ON LEADERSHIP AND BEING A COUNCILLOR
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Councillors play a vital role in the town. For those that may be unfamiliar with what they do please see the below under roles and function of all Councillors. Above and beyond these duties, I have my own view on what a Councillor means and how leadership plays a key part of it.
Roles and Functions of all Councillors:
(i) Collectively be the ultimate policy-makers and carry out a number of strategic and corporate management functions; (ii) Represent their communities and bring their views into the Council’s decision-making process, i.e. become the advocate of and for their communities; (iii) Deal with individual casework and act as an advocate for constituents in resolving particular concerns or grievances; (iv) Balance different interests identified within the ward and represent the ward as a whole; (v) Be involved in decision-making; (vi) Be available to represent the Council on other bodies; and (vii) Maintain the highest standards of conduct and ethics.
As Operations Director of the Stockvale Group, I have come to understand just how important leadership is and the difference good and poor leaders make upon the outcome of any given situation. One of the reasons I am standing is that I believe my experience in the leadership of thousands of people over the years, has taught me much about inspiration, motivation, communication, strategy, tactics, tough decisions and people. And whilst I recognise that my learning will always continue, I have reached a point where I feel I am able to offer Thorpe Ward real life experience of supporting the wellbeing of a community of people, whilst bringing them together through passion and belief in a greater future.
Politicians as Leaders
Many I am sure would disagree, however, I hold the view that Politicians are perhaps better represented by the term Leaders. So when I stand for the position of Thorpe Councillor, to my mind I am standing for the leadership of the Ward.
I have a great passion surrounding the subject of leadership and have read endless amounts of literature espousing different styles. Through my studies and learning opportunities (otherwise known as mistakes) over my career, I have come to practise one form of leadership above all else, and that is Transformational Leadership. It is a style that has proven highly effective throughout the organisation I help to run. Central to this style is an overriding vision, mission and culture, which has to be carefully and relentlessly cultivated over time. Our business is physically and mentally challenging with issues that include health & safety, efficiency, operations, customer service, maintenance and people management; and it takes a very special effort to keep everyone heading in the same direction. I am incredibly proud of our leaders, and it is no accident that they are as proficient as they are. I should say that many organisations follow this style, and that I do not lay claim to its inception. The purpose of discussing this is to clarify my views for you as the voter, as I deem leadership as the fundamental issue to being a successful Councillor - or not.
While Transformational Leadership centres around a vision, Pragmatic Idealism specifies the ambition of the vision and whether it is possible. In other words, it is visualising the best possible future, then working out the most realistic path in getting there.
Impossibilities that Ignite Inspiration and Aspiration
I have, however, found an abundance of people riddled with cynicism, pessimism and mockery when talking about bringing about an idealised view of the world. People that stand at the side-lines salivating at the slightest indication of perceived failure - and this mentality is quite infectious. I have been afflicted by people like this and it can weaken the will. Many I have seen succumb to the laughter and with it the evaporation of their self-belief. Those that talk in ideals can come across to others like dreamers, but that is what leadership is all about. It is the achievement of so-deemed impossibilities that ignite inspiration and aspiration!
The 4 Questions
So I practise Transformational Leadership and am philosophically a Pragmatic Idealist, and through this emerge 4 questions that underpin a framework that I believe can apply to most situations of leadership: Where are we going? How are we going to get there? What milestones are we looking for to ensure we are on the right path? And what mentality should we all share to ensure we all make it together? It is easy, but it is not simple.
Desired End Result
This frame work is the foundation, but only the start. There must be a driver of the vision, mission and culture who can communicate with the greatest passion, and inspires all that are non-believers to get on board. They must be somebody that embodies a particular set of values that include empathy, compassion, understanding, kindness, caring, community, integrity, humility and humanity to name but a few. They must be able to stimulate endless number of workable ideas from as many sources as possible. They must be tough enough to make the big calls when needed, but of course done with great care and respect. They must be understanding towards the individuals they are leading, recognising and respecting the differences between us, whilst bringing out the best in us. They must create a society that rewards goodness as well as greatness, to shine the brightest light on those silent achievers who change the world for the better: nurses, teachers, chaplains, police, social workers, carers, volunteers, parents and so on. And ultimately they must ensure they are always striving to reach the desired end result: the vision. I want you to know that I strive for this in my leadership every day, and I hope to serve Thorpe Ward in the same way.
Leaders of Thorpe Ward
So this is leadership to me, and in normal circumstances such as in business, this would be enough of a framework to ensure likely success. However, politics is so strangely different. Democracy, while brilliantly effectively in slaying potential despots and tyrants, yields a whole other set of consequences. Namely, the need to get the votes through the election process!
To become a Thorpe Councillor, or more accurately, one of the Leaders of Thorpe Ward and the town, I do need your vote. Not the standard rhetoric I know, but I am not a Politician. I am a Leader in business, and I simply want what is best for our town now and in the future.
Click here to read how I might apply this framework to the leadership of Thorpe Ward.