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Njoki Yaxley

Njoki Yaxley

Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2014

National Housing Federation Fellow

Update Spring 2014

How did you find your first quarter as a Clore Social Fellow?
It’s been both the most challenging time ever in my life and also the most rewarding. I’ve been able to really dig deep into myself and build up and out of it. Sometimes I’ve been able to find out some the most wonderful, amazing things about myself that I’d forgotten about. Other times it has shown me when I’m operating outside of my comfort zone and it’s been interesting to see the reaction I’ve had. Overall however it’s been great and I can’t believe how lucky I am to be on this journey.

What has been your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge has been to discover what things push me out of my comfort zone.  For me it has been all about speaking up and taking part actively without having a plan for things.  In particular I recall a most shocking improvisation session where I somehow realized that I had a really good Spanish accent!  This took place on Friday at the end of a lot of mini tests and challenges to myself to speak out more with others. I’ve carried this learning home with me and now find it much easier to speak with heart and soul.

How has your leadership had an impact on those you work with?
My biggest change has been in how willing I am to start new conversations, some of which less than three months ago I would never have done or pushed forward. I’ve shared information relating to new forms of funding (social investment) and also been talking and doing an ‘informal’ chats with various team members to test ideas for a potential bid to the Clore Prize fund.

In what way are you a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
I think that what’s changed most for me is how I’m more focused on what I do in any given moment. I feel that I am more aware of why I am doing things and what bigger purpose is behind them. I’m more of a critical friend both to myself and in the work that I do than I’ve been before.

I feel I also know myself better and have explained this to people - which has helped me in my interactions with them. I like to be organised and love to plan (something I learned especially from the 360 degree feedback Four Seasons profiling). I think that sometimes this makes it hard for me to interact with people who work differently.

I’ve deliberately chosen to put myself in contact with these types of situations and noticed how I’ve felt about them.  So far, I’ve noticed that whilst it’s been scary- that overall the outcome has been far more positive and I’ve managed to do things that I was perhaps avoiding. I think this has made me a better leader.

Tell us an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during the Fellowship programme
My biggest lesson has been about the importance of listening. This was reinforced at my first full day of Action Learning and also through reading the book ‘More time to think’. I’ve applied a lot of the questioning and listening techniques in both personal and professional situations. In a recent professional situation, it was great to speak to someone who came to me with a problem. Through just listening and when appropriate raising good questions - we found a solution that worked and was simple. Moreover, she was able to apply it quickly. 

Twitter: @NjokiYaxley

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)

Contact us
0207 812 3770
5th Floor, Kings Place, 90 York Way
London, N19AG
info@cloresocialleadership.org.uk

Charity: 1136727
Reg: 7222275
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