My First Eight Months…Reflections from Leading GM

My First Eight Months…Reflections from Leading GM

I was delighted when I was appointed to the Leading Greater Manchester (GM) Programme Director role. Since my appointment in January 2017, I have been continually struck by the enthusiasm, excitement, passion and commitment for the Leading GM offer from colleagues across Greater Manchester and beyond. There is a real belief in our common purpose, emergent approach and ‘learning as we go’ ethos. I have come to really enjoy working in an emergent and often ‘messy’ way. For me, it is much more fulfilling and brings better results for our people and communities, rather than always having our ducks lined up and taking a “top down” approach. Although I have to admit that it is still nice to sometimes have a few ducks lined up, particularly when planning events!

In 2016, 100 leaders from across each of the public services and voluntary sector were invited to join us in our quest to mobilise a community of leaders from across all sectors to help achieve the Stronger Together ambition to improve the lives of local people. It’s not just about leading people, it’s about leading projects and ideas based on the needs of our people and communities. Anyone can be a leader.

As well as helping individuals with their personal development, the Leading GM programme has helped us build a fantastic network of knowledgeable people who are passionate about improving the lives of Greater Manchester communities, and are determined to make our region one of the best places in the world to live, work and learn. Our second programme is now in full swing with a third cohort to follow in autumn 2017.

Bespoke Leading GM – Tailored to the Needs of People and Place

Building on our success, we are now supporting Greater Manchester Moving to put together a series of bespoke Leading GM events tailored to their specific needs. Where appropriate, we are also working with other colleagues across Greater Manchester to take a similar approach within their locality, sector, or functional work team.

Leadership Skills – with a Difference!

Our programmes are not traditional leadership training courses. They are bespoke, tailored programmes of activity that help individuals and teams to make a real difference in their area of work.

Our Leading Greater Manchester programme adopts a place-based approach. Put simply, this means that we support people and teams to make a difference in their “place” – whether that place is a geographical location or a specific field of work.

Leading GM Next Phase

We will shortly be inviting nominations for the next Leading GM programme. Participants will be expected to work collaboratively with a range of colleagues within their locality on a place based challenge which will demonstrate a clear and tangible difference for the citizens within that place. The place based challenges will be the main focus of the programme with a range of development activities wrapped around to support this.

The programme will take an asset based approach to personal and place based development by focusing on the strengths and assets the team brings to the challenge, as well as the strengths and assets of that place. Nominations will be actively encouraged from anyone who could make a tangible impact on the place based challenge. Encouraging diversity and enabling greater levels of inclusion will continue to be key considerations for any nominations.

Insights and Principles for Success

I find myself having many great conversations and working as a social leader, along with continuing to occupy the more traditional space when appropriate to do so. In all of these conversations, I have also found myself using many of the same phrases to reinforce what we are learning to be the key principles to the success of Leading GM….enabling it to become a true place based offer and for us to be true place based leaders:

  •  Model the change we want to see…so others start to pick up the subconscious cues and behave in a similar way.
  • Meet people where they are…understand what it takes to transform places.
  • Take a true place based approach…to help enable others to ‘Lead from Place’.
  • Truly recognise and value the strengths of others…don’t judge, be generous, show forgiveness and value differences.
  •  Recognise that our people are our best assets…we don’t need to look for others to tell us the answers.
  •  Ask “Who isn’t around the table and part of this conversation who needs to be?”
  •  Help leaders to work on their “being” as well as their “doing”…different thinking and a mind-set shift brings different outcomes.
  • Start somewhere and follow it everywhere (ref: Myron Rogers).
  • Build trust…a genuine interest in people, places and communities needs to come before our own self-interest.
  • Develop as social leaders…stepping into the traditional leadership space as appropriate and encouraging mutual respect.

I have been on an exciting and fulfilling journey in my first eight months, I am wholeheartedly embracing the next phase to support leaders and communities to be the best they can be. For me, there is no better place to live, work and learn than in Greater Manchester.

Rita Evans
Leading GM Programme Director
August 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *