Leadership Stories

 

Bridgend College

Explain why your organisation invests so strongly in developing the leadership skills of your employees and volunteers?
We recognise that a great College needs great leaders who can create and shape organisational culture.  Culture is too important to be ‘left to chance’ and we believe that by investing time working with and coaching current and aspiring leaders across the organisation, we will build a sustainable culture which will serve generations to come.  We recognise that by investing in leadership development, we are enabling leaders to grow the capability of others across all levels of the organisation.  The return on such investment is an enduring culture which yields sustained results.

What are the key values that underpin your organisational concept of leadership?
We believe in an inclusive ‘people centred’ style of leadership, where leaders take time to listen and understand the needs and aspirations of individuals they lead.   As leaders, we encourage employee voice, holding a strong belief that people closest to the work have the best ideas and solutions.

We promote a ‘growth mindset’ and empower people to stretch and develop themselves, to ‘be all they can be’.   We work hard to create and maintain a non-judgemental, blame free culture where people feel safe to challenge and experiment with new ways of working.

What are the priority leadership skills and attributes your organisation is aiming to develop in others?
Our culture is one of high support/high challenge. We recognise that respectful relationships are fundamental to success and that people’s behaviour can be complex.  One of our priority areas is equipping leaders with the ability and confidence to challenge others in a way that strengthens relationships and leads to higher levels of engagement and performance. Additionally, we want to equip Leaders with enhanced skills around partnership working, innovation and creativity so that they are able to come up with creative solutions which support us to sustain our College.

What do you think are the biggest leadership issues facing Wales in 2018?
Keeping staff engaged in times of austerity is increasingly challenging.  Reducing budgets and increased student choice means that now, more than ever, we need to ensure we fully leverage the skills and capability of all our staff, so as to ensure great student experiences and outcomes.

Although a well-used phrase, staff really are our greatest asset and the biggest leadership challenge is finding the most effective ways to support, empower and enable people to ‘Be all they can be’.

Viv Buckley, Simon Pirotte, Bridgend College

Gower College Swansea

Explain why your organisation invests so strongly in developing the leadership skills of your employees and volunteers?
The College’s Strategic Plan emphasises that staff are our greatest resource and therefore we will invest in the skills, tools and support to empower our people to be excellent. We recognise the vital role played by our leaders and managers in developing a productive, enthusiastic, and contented staff that delivers a high quality and responsive educational experience for all our learners. We particularly value specific leadership skills that help to manage change as the College grows and invests in new areas, and that meet the challenge of innovation while maintaining the core culture of the College.
What are the key values that underpin your organisational concept of leadership?

The College has a set of core values that underpin all of our work, including our approach to leadership. These values include:

  • Ensuring that learners are central to everything we do is our key rationale and essential for all College leaders to demonstrate constantly.
  • Operating as a single college team. The introduction of the college’s leadership competencies has led to a consistent view of good leadership across an ever increasing College.
  • Celebrating success. The leadership team constantly acknowledges and rewards the successes of our learners, staff and the college.

What are the priority leadership skills and attributes your organisation is aiming to develop in others?
Our Leadership and Management Competency Framework is built on what we believe to be are the key competences for a ‘Gower College Swansea leader’ to demonstrate and reflects on both the core values and strategic priorities for the College as well as the opportunities that we face as an organisation.  The Framework describes the skills and behaviours that underpin the College’s ethos and culture, and at the same time, College leaders are encouraged to be innovative and to work with a range of stakeholders to support the wider training needs of the communities that we serve.
What do you think are the biggest leadership issues facing Wales in 2018?
The biggest leadership issue is the requirement for new leaders – with strong values, an ability to develop a clear vision for their organisation and the character, determination, and skills to take their staff with them on the journey to delivering this vision – and this is why we developed this programme.

Kay Morgan, Cath Williams, Gower College Swansea

NHS Wales Finance Academy

Explain why your organisation invests so strongly in developing the leadership skills of your employees and volunteers?
We came to the realisation as Directors of Finance in NHS Wales around 4 years ago that we had underinvested in the leadership capacity and capability of our finance staff and function resulting in difficulty in recruiting to senior positions with only very few examples of staff having the requisite skills to take up senior leadership positions.

We formed the NHS Wales Finance Academy as the vehicle to develop our talent pipeline and enact our ambition for finance staff and the function to be valued, feel valued and to add value to NHS Wales through personal leadership that applies to all.

What are the key values that underpin NHS Wales Finance Academy’s concept of leadership?

We have researched best practice into the key values that should be inherent in the best of financial leadership at Finance Director level and believe that these should apply across the breadth of the finance function. These include
Honesty & Integrity
Independence / Objectivity
Ethical / Moral compass
Passion and Inspiration
Curiosity and Innovation

Our aim is to cultivate and encourage these values through the breadth of our development programmes.

What are the priority leadership skills and attributes your organisation is aiming to develop in others?
The key focus for NHS Wales is to drive value for the Welsh population to ensure we provide services that deliver the best health outcomes for patients at the lowest possible cost.

To achieve this we need to think, act and lead like a connected system which can be challenging when many parts are fragmented. It takes a special kind of leadership to drive collaborative transformation within and across organisational working. We believe the role the Finance Academy is playing in developing approaches to Value Based Healthcare, developing system thinking and leadership plays a vital role in addressing this challenge.

What do you think are the biggest leadership issues facing Wales in 2018?
Wales is going through a period of significant economic uncertainty. The population are looking for confidence and optimism for the future which at present isn’t evident. We need brave, empowering, connected and authentic leadership to help steer the country though these difficult times.

 

Rebecca Richards and Andy Butler, NHS Wales Finance Academy

Principality Building Society

Explain why your organisation invests so strongly in developing the leadership skills of your employees and volunteers?
There’s the age-old adage that our ‘people’ are our greatest asset…but it’s how leaders lead that unlocks the potential of our people and sets us apart.   The role of leadership is key to us continuing to transform our business and giving the best to our members.  Most people would agree with the principle, but it’s so easy to overlook or get wrong.

What are the key values that underpin Principality’s concept of leadership?
We think it’s essential to have a clear picture of what a great leader looks like at every level of leadership, from the newest first line manager, through to our CEO; and this includes giving clarity on the behaviours, mindset and skills needed at each level.

Underpinning all of this is our business wide values of Being Courageous, Taking Ownership, Delivering with Passion, Doing the Right Thing and Making it Straight Forward.

What are the priority leadership skills and attributes your organisation is aiming to develop in others?
Arguably there’s never been a more complex time to be a leader!  The expectations of both our members and our colleagues are changing constantly.  Developing leaders who can understand the bigger picture, and then lead both themselves and their people through these fast-moving times is key. We’re providing a rich blend of different development options to help people progress and prosper in their career and their life.

What do you think are the biggest leadership issues facing Wales in 2018?
Developing authentic leaders who are passionate about people, can lead through change and build resilience in their teams to be flexible and adaptable is key.

Rhian Langham

Suzanne Sweeney