Molesi Alefaio is clearly a leader that cares about his team.

During a recent period where he and his direct reports were required to isolate after being identified as close contacts of a COVID-19 case, he instigated twice-daily check-ins to ensure everyone was doing ok.

"Some of my team live alone, so I wanted to make sure everyone felt connected and cheer them up a bit," Molesi says.

Molesi is a Civil Maintenance Supervisor on our Lane Cove Tunnel and M2 Motorway contracts in Sydney, within our Transport sector. 

One of the skills Molesi employed on these calls was something he learned in Ventia's Essential Leaders course he has just completed with 15 of his colleagues from across NSW. 

The training program involves four workshops run over two days each. 

He says active listening and encouraging others to participate in the conversation was a great learning he got from the workshop and he was able to deploy it during his daily team check-ins. 

"I made sure I didn't dominate the conversation, and brought everyone into it," he said.

When you really listen to a conversation it helps you understand what people are thinking and ensures that you don't make assumptions about what they want or need.


Molesi Alefaio and Lane Cove Tunnel and M2 Motorway teams
Pictured: Molesi Alefaio with team members at a social event.


Adapting to different working conditions

Molesi says he was pleased to have colleagues in the program with him that had been working from home for a while now, as it gave him a different perspective on managing his team. 

"Because I'm operational, I've been working from site for most of the last two years, so I've been on the ground with the team," he says. "But when my whole team had to go into isolation, I had to learn how to manage people from a distance. It's a different skillset."

Another challenge for Molesi that he was able to overcome using what he'd learned in the program was how to manage a large project remotely. 

"This was the first time in seven years I haven't attended a tunnel closure," Molesi says. "I called in support from colleagues in other teams, and I had to trust that they could run things for me." 

Molesi asked a former site supervisor who now works on our Eastern Distributor contract to step in and supervise, along with two colleagues who moved into other parts of the Lane Cove Tunnel and M2 Motorway contracts. He says it was great being able to rely on them to coordinate the subcontractors and ensure the work was done safely and to a high standard.

If this had happened before I did the leadership training, I think I would have been a lot more stressed about handing over to others. 

Molesi says he's found huge value in the workshops and is very glad to be back at site with his team.