Reflections on Leadership – Siân Rees, Associate Dean, Cardiff Metropolitan University

The Consortium is delighted that Cardiff Met is once again our headline sponsor for the Leading Wales Awards.

Siân Rees, Associate Dean/Director of Enterprise, at Cardiff School of Management, Cardiff Metropolitan University, is leading on our partnership and so I was determined to ask her about her reflections on leadership:

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

“Being brought up in Africa has given me a broad perspective on life and leadership. It has meant that I have always recognised the importance of diversity in creating a strong and effective team. My own career path has also been diverse, having previously taken on roles in the public and private sectors, in education and in industry and hence developing a wide variety of transferable skills and experiences. This means that I bring a wealth of experience from different roles and sectors to apply to all aspects of management and leadership in my current role.”

What have been the main highlights since taking up your leadership role with Cardiff Met?

“The main highlights for me have been about really engaging with industry and the third sector and building the working relationships between us as a university and those with whom we can work to help generate learning and create business impact.  I love having the clear focus on a role that is very much about influencing beyond authority and building bridges between us and industry.”

What have been the most helpful things you have learnt from these highlights in your role?

“Without doubt I have learnt that leadership is primarily about listening. It is essential to be open to learning from others, since none of us can possibly know everything; in order to learn from others then listening is a key skill to develop and utilise. Listening to individual team members, their view points, insight and perspective is also a critical element of building good relationships, engaging them in the team activities and hence developing the best and most effective kind of team.”

What do you think is the biggest issue facing Leaders in Wales in 2016?

“Thinking primarily of owner / managers of small businesses, I am convinced that the major issue is insufficient exposure to leadership development activities and opportunities. Often the owner / managers are the “technical expert” who developed their service, or product and business. But once they have employees the need for and the demands of leadership and management skills and activities are frequently underestimated. Assisting the skill development in these areas is something vitally important that HE can help owner / managers achieve in order that they can develop their businesses most effectively.”

Which other Leaders in Wales do you admire and why?

“Barbara Wilding (who is now Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University) – who was not only a highly successful Chief Constable of South Wales Police, chaired UK-wide police force task groups but also had the vision and courage to lead Cardiff Met to remain independent.”

What is one word that sums up leadership for you?

“Integrity – being true to your own and your organisation’s values is essential in order to build warm and trusted connections and working relationships, the essence of delivering on the agreed vision and targets by any team or organisation.”

You can meet Siân and hear more from her at the Leadership Cafe CPD event on Wednesday 24th February (18:00 arrival for an 18:30 start) at Cardiff Met: “Better Leadership; Better Business Results”. Details and tickets are available from

Nominations are open until 11th March 2016 and you can access nomination documents from

This entry was posted in Awards, Conversational Leadership, Leadership, Leading Wales Awards, Management, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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