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Leadership belongs to everyone

My name is Serena Cecchinato, currently Operations Director at Give Us Time, a small military charity supporting Armed Forces families in need of rest and rehabilitation after suffering stresses and strains as a family unit.

I applied for the Cobseo Emerging Leader Programme after my Managing Director heard about the opportunity. At the time, the charity was going through some changes and adjustments which resulted in me having to take up more responsibilities in my role as well as managing a full-time member of staff. Back then, I took the opportunity more to benefit my organisation and my team rather than myself. I didn’t know it would be an extraordinary and life changing personal journey, as well as a professional one.

I think what a lot of people get wrong about “leadership” is that they consider it to be a skill to acquire, some magic wand you can buy along the way. What I have found thanks to the Programme is that everyone is a leader and leadership belongs to everyone; you just need to discover your own leadership style and in which situations you can put it to good use.

You just need to discover your own leadership style and in which situations you can put it to good use.

Even though all participants had different backgrounds, different years of experience and different paths ahead of us, the Programme created a safe environment where we could learn, grow and develop from each other. I found it enlightening to be able to share experiences, thoughts and ideas with peers from my sector. It was important to realise how people react differently to situations. With understanding comes the knowledge of behaving in a way that brings the best of everyone to the table.

With understanding comes the knowledge of behaving in a way that brings the best of everyone to the table.

Some people need to be reassured, others need to shine, while others prefer structures and deadlines. It’s about understanding your team and how the different personalities can work together at their very best, improving the efficiency and productivity of your organisation, as well as making the work environment a much better place.

It is also important to understand yourself and how you react to situations and others’ behaviours. Thanks to the Programme, I have understood that you need to be aware of yourself (the good, the bad and the really bad!) in order to be a good leader and inspire others.

The enthusiasm and skills the Programme gifted me with proved to be extremely important for my team and my charity as well. I took what I learned back to the office, discussed it with the team and involved our Board of Trustees as well; overall creating a breath of fresh air we are all benefiting from!

Since I have spoken so highly about my experience with Clore Social, my colleague is now taking the Programme as well! I am looking forward to seeing his journey now.

I also think that the Programme benefits our sector as a whole. Not only because we have created long lasting relations with our peers on the Programme, but because we are influencing our teams, our organisations and by extent: our sector.

I am so grateful I had this opportunity as I have learned so much about myself and improved so many aspects of my professional life as a result. I honestly cannot recommend the Programme more highly!

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