Let’s Talk ….Leadership
Interview with Jessica Douglas, Strategic People and Policy Manager, Colchester
Who has really set the bar for you in terms of leadership style and approach?
The best example of a leader for me is my current line manager Dan Gascoyne. He joined CBC in June 2017 and has just been promoted to Chief Operating Officer so sadly he won’t be my manager anymore.
So what is different about Dan?
• Willing to challenge the status quo constructively and has influenced changed – has made an immediate impact.
• A true collaborative leader who really listens to people and gives people freedom to be creative.
• Genuinely Involves people and doesn’t assume he has all the ideas.
• Regularly has conversations about personal development.
• Very ambitious not just personally but also for Colchester – sets a clear vision.
• Very personable and doesn’t take himself too seriously – fun to work for.
Can a leader ever be accused of being too supportive?
In terms of whether a leader can be too “supportive” I would say no except when leaders become overly controlling and their way is the only way.
Leadership development versus leadership theories?
We have done some leadership development – SMT each ran a Leadership module which was really positive. I’m not a big fan of formal “training” and I am not sure that any leadership training I have done has had a huge impact or changed my style. I agree with you about learning theories – they can be interesting but don’t support people to become inspiring leaders.
I think the best Leadership development comes from mentoring, allowing staff to learn through new experiences and shadowing really good inspiring leaders. I also love listening to leaders who have a story to tell about how they lead a successful organisation and transformed it. I love practical examples. Nicola Beach is a great example of that. I could listen to her for ever.
Interview with Jill Parker, HR Director at Doncaster MBC and fantastic Finalist in PPMA HRD of the Year 2018
What value is most important to you as a Leader?
Can a Leader ever be accused of being too supportive?
Yes. This depends on individual circumstances and how the support is received. Some may openly accept this in helping them to do their job or an addressing issues. Some may view as being controlling in not allowing individuals to grow and develop. So knowing your employees, their needs and aspirations are vital to ensuring the right balance.
In your career what have been your ‘go-to’s that have helped and supported your views?
Peer support and inclusive networks both in my own profession but across others to help provide a different perspective/context.
Is there a key learning point or piece of guidance that you would offer to PPMA members?
Always find time for reflection. As they say everything looks different if you allow a period of time before revisiting to address or shape and in both giving and receiving feedback.
In your organisation how would you describe the culture and how do your senior Leaders drive this?
High performing, inclusive and collaborative. For our leaders this means having a greater focus on performance management; the need to work across organisational and professional boundaries; the ability to maintain and demonstrate a culture of co-operation, honesty, fairness and equality of opportunity; the ability to be flexible, agile, open to change and demonstrate a capacity for innovation and commercial awareness.
Are there any examples of great development that you have used at Doncaster to challenge thoughts and drive good leadership practice?
Our performance management golden thread linking our corporate plan through our workforce strategy through to individual development plans. Having an effective leadership and development framework in place that offers a variety of customised development programmes that reflect the future needs of our leaders and managers together with the strategic requirements for Doncaster, whilst building on the standards that have been developed through previous frameworks.
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