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When Teina McLean takes on a job, she often finds herself thinking about the future.

"I always want to increase my level of mahi, so when I'm an officer, I'm like 'yep, I think I can run this place'," she laughs.

To help her achieve the future she sees for herself, the 36-year old enrolled onto the Certificate in Leadership and First Line Management at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

The Level 3, 18-week programme which Teina studied at Māngere campus, teaches skills in leadership and management to help tauira create happy and productive teams in all fields of work where relationships matter.

"I've had some good managers through my life, but I've also been good at knowing what it entails," says Teina.

Learning about different leadership styles has helped Teina discover her own managerial style, which she employs as a healthcare administrator for Kohuora, the Auckland South Correctional Facility.

"A leader needs to adapt to those they are leading and be someone you can talk to and can offer positive advice to remedy any situation. Personally for myself, being on the same level as everybody is important."

Teina says patience and communication were a couple of the strengths she identified about her own leadership style, and she also learned different leadership theories and techniques around how to adapt or change an approach in different circumstances.

"I learned so much and met some really career focused people, it was excellent," she says.

"Naturally I had calming abilities, but this course enhanced them and brought a lot out of me. I can't talk enough about the confidence it's given me," she says.

"I'd encourage anyone to do it. There could be people at home right now doing nothing who are actually gifted leaders."

Kohuora has about 1000 inmates, and two years ago Teina moved from a role as reintegration officer to one where she manages patients and appointments in the prison's medical centre.

It was through her work at the prison that she discovered the educational opportunities available at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and thought, "that might be a pathway for me."

"I'm just blessed that I had the opportunity to enhance my skills while I worked, and that I had a kaiako who really broke it down and never gave up on me," the mother of two says.

And she says good leadership and management skills are valuable outside of work as well.

"I reckon leadership and management can be applied anywhere. I've used it in my own life as role model to my boys and my family too."

Teina - who has iwi affiliations to Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Kuri and Ngāti Tūwharetoa - initially wanted to use her qualification to step into a supervisor role at Kohuora.

However, she's now decided to continue her learning journey and study towards a Bachelor in Health Science majoring in psychology.

"Part of First Line Management involved goal setting and this activated my goal to pursue psychology," she says.

"All the skills I've learned; I'm now applying to myself."


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Published On: April 12, 2017

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