Devolving Power, Evolving Leadership – Carolyn Wilkins, Chief Executive, Oldham Council

Stronger Together is more than simply the title of our Greater Manchester Strategy, it is the foundation of our work on leadership. We believe that the more connected we are, the more we understand each other’s business, the greater our resilience and our ability to thrive as leaders. A strong community of leaders, across all parts of the city region, is essential if we are to deliver on the ambitions we have set for our people and places.

In developing our leadership capacity we want to encourage and provide opportunities for people in different organisations, systems and places to come together to tackle real challenges and issues that we face in delivering devolution. We know it’s not enough to lead within and on behalf of our organisations, we need to be able to transform our systems and our places. And we need to do this in ways that harness the strengths and skills of everyone.

Leadership is not about hierarchy. It’s about ensuring we have an environment that enables people to act and to thrive. In recent months we have been holding conversations about the type of leadership we need in Greater Manchester. What are our expectations of a GM Leader – wherever they are in the city region? We’ve also been exploring existing activity to support leadership development. There is a vast array already out there. It’s not our intention to replace this. We want to add value to what’s already there – as well as influence and shape existing activity where it may directly support delivering our ambition. Our approach is based on dialogue, on openness. But it’s also about action – about connecting the learning to the doing. Delivering on our ambitions through devolution means addressing huge challenges: How do we ensure parity of esteem between mental and physical health? What works to break generational worklessness at pace and scale? How do we meet the targets we’ve set ourselves by delivering change in all parts of the city region? How do we achieve new models of public services based on new relationships between citizen, state and society at the same time we are seeing significant reductions in, and changes to, public sector funding?

The GM Leadership Framework will be providing opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding whilst at the same time tackling these, and many other, vital issues. And, in doing so, we will further grow and develop as a community of GM Leaders. We really are Stronger Together.

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