ST JOSEPH, Trinidad—“Effective leadership always starts with a foundation of strong values and a commitment to internal change.”
This was the core theme at a recent leadership training workshop hosted by the University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT).
“The UTT Student Support Services Department has as one of its focus areas the deepening of student leadership capacity with an emphasis on values. The goal is not only student leaders but the preparation of future national leaders who are guided by high ethical standards,” said Dr. Letitia Williams, Assistant Vice President in charge of Student Support Services at UTT.
The workshop was facilitated by Global Leadership Interlink, an international non-profit organisation that promotes values-based leadership development around the world.
More than 60 incoming Student Guild Officers of UTT participated in the event. They explored the current expressions of leadership in Trinidad and Tobago and the issues being confronted. Participants identified issues such as corruption, crime, inequality and lack of credibility as some of the key challenges facing the nation.
The solution to these issues was directly linked by both the facilitators and the participants to the quality of personal character and the condition of the human heart.
“Generally, there is an insufficient concept of ‘leadership’, associated narrowly with prominence, benefits and ranking,” said Dr. Graham King, Global Director of GLI.
“Values-based leadership directly confronts the issue of the human heart. Addressing the challenges facing our society does not start in a search for external solutions; it begins by defining and securing the internal qualities leaders must possess.”
The GLI concept of values-based leadership resonated strongly with participants.
“This workshop has totally transformed my view of what a leader is,” stated Nancy, a participant from Tobago.
“At the end of the day, you cannot compromise your values, ethics or self-worth to accomplish your task,” mused another student participant from UTT’s Chagaramas campus.
The Student Development Unit of UTT strongly endorsed the development of values-based leadership as a new paradigm for student and faculty development.
“We were extremely grateful to GLI for making this workshop a resounding success,” Williams said.
“This workshop and our collaboration with the Global Leadership Interlink is an expression of UTT’s commitment to being a values-based organisation that produces values-based graduates.”
The workshop is part of an ongoing partnership between GLI and UTT in the areas of leadership, ethics and professional development. Future plans include mentorship of UTT student leaders by GLI professionals, a student leaders conference and the establishment of GLI Leadership Clubs on UTT’s 10 campuses across Trinidad and Tobago.