Leadership programme develops primary sector team

16 January 2023

From agriculture to horticulture, vineyards to fish farms, and everything in between, strong team leadership skills are essential to building a successful and high performing team.

The New Zealand Certificate in Business – Introduction to Team Leadership (Level 3), is a cross-sector programme that helps managers, supervisors and leaders of primary sector businesses develop their skills and their understanding of team leadership.

Two graduates from the viticulture industry, Diana Katardzhieva and Kane Gallies-Jones, recently sat down with us to discuss their leadership journey and the benefits they gained from this programme.

Cultivating a team that works together

Diana grew up working on the family vineyard in a traditional winemaking area of Bulgaria and went on to study winemaking including her masters. After more than a decade working in winemaking in Bulgaria she moved to New Zealand and a vintage role at Whitehaven Winery near Blenheim. After progressing through different roles, she is now a senior winemaker at Whitehaven.

One of the highlights for Diana in the past year has been completing the New Zealand Certificate in Business - Introduction to Team Leadership (Level 3) programme with Primary ITO.

Diana says she has attended many leadership courses but this one stood out because the tutor provided many ‘real world’ workplace examples for discussion and showed by example how to unite a team.

“Because it was spread over three days, it also gave lots of opportunity to ask questions and actually discuss real situations from our workplaces.”

The collective experiences of participants from other vineyards and organisations attending added value to the group sessions, she says. “I also really enjoyed the tutor’s stories and that he showed us how to get different people to work together.”

Diana says there were many learnings she can apply in her role. “It gave me an understanding of how important it is to develop a team spirit in the workplace and also what really matters to people. They want to enjoy going to work, feel challenged and feel that they have achieved something.”

Investing in training motivates team

The best part was learning about her own management style. “For me what was most important was the self-reflection. It gives you the tools to help bring people together and allow them to contribute.”

Diana heard about the Primary ITO programme through her colleagues and is thankful to her employer for the opportunity. “Whitehaven see a lot of benefit in this and really like to invest in people. When people see the company is investing in them it makes them feel more valued and motivated to contribute.”

Winery Operations Manager Kane Gallies-Jones is one of four Whitehaven team members who have completed the programme and he recommends it.

“It is useful for all levels of staff to do this,” says Kane. “For example, our cellar floor staff step up to leading teams through the vintage period so this programme gives them the opportunity to learn about different leadership techniques they can use.”

He says with changing management approaches in workplaces it is important to keep up to date with current best practice. “The softer skills of leadership are taught now so it is a different work environment and different approach to that of 10 or 15 years ago.”

“What was great about this programme was that there was a lot of freedom with discussion and the tutor was very experienced in human resources and the challenges that occur in workplaces,” says Kane.

He says misunderstandings in workplaces often occur due to miscommunication. “This training increases your awareness of those issues and makes you think more about what is going on around you.”

To learn more about the New Zealand Certificate in Business - Introduction to Team Leadership (Level 3) or to register your interest, click here.