West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

3 November 2020

Knowledge is experience – meet Diane Mason the training provider who has lived a life of leadership

Diane Mason (DMM Training and Development) has an expert understanding of many different business environments and behaviours, having worked in a range of industries. Her world has been about ‘people’ from the get-go and she has a unique view on this topic.

From a farm in Yorkshire to leadership around the world - Diane’s story

I would never have guessed I’d get into training and development as a profession. I’m from a Yorkshire farming family and had never left Yorkshire until I was 17-years-old when I moved to London to work in a hotel.

Diane told us how she has never been scared to make a decision, an important aspect of management and leadership. She believes great leaders should always be confident in their decisions and take full responsibility for these.

One day I decided to leave the hotel I worked in and work for one of the guests I’d met, working for a shipping company and travelling the world. I’d have meetings with bankers, executives and leaders and was being pushed out of my comfort zone with new experiences. I was fortunate to be in numerous situations where I watched leadership, good and bad.

Diane eventually came back to London and took up a new job, working for the chairman of an energy resources business. Once again, she was travelling the world and operating at a high level.

“We’re talking diplomats, politicians and international leaders and I was right in the midst of it. I watched and saw how these people behaved and how their leadership played out. Not all of the leadership I saw was good,I’ve seen bullying and coercion, but I’ve also seen amazing persuasion and influence.”

From this job Diane went on to work in the banking industry in London for six years and continued to see leadership at various levels. Diane then worked at a marketing agency for seven years as an operations director, leading 120 staff across three offices. After this she took the decision to move back to Yorkshire to work for a company in Harrogate, managing acquisitions for them.

“There was a lot of liaison and persuasion involved in this role, along with the need to communicate and influence at a high level.

Throughout her whole career, Diane was predominantly dealing with people. Then one day Diane was at a leadership seminar and something clicked for her.

“The man running the seminar had just set up his own leadership training company. We got talking and he offered me a job. That’s the moment I got into training and development. His words to me were – there's something about you, you understand people. And I think the truth is that all of that experience I gained with people over the years is my USP.”

Practical and targeted - Diane’s offer

“My style of teaching is down to earth, fun, interactive and open. People end up learning all sorts about me and the mess ups I’ve made! My job is to create an environment where delegates feel they can share their own challenges.

Diane supports staff at all levels in an organisation and any type of business, as her expertise is around people. Diane’s training is available through the Higher Performing Workplaces project and eligible businesses could access 40% funding towards this*.

I interview every single person who would like my support before the training starts so that I can find out who they are and what support they need. The Personal Leadership Development programme is spread across eight sessions, each session covers a different topic and there’s always lots of discussion and interaction. I don’t use PowerPoint at all because I don’t think it’s fair to tell everyone in the room to do the same thing, I treat all of my delegates as individuals.”

Diane raises awareness back in the workplace by setting assignments at the end of each session.

“I set these assignments and then during the next session the delegates will stand at the front of the room and report back. It’s often scary for them because a lot of people don’t like presenting but this is about pushing yourself, facing challenges and knowing how to communicate.

My sessions focus on building trust, understanding colleagues, communication, conflict and having difficult conversations. We then start to look at commitment, buy-in, persuasion and influence. Then we move on to dealing with under-performance and holding people accountable (including ourselves). I teach people to build trust and commitment within their teams in order to get the results they need.”

Customer testimonial - Personal Leadership Development Programme

“Having previously been a leader within one of the world's largest companies for over 10 years, I have been through several world class leadership training programmes. Not one of them have come close to being as good as Diane's. I learned so much about leadership and team development on this course, not only that, I also learned so much about how to deal with my own personal anxieties and weaknesses. I would not hesitate to recommend this course to anyone.”

*Higher Performing Workplaces is managed by the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges and funded by the European Social Fund.


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