where you're given a task and a set of rules, it's like an assessment task. You have a marking criteria. You're going to hit all the points to get all of the marks. If you want to get good marks, you've got to hit them all and do them to the best of your ability.
Speaker 2 00:36:32 On the other hand, when we were talking to the heads of school with people who were above us, they were more, so look, this is the end goal. We don't care how you get to it, just get to it. You know? So I think a bit more guidance from them because also they know what we can and can't do was we actually don't, we don't know what we can control within the school. Because again, then again, we're only students, you know what I mean? Whilst we're talking to teachers and staff and everyone, not everyone can access certain things within the school community. Like there was one situation we wanted to, we were talking about finance and cause we were raising funds for a charity and we didn't know who to talk to because we obviously don't have any rights to be going through any finance within such CCGs like our school.
Speaker 3 00:37:16 And we can't just go like saying, Oh, we'll just allocate money from this budget or something. You know, we can't do that.
Speaker 2 00:37:22 Yeah. It's not, it's not, we're not allowed to do that. Like we don't have the authority to do that. So that guidance, I liked how they gave us leniency. So don't get me wrong on that. Leniency was great, but a little bit more guidance to have a bit more of a clearer path would have been awesome, which is what we received from the staff, the ones that we had built our relationship with because they had a bit more pathways that could open up for us and giving us the ideas. They had a bit more knowledge for the questions that we would have, like who do we need to speak to for the finance who are the finance team? We'll have a word with them saying what we can and can't do. What are we allowed to do?
Speaker 3 00:37:58 How was that experience or that desire to have that guidance? How do you think that's impacted or going to impact your future leadership?
Speaker 2 00:38:07 Well, I've taken a mental note that, that it's always important. The experiences that we've had to communicate to such a large group is it's always important to have clear communication from the very beginning. The mistake that we made was we had gaps within our communication the first time, the first task that we had, and that just caused utter chaos. And it's just a absolute pain to kind of reset it because it confusion just expands, honestly, like you won't believe, but if have everything laid out like dot point clear as day, everything in one place, one spot or one as simple as one text message. But it doesn't mean if it looks like an essay, you've gotten it out there. People need to know the important key information, no waffle, no waffling in that. I think that clear communication is so, so important,
Speaker 3 00:38:55 But it sounds like your no waffling approach is rowing off on Tyler. What are your thoughts around what we've just spoken about? So I think that one thing we learned is that as Talem said, it was nice to be really flexible and have the opportunity to do what we wanted to in other cases. But there were some times I know there was one instance where we approached for some help from the higher up. And we kind of got told you go sort that out for yourself kind of stuff. But the whole point of us going to ask was to ask about what we were getting told to go and find out about. You could say, they were trying to say, well, you know, you take this upon yourself and you go and sorted out, but there are some cases where you actually wanted looked for the answers, but we'd kind of come up and say, well, we don't really want to know what's going on here.
Speaker 3 00:39:41 Cause that's really not. We haven't had experience in this. What would your advice be for us to do this? And I think one key takeaway I think is to know what your role is as someone who's leading in someone who's seeking some advice from you and to kind of get into their shoes or sort of know the situation that they're in. So you can be able to guide them and help them out more without a doing it all for them or be, you know, not being a bit dismissive in where they're coming for advice. It's just important to know the situation matters to where, you know, you're trying to give out advice and give feedback and, and be supportive. There are other cases where we'd kind of disasters and guidance somewhere and things would get done for us. And we think, well, that's not really what we wanted. And in other cases, you know, what we wanted was some answers. And we were kind of just got told to find the answers and come back.
Speaker 2 00:40:37 And all we want to do is deliver the best possible outcome for the person that we're working with. Who's given us the job. And the way you do that is asking questions is finding out certain characteristics as to what they want to be achieved. And then we can take that base product and then expand on that. So if we have those base products, we can then use our brains and all the relationships that we've built within the school community to expand that, make it better, get a different opinion, take a different perspective and then make it into what we believe could be the best and goal to then present to them obviously. But sometimes when that base product is a bit muffled, it's not really set in stone. It's too lenient to really be given to someone that's where I think we would struggle. Sometimes I actually don't think that people that were taught like the hierarchy, like the people above us who were talking to didn't even know the end product themselves.
Speaker 2 00:41:35 So they didn't even have it set in stone. They didn't have their bet, their base rules before they were given to us. So we were just kind of thrown under the bus a few times, but you know, you make it work. And I guess if you're put in that situation, what they get sometimes is either going to be better than their expectations. A lot of the time it was for us, we did do more than we should have. Whilst other times it would be set in stone, you've got clear instructions or you've got a clear guidance as to what they would like. We can then expand on that. And if we do expand on it and they acknowledge and say, that was actually a good job, like I like what you did with this. Or it's kind of like, Oh, I think we might take that out. Actually, it wouldn't quite work with what I'm going with and we don't take offense to it. You know, that's not what they asked. We just thought this could be a good addition. So we always just work around it. But it's so much, so much easier and better when we have a basis rules as to what the end goal should be, because that's all we want. We want it to be the best it can be
Speaker 3 00:42:31 With that experience and these experiences that you've had shared today. What advice have you given the next leaders of central coast grammar school? What advice would you give them in any young leader out there for that matter that will you think will really help them be the best leader, the best school leader that they can be? Robert? I think the number one is communication. We mentioned that quite a lot to the next head prefects when we met with them a few weeks ago. And that was the one thing that we constantly wanted to talk about was communication. I think that's really, whenever things didn't go quite to plan in things we were trying to achieve throughout the year, it will always came back to most of the time communication, a communication breakdown, or maybe not the best method of communication. Something to do with communication, I think is the most important thing for, I think, any leader, but especially, you know, a school leader in a school environment with your peers to be very clear and concise in how you communicate and what you're communicating or about from your side Taylor.
Speaker 2 00:43:42 Yeah. Well, we actually had a little dinner date with the 20, 21 head prefects just to give them a rundown of what you should expect. And I think it was very beneficial for it because it kind of made us reflect as well. And also they were learning. They could ask us questions, but a hundred percent communication is sitting very well on that list. Um, and number one, and then I would definitely say team work between us two, Rob and I, the teamwork that we've built, we couldn't have done it on our own, honestly. So you need to work well with your partner because they're like in that job, they're literally your other half. It's not an individual job in everything that we did. I know like if it's emails, if we're trying to get initiative done done, it doesn't matter whose individual initiative it was.
Speaker 2 00:44:26 We communicate it as we, so it's always a combined job or combined initiative, a combined task, even though one individual could be doing it. One of us could own it. Like only one of us could be doing it. It's always, we also, I would say trust, building trust between each other and the cohort, because if you have trust that builds the relationship. So having an Oh well then fourth, the relationship that you built within your leadership team, because if you have a strong relationship with your team, then they have trust in you. If they have trust in you, they will communicate with you. And that's how you build your teamwork. Like your team environment. They all work hand in hand. I would say those four. Those are the very, I think on my list at least top four,
Speaker 3 00:45:12 Robert, what are you most proud of that you guys have achieved together with the cohort this year? I think it wasn't necessarily an initiative we did or anything, but I think the way we connected and developed our cohorts cohesion and their strengths together, I think was something. And I know it's been commented on a lot that we did good at, and I think that's something, I think that's the best thing. It's quite easy to, you know, install something in the school or, you know, get something up and running like an initiative or whatever, but making a whole load of 17 and narrate your eighteen-year-olds communicate and work well together is not easy. But I think we managed to do a pretty good job of that. It was definitely made easier by us having a good cohort, but I think a lot of that was down to us and how we developed our cohort. So tell them, what are you most proud of?
Speaker 2 00:46:06 Okay. I've got three things that I'm most proud of. One is how far we have come as to working as a team. It blew my mind. I never thought it would be, we would work so well together. I definitely know I could never have done the job as well without Rob two is working through COVID because they are unprecedented times that we did not predict. So in all of our meetings and all that well, halfway through the year when it hit, instead of kind of going with the first plan, you know, like yep. Sandstone done. It's more so, okay. Wait, wait, wait, what if these regulations changed? We've got to think of plan a plan B plan C Zed. Yeah. A to said seriously. So that was really challenging. And because things had changed that it would change on the daily. That means our plans would change on the daily.
Speaker 2 00:46:53 So the meeting that we had yesterday completely changed, we could have a new one. So it takes up a lot of our time. Also the morale within the cohort dropped during COVID like would for anyone, I feel like we made the best out of a bad situation. So we still kept up with our assemblies. We still kept up with consistently building the relationship with our cohort, even though we weren't physically there to see them, just little things here and there, like posting something on a messenger group, chat or posting something on a face on Facebook or in my CCGs, or it could be an activity that we do. Uh, I feel like we just kept that engagement going so we didn't lose that relationship. We didn't come back and we didn't have to reset. We kept it going. So I felt like that was a great achievement because it had never been done before.
Speaker 2 00:47:37 We were making that up on the spot. Like we didn't have any guidance in that, you know, so we were experiencing it firsthand and just dealing it with it there. And then, and then the third thing was, I've mentioned before every year, Rob and I both said it in our interviews is cohesion across the whole school. Right? There's been cohesion within our cohort in year 11, obviously, because we're pretty close within the grades, but there's never been a group, a club or a community, a small community within the school that involves students from the junior, middle and senior college. It's either one or two, never three. So Rob and I has have been the first head prefects to actually engage this. So we came up with this initiative, which is a 10, you know, the 10 cent bottle returns to, uh, reduce the school's environmental footprint become more eco-friendly.
Speaker 2 00:48:25 So this was also a very big challenge for us, obviously, because we had to get all three schools involved and it was a huge task. I don't understand why it hasn't been done before. Initially we thought, Oh, it's not going to be too bad, but we can get this done. It should be like anything else, you know, we thought of it. We can get it going like anything else, but no, no, no. We were wrong. That was a lot of hard work. And we've now passed the Baton on to, uh, the year 11 S because we've picked out two year Eleven's, we were now your twelves to take this initiative from us. So they're now that they're the leaders of that initiative. And we have assigned teachers that control the environmental committee. They have actually named it. Now it's a thing. It's an environmental committee at school.
Speaker 2 00:49:06 We've gotten blue bins put around, we've got notices, put up to get awareness saying chief, you've got a 10 cent bottle from the canteen or from home. If you've got any from home, bring it in, Chuck it in the blue bin. And we will put it towards a charity. We put a poll out to have three different charities. And people chose everyone from the school could, could choose so they could have their input. They felt like they have had their say within this initiative. So everyone felt included. And we had a lot of junior school kids, very, very excited about the whole initiative. And they come up with all these crazy ideas, which obviously not, are not all suitable, like putting CCTV cameras at every single bin, making sure people are putting the right stuff in, not like a banana peel, but putting their bottles in.
Speaker 2 00:49:51 But they're very eager, which is what we want. So we've, we've created a small community of all different ages that each person can be used as a role model to grow off because they all have the same interest. It's all about making an environmental impact within our school community. And it's honestly, it has just blossomed. We've handed it over now. But when it first started, it took a while to get up and running. Like people weren't putting the right things in the bin. People didn't know what it was, you know, et cetera, et cetera. We didn't have people willing to join the group that we're trying to get. But after a while, it's just grown so quickly. And I think that's something that I'm very proud of it, at least, because I'm also passionate about that. And the fact that how many years the school has been going for that almost every year, cohesion has been brought up. We've been the first ones to actually action it.
Speaker 3 00:50:39 Tell him you mentioned COVID I wasn't going to make, COVID a big issue and I'm still not because it is, it is just what it is. But Robert, if I can ask you one question around COVID-19, we'll ask Tyler as well. What has been the biggest challenge for you this year? Given the COVID situation? I think, and Taylor has already touched on this a bit, but the constant changing of things it's constantly changing. I think that's been probably the biggest challenge in the sense that every time we'd go and you know, we'd make plans, we'd try and organize things and Oh, no, we can't do that because, or, you know, we organize something that's probably not as great with some people. And then it's, Oh, we can actually do this now. And you know, let's, re-look at this. And suddenly we have to make some plans for the future and we don't know what to do. So we use, you know, the regulations right now and then, you know, new regulations come out and everyone's disappointed because, you know, we can't do what we can technically do anymore and all that kind of stuff. I think that's the constant changing nature of COVID and all the changing regulations constantly. I think that's been the biggest challenge. Is there anything else from you, Tyler Moran the COVID situation in a, in a different challenge? Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:51:49 Yeah. There was just absolutely no stability. Everything that we had planned has just been thrown up in the air and the things that we had planned a lot of hard work and time had gone into that. So it was really hard to keep motivate, like motivated even in class to my, I had no motivation. I was in my room with my laptop on my desk, like 24, seven, seven days a week. It was just, I wanted to get out. I was like, you know, I wasn't a good mindset. I'm sure people were in the same boat because it's just, everything's changing. And a lot of people don't like change it's because it's hard to adapt to, to keep people engaged in the activities that we had planned to lift their spirits, you know, to keep them involved within the cohort was very challenging. So yeah, the three things I would say is the engagement, the instability were around it and the motivation.
Speaker 3 00:52:44 What else you guys around mum and dad, I know you got different mum and dads, so I'll ask you separately. How was mum and dad been supportive for you? What's been important for that Robert for you? I think it's been immensely important. I think especially, you know, they've always been there to vent, which has been good. We've needed to do that a lot. You know, they've always just been there to support. I can't think of anything like specific that they've done, but I think they've always just been there and they've always been really supportive and they've always, you know, if I've, if we're struggling to come up with ideas for things or whatever, but they're always there, you know, to discuss things with. And I think it would have been very difficult to survive this year without them. Yeah. I think they've, they've always just been there for support and for guidance and whatever. And it's been really crucial to the past year and tailor them. How about you? I know you're a, you're a bit of a talker with mum and dad. I know that I haven't had the honor of actually meeting your parents, but I do appreciate the trust that your parents are putting me in having conversations with you. So how important has that support been for you?
Speaker 2 00:53:53 Look, mom and dad's support. I've got no words for it because I honestly could not have made it through this job without them, because I had never thought that I would actually get it. I never thought I'd hold such a high role because it's such an honor. It was a big shock in all honesty. And my mum was actually a head prefect of her school in South Africa. She was really, really proud. And so was dad because he's actually a teacher at grandma. And that was really helpful because Robin, I could use, like we could call upon him a lot. Yeah. So their support at home was amazing, but my family had a bit of a hiccup throughout the year and it's still ongoing. So it did make it a bit more challenging. It placed a lot more pressure on myself because I didn't want to place any more pressure on my family could because they were already facing enough at the beginning of the year. It was great that full support throughout the whole year. But at the beginning it was really strong, you know, getting kicked up, started and going. But I think once I kind of got used to the role started knowing what I needed to be low, it needs to be done, you know, and growing in myself, my confidence as well, that's when the hiccup kind of hit and everything just kinda changed.
Speaker 3 00:55:01 What's next for you guys? So you've finished school, you've got this think further than schoolies, only next week away, as you said, but what's after school is for you Robert. So I'm hoping to go to the defense force next year and got an ad for there and become an airfield engineer in the air force. So I've got through all the defense interviews and everything and um, I mean on the defense force side, so now it's got to wait for the eight harder come out on the 18th of December to find out if I get into the uni part and then I'll hopefully be off there on the 15th of January. Taylor, how about you up to school? What's what's your next journey? Hold
Speaker 2 00:55:41 Unlike Rob, I am going to take a gap year. And the reason being my thought behind it is I've had 13 years of schooling, uh, can take a year off because the degree that I'm hoping to get as a four year degree. So I just don't have the motivation. I don't have the mindset to go straight back into school. And I've got a lot of things that I want to do, which I can not do on top of school. So during the gap year, well obviously I'll be training for swimming, seeing, see where I can really do where that can take me. So I'll be doing that full time, but I've always wanted to learn sign language, right. And because I'm, won't be in school, I won't be learning anything new within that gap here. I was at maybe taking a TAFE course in sign language for Oz land.
Speaker 2 00:56:27 And I looked into it to, for me to get my cert three. I think it was something like a year. So that works out perfectly. And it's a really, really good skill to have for the job that I'm looking for. And I also am hoping to get into the fireys if I can make the cut, if not, I'll try again next year, but I'm going to do that this year and obviously just work like anyone else. Then in 2022, I will be hopefully if I get the ATAR, I would just defer if I do, cause I've got early entry, I'm hoping to go to ACU and Canberra and I'll train at the AIS for swimming there and do a bachelor of paramedicine and nursing. So my ultimate goal in life that I've always wanted to do since a little girl was be a paramedic, but not just a generalized ProMedica. I've always wanted to be a special operations paramedic. I'm just thinking if I've got the, and then I've got nursery under my belt too. If I can, maybe I can work in the ER, who knows, but I mean, if I've got sign language down, Pat, if I have some experience as a fiery very strong swimmer, hopefully I'm able to get a job as a paramedic and then work my way up to the special operations.
Speaker 1 00:57:38 Fantastic. Well, I have to say, it's not surprising to me that both of you are destined for service. It's really been a foundation of what I've had the privilege to learn about you guys over this year and obviously serving your school community and then going on to greater things in the service of country and people and helping other people. So certainly a good foundation of your own leadership development and skills. So well done. I want to thank you very much. This is your first podcast interview ever. Isn't it? Well, thank you for honoring me with your presence and for you for having us. Thank you. Absolute pleasure. Look, I just want to say it has been a real honor and a privilege to spend some time with you guys this year. I've learned a lot. I hope you guys have learned a lot. You guys are impressive young people well done to central coast grammar school and your parents respectively and in the people that have helped you become whatever you put your minds to. And you've shared that you guys will Excel and do a fantastic job so well done. And thank you very much for being the first student guests on the culture, things podcast.
Speaker 2 00:58:42 Thank you. Thank you. It's been awesome experience.
Speaker 1 00:58:55 I want to thank Robert and Taylor's parents, David and Samantha bacon and Robbie and Tanya Barnard for supporting this project. It was such an exciting experience. Being able to work with young leaders like Robert and Taylor, they've had a crazy school year, but they never avoided their responsibilities. They showed up, took it all in their stride and achieve something that had never been achieved before cohesion across the middle and senior school with their environmental project. They achieve this waltz. Many businesses struggled with cohesion with people working remotely. Perhaps we can learn a thing or two about resilience and adaptability from these young leaders, Robert and Tyler shared some valuable lessons during this interview, which they learned from experience during the year as school captains of central coast grammar school. These were my three key takeaways from my conversation with Robert and Tyler. My first key takeaway self-awareness is a basis for leadership development to support increased self-awareness.
Speaker 1 01:00:00 We use the disc profiling tool. There was also the opportunity for Robert and Tyler to give each other regular feedback. Both of these assisted with a greater level of self-awareness. This was a basis for their leadership development. My second key takeaway teams must be aligned, otherwise confusion, reigns Robert, and Tailem shared their experience about their first task of arranging a roster. I should say they were approximately 70 students they needed to coordinate with. So no small feat. I learned quickly that if they weren't aligned and working as a team, then it can create mass confusion, which needed a lot of cleaning up as a team. Take the time to get aligned. It is time well spent my third key takeaway, great leaders leave a great legacy. The environmental project is something that Robert and Tyler are very proud of. The project alone. Isn't their legacy.
Speaker 1 01:01:00 Their legacy is the fact that they created the succession plan and handed on the Baton to the 2021 leaders. The example in precedent set is that the 2021 leaders will hand over to the 2022 leaders and so forth. The sign of great leaders is the great legacy they leave behind. So in summary, my three key takeaways were self-awareness is a basis for leadership development teams be aligned, otherwise confusion, reigns great leaders, leave a great legacy. Congratulations to Sonia Kavanaugh for winning last week's Shangler competition. She chose the jangler $30 gift card to event cinemas, but she and her husband Greg are looking forward to using during the Christmas holiday period. I believe they're going to see the new wonder woman movie have fun guys. This week's question is what was the type of environmental project that Robert and Taylor led across the school to win this one $30 jangler gift card of your choice. Be the first to send the correct answer to [email protected]
Thank you for listening. Stay safe until next time. Thank you for
Speaker 0 01:02:20 Listening to the culture things podcast with Brendan Rogers, please visit Brendan rogers.com to access the show notes. If you love the culture things podcast, please subscribe, rate, and give a review on Apple podcast and remember healthy culture is your competitive advantage.