Staff participate in the Common Purpose Streetwise leadership programme
Fri, 08 Nov 2019

Five aspiring leaders from a diverse range of teams across the council had the opportunity to participate in the Common Purpose Streetwise programme.

Ben Kirby, Mark Grimes, Rachel Schleicher, Sam Matthews and Emma Greensmith, all participated in the immersive three-day programme, held in Birmingham.

Participants of the programme were challenged to reflect on their core values and how these influence their leadership style while exploring their ability to be flexible in order to work more effectively with others.

Mark Grimes, senior environmental control officer, said: “I applied to attend Common Purpose Streetwise knowing very little about it. I had recently been appointed as the senior officer of a small team and the council-wide email from chief executive Caroline Lacey seemed to describe someone like me, who, as a new manager, wants to make a positive impact on the team and the council as a whole.”

The three-day programme was an intensive mix of discussion, visits and challenging group exercises designed to stimulate thought and increase emotional and cultural intelligence.

Facilitated group discussions, led by professionals from a range of sectors, encouraged participants to challenge their own assumptions and share experiences of overcoming personal and professional challenges.

Participants had the chance to select visits to organisations across Birmingham, gaining fresh insights into unfamiliar sectors and learning from the experience of leaders within those organisations about what leading with cultural intelligence means in practice.

Peer coaching sessions ran across day two and three, pushing participants outside of their comfort zone to explore personal challenges and reach a solution under the guidance of a skilled facilitator, with support from other members of the group.

“I was privileged to have a great group, we went on quite a journey together exploring the problems we put forward,” said senior engineer, Ben Kirby, about his experience of peer coaching. “It was amazing how similar themes appeared during these open and honest discussions and I really valued exploring the root cause of the issues and being encouraged to come to my own conclusions via supportive guidance.”

Youth justice manager, Sam Matthews, said: “I really enjoyed the course and meeting different people from varied backgrounds. It gave me a really good understanding of how diverse teams are more innovative and the need to challenge. The experience took me completely out of my comfort zone and at times was quite emotional. This will hopefully enable me to be a more inclusive and collaborative leader.”

Rachel Schleicher, early intervention team manager, and Emma Greensmith, senior education health and care commissioning officer, both described how the skills and techniques learnt could be implemented within their own teams and shared as resources across the wider council.

All five participants were overwhelmingly positive about the experience and would encourage those looking to progress their leadership skills to take up the opportunity by participating in the next round of applications.

Should you wish to discuss the course in greater detail, contact Mark, Ben, Sam, Rachel or Emma, who will be happy to talk you through the application process and share their experiences of the programme in greater depth.

Watch out for the next Streetwise Programme, which will be held in Manchester, in May 2020, and will be publicised in advance across the council’s internal communication channels.


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