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Liza Metcalfe: A good manager needs great organisational skills

On the job

I manage a team of 11. I’m responsible for HR functions, such as recruitment, industrial relations, performance management, plus ICT responsibilities and administration requirements, like insurance, procurement, purchasing and even events managements and fundraising. It can be hard to juggle each responsibility, so excellent time management and organisational skills are essential.

Career progression

When I first came to Australia in 1985 [from the Philippines], I was a fresh graduate with an accounting degree and I didn’t have any work experience. When I first started at Somerville I was only supposed to be filling in as a receptionist. I moved on to be finance officer and stayed in the finance department for about 13 years before taking on the HR, IT and the administration responsibilities. Somerville has been my first and only job and I love it.

Accomplished juggler

Working smart is not about squeezing more things in; it’s about prioritising what matters most. Sometimes you have to learn to let go of something good in favour of something better – you don’t have to go to every seminar that comes up, for example. You have to choose what will work best for you.

Working smart is not about squeezing more things in; it’s about prioritising what matters most. Sometimes you have to learn to let go of something good in favour of something better…

The art of saying no

When our days are full, we need to apply the gentle art of saying no and also learn to delegate effectively. It’s more valuable in the long run to take the time to train someone so that they can complete a task just as well as you. I guess I believe in investing time to gain time.

The bigger picture

As a not-for-profit, funding is an ongoing challenge, so it’s important to keep my team motivated. You need to let people know that they are contributing to the bigger picture. I think healthy and positive work relationships are the foundation for helping organisations thrive and succeed. To be an enduring leader, you have to be authentic and passionate about the job you do.

Knowledge is key

To keep leading, you need to keep learning. I attend seminars, conferences and use social media such as LinkedIn. I also learn from my staff. You need to be engaged.

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