Type of Fellowship: General
Year of Fellowship: 2011
Update October 2012
During the last three months my secondment has enabled me to reflect on my own approach to leadership by absorbing and learning from another leader’s presence, influence and impact in another organisation. After a challenging period of upheaval and uncertainty in my own organisation (due to grants coming to a conclusion, operational adventures into the unknown and a community of beneficiaries demanding by their vulnerability), my secondment feels like such contrasting calm it is almost like being on a fast treadmill that suddenly stops and upends the runner onto the floor in an ungainly heap. Through this window of calm, I have discovered my concentration has been whittled away by constant interruption to that of a fidgety midge and my sense of pace has been badly warped so that anything less than crazy pressure feels inadequate.
Being in another organisation that is over 100 years old provides a glimpse of what my organisation might look like in a few decades’ time, and a greater sense of the scale of the leadership task in a start-up organisation. I have now spent almost half of the history of my organisation undertaking a Clore Fellowship, and the leadership journey of my Fellowship is inextricably linked with the journey of my organisation: both have brought new experiences and growth. The ending of my Fellowship has prompted me to think more about how, and when, I might move on from my current organisation, how to prepare it for someone else to take the reins and how to prepare myself for a different leadership role.
I’m now quite sure that I’m not made to lead a calm, smooth organisation like the one I am seconded to, but in turn this makes me wonder what kind of retirement awaits leaders who have become addicted to passion. Perhaps I can develop my next social enterprise, a retirement home for feisty old social leaders committed to change to their last.
Personal website/ blog: comas_scotland.silvrback.com/
Current principal role: CEO and Founder
Current principal organisation: Comas
Research: Keep the Vital Spark - burn out in lifeline services in the third sector
Research topics: Health and well-being;
Secondment host: Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council