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Gareth Dix

Gareth Dix

Type of Fellowship: General
Year of Fellowship: 2014

Update Autumn 2014

How have you found the last quarter?

This quarter allowed for a ‘slight’ slowing down from a very busy winter and spring period. During this time period I prioritised family and rest time particularly with a visit to West Wales.

In between this I worked with The Engine Room in Cornwall, promoting social enterprise and speaking at a filmed ‘chat show’ networking event. I also performed and spoke about social enterprise and music at a number of festival events. This included being invited by BBC radio 2 to work with Clare Balding at the Greenbelt Festival in Northampton. I performed 4 songs live on BBC radio 2 with The Claze and was honoured to share the stage with Mpho Tutu, daughter of Bishop Desmond Tutu and leader of the Tutu Legacy foundation.

I have used August and September to search out a secondment, I would very much like this to be with Fifteen, in Cornwall, the organisation pioneered by Jamie Oliver training out-of-work young people into top chefs working in high quality restaurants.

What has been your greatest challenge?

I have dealt with some issues of conflict. In one case I acted as an intermediary where the conflict was successful resolved using a combination of relationship management, simplifying complex messages, providing perspective, and organising open and honest debate from a neutral setting.

I recognise that in some cases, and if handled well, relationships can be stronger following conflict. I have also learned a valuable lesson in ‘over-transparency’. This is a great strength but can also result in issues if discretion is not applied to context. I have taken steps to correct a misjudgment I made and have captured my feelings from the experience so I can apply it to personal development and becoming a better leader.

How has your leadership had an impact on those you work with?

I have had to have grace and integrity where I’ve been asked for trust when handling conflict, and in handling some difficult conversations. However I have received subsequent feedback, that when I disagree it somehow comes across as "a very agreeable disagreement” I thought that was positive.

I also had to show courage. When I spoke and performed live on BBC radio 2 to millions of listeners with social enterprise The Claze, the other members of the band reassured me that my courage and confidence in my ability was a good leadership trait that inspired their following. I realise from this and other similar times that courage is not the absence of fear. I was afraid…I just managed it ok.

In what way are you a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship? 

My self confidence is improved; I still have some way to go. I occasionally hide it well. I continue to work on self discipline.

I had excellent feedback from Clore Fellows at the Nottingham residential. The common themes included ‘being an energy giver’, ‘boiling messy-ness into simple and understandable clarity’, ‘being authentic and a strong holder of personal space’, ‘relationship builder and wisdom carrier’.

I surprised myself by having improved resilience in a difficult issue, in the past this could have knocked the wind out of my sails, it didn’t, alternatively and in consequence I recognised the depth of learning and am applying a different approach.

Tell us an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during the Fellowship programme.

Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, from the Pears Foundation, taught me at the Nottingham residential that I can lead without authority. The outpouring of leadership in today’s society takes many forms, and sometimes the most effective leadership is not always in the most traditional hierarchical models.

Rabbi Shoshana reminded me of the wonderful story of Esther from biblical texts, this led me to re-visit these stories, particularly the story of Aaron who held up the arms of Moses and spoke for him at court. This resonates with me. I try to hold up the arms of a number of change makers.

This also connected me to one of my 3 leadership courage trait’s from my coaching sessions with Mark Thompson "the jester will use humour and pictures to paint a moment of truth…a joy filled wisdom and strength that brings with it followers… resulting in a valued place at the royal court”. 

What have you learnt from your fellow Fellows?

I enjoyed spending time with Gemma during our workshop on conversation during the Nottingham residential. I enjoyed getting to understand her values, which I believe came out in her penitent and pertinent questioning.

I am thoroughly blessed and inspired by Sanjiv, he demonstrates an approach to relationships by deep open mindedness, he gives me the impression that he is often picturing what it is to walk in another’s shoes. It helps me approach and challenge my own judgments and assessments of others.

I was grateful to many Clore fellows who saw me as a ‘mentor’ during an exercise on ‘managing your brand’. I haven’t easily seen this trait in myself but it’s something I need to consider - it was a strong observation from other fellows.

How would you describe your leadership journey so far?

Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand’s inspired notion of leading without authority seems slightly at odds with traditional thinking. However I think I have come across an accurate definition of one of the leadership methods I naturally effect, and adopt.

The Engine Room Social enterprise chat show - July 2014 (top), and performing live on BBC Radio 2 from Greenbelt music and faith festival, with Rev Mpho Tuto and presenter Clare Balding in background -August 2015.

 

 

Twitter: @ghdix

Current principal role: Lead Health and Well Being
Current principal organisation: Tempus Leisure
Other leadership role 1: Founder and trustee
Other organisation 1: Exhale (CIO and CiC) and social enterprise band The Claze
Other leadership role 2: Director
Other organisation 2: Healthwatch Cornwall
Other leadership role 3: Coach, author, blogger, presenter
Other organisation 3: HealthyLeadersUK (developing)

Research: “Playing in the same team for a healthy active society?” A qualitative localised investigation into the relationship between councils, their public health departments and providers of public leisure, sport and physical activity in financially challenging times.
Research topics: Health and well-being; Leadership; Public sector;
Secondment host: Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall

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