Who do you think you are?
Last Wednesday, I went to a development day organised by The Clore Leadership Programme at the BBC in Llandaff. It’s ten years on from when I embarked on my own leadership journey with the programme as the first Fellow from Wales and it was quite something to reflect on how much has changed in that time. The experience has had a profound impact on my life and work, causing me to look back and wonder how I could have done without it. But at the time, I was on my own. At least, there were no other Fellows within 200 miles of me. So the ability to process what I was going through and to start to share the thinking was a challenge. Gradually, others went through the same experience and now, excitingly, we have a network of thirteen Fellows and a wider group of over a dozen that have been through similar experiences. We can actually work together to create change, support each other and share our ideas. Okay, so what? What’s the big deal? And if you’re such a leader, why aren’t you running anything that I’ve heard of? Like the National Theatre or something? A lot of people shy away from thinking what they do has anything to do with leadership. Others think that what they already do – especially telling other people what to do – is the best definition of leadership. Others are sceptical and wonder why we should even discuss it. My answer to this is that the old ideas of how we organise and inter-act with each other are now so fundamentally transformed and out-of-date that we need to better understand how we can have impact and influence. While command and control approaches to leadership are dying, if not completely dead, it is also all too easy to feel small and at the mercy of external forces. Leadership is not the same as management and not synonymous with being in a role where you have an executive responsibility. If we want arts and culture to be relevant and have a sustainable impact on people’s lives, we need to think and act differently. It is why I am so excited about starting a new journey – ten years on – with the Culture lab cohort and the twenty individuals who will soon be part of it.