Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2014
National Housing Federation Fellow
How have the last few months been, Njoki?
This has been a very interesting quarter, one in which I feel that I’ve settled into my identity as a social leader. It has felt a lot more settled, whilst being relatively productive
What has been your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge has been overcoming some internal resistance to me being more outspoken outside of social housing circles. I’m very confident in my area of expertise, but I can see that any chance of helping further the cause of the social housing sector will be reliant on increasing collaboration in other sectors. My research project into how to build and increase links between health and housing has made this abundantly clear and I’m keen to grow more in this area.
How has your leadership been having an impact on those you work with?
My sense of awareness of my place and sense of leadership has matured since I started the Fellowship. I’m very clear about the passion I’ve got for the social housing sector and feel I can convey this more confidently. In particular, the work I’ve carried out in writing up the research piece into health and housing has received some very welcome remarks from a number of people. I’ve been pleased that the insights into emerging trends and recommendations have resonated so well with both health and housing professionals.
In what way you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
I’m a much better listener and a lot more calm. I’ve really taken to heart the Clore mantra ‘Be Yourself, Know Yourself, Look After Yourself! I’ve been more confident in setting out time to do the things that really matter and taking ownership for the things that I see we can do better. This in turn has helped me design a form of leadership that suits me, rather than waiting for an opportunity to arise.
Tell us about an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during the Fellowship programme.
The importance of foresight, and context! As many who work in the social housing sector will be aware, the newly formed government plans to extend the Right To Buy policy to Housing Associations. This has changed the operating context for many Housing Associations and brings to mind some of the work the Fellows did in our foresight and scenario planning seminars last year.
How have you been supported by your fellow Fellows?
I have been very inspired by my peers in my Action Learning Set. They encouraged and challenged my thinking and helped me create vision of what an innovatively funded Housing Association might look like. Normally I’d have thought of this but left it for a while, but they would not let it lie and I’m very grateful for that!
There are very few chances that we get in modern day life that allow us to listen with clarity beyond everyday clamour and chatter. As leaders - whether annointed or not - it is our duty to nurture and enable this and reach out to others in our community.
Current principal role: Governance and Risk Manager
Current principal organisation: Flagship Housing Group
Other leadership role 1: Mentor
Other organisation 1: Housing Diversity Network
Research: Going round the houses: How can health and housing forge better links and what might the benefits be?
Research topics: Health and well-being; Housing;
Secondment host: Reall (formerly Homeless International)