Collective leadership
Collective leadership

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Collective leadership

3.2 Collective leadership in practice

You will now hear about real examples from two leaders in the voluntary sector. One is Ellie Garraway again, and the other is Clare Walton, who is a Chief Executive Officer of a charity. They both talk about collective leadership and the more ‘mundane’ leadership practices that they, and other people around them, use. These practices ensure that relationships are strong, and that individuals in the organisations – leaders and followers – are fully engaged to make a difference.

Activity 5 Collective leadership and the mundane

Timing: Allow around 15 minutes
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Skip transcript: Video 5 Ellie Garraway

Transcript: Video 5 Ellie Garraway

ELLIE GARRAWAY
There has to be an individual element to it. People have got to be accountable for their areas. But I think our natural style probably inside the organisation is bringing subgroups of people together to look at particular things. So we have a little working group that looks at impact, for example. It's not just one person's job.
We have a working group that look at marketing. Again, that isn't one person's job. Our team meetings are very lively. We're not afraid to challenge each others assumptions, and that is encouraged. So I think that our natural style is if there's an issue in the organisation, we approach it by talking it through with each other.
End transcript: Video 5 Ellie Garraway
Video 5 Ellie Garraway
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Skip transcript: Video 6 Ellie Garraway

Transcript: Video 6 Ellie Garraway

ELLIE GARROWAY
Definitely what I experienced when I first arrived was I was led in a way I would describe as quite protective. So there was a bit of sort of micromanaging, a bit of, oh, you're my member of staff. And so, I'll kind of keep you over here.
So there wasn't really that collaborative way of working. It was more like I will directly line manage you, and I will let you know what you need to do. There's no need for you to go and talk to those other people that are in this organisation particularly.
And although, at first, that was quite comforting and reassuring. It's like, OK. I've got somebody else who is taking accountability for everything, and they're going to tell me what to do, and I'll just do it.
But quite quickly, that became quite limiting. And so, probably without consciously making a decision to do so, I started to make more relationships with the people in the organisation. And through doing that, then became increasingly frustrated by being sort of over managed.
And so, I think that probably it did have quite a big influence on me then deciding how I would want to manage once I started to manage people. Well, listening definitely. I mean, I spend so much of my time on the telephone as we have a remote team.
So we don't all work in the same place as each other. But I feel like being available to listen to people is probably the most important thing I've got to offer. So listening without doubt, I think.
Yeah, the chatting, actually being interested in people's lives. For me, relationship is at the centre of everything. So if you haven't got relationships with people, I'm not saying you've all got to be best friends, because I don't really subscribe to that.
But there has to be a level of relationship there that you want to work with each other, that you can contribute to your team, and they can contribute back to you. And in order to do that, you've got to build something between you.
So yes, chatting to them about their lives, being interested in their lives, them being interested in yours, that isn't a performance, that's genuine. And I think that's really important to how people then feel about working where they work and being cared about.
I think humour is really important. I think being able to laugh with people, and not to take everything too seriously is really important. People have got to enjoy themselves.
So definitely listening, definitely chatting, definitely a bit of humour, those things are sort of bread and butter, I think of everyday as part of working life, and I think they should be.
End transcript: Video 6 Ellie Garraway
Video 6 Ellie Garraway
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Clare Walton talks about some of the practices employed at her charity which help forge strong working relationships.

Download this video clip.Video player: author="al22273" timestamp="20200219T103901+0000" content="<EditorComment>Clare to provide discussion text.</EditorComment>"
Skip transcript: Video 7 Clare Walton

Transcript: Video 7 Clare Walton

CLARE WALTON
I do chat quite a bit. I find that it's useful. It puts people at ease. It makes people feel relaxed. I think it can also have another interesting effect, which causes people to underestimate you.
I think I've begun to notice that if you appear to be chatty, to talk to some people it's that it's perhaps a sign you're not very serious, and that you need to be very serious in these types of roles.
But we, as a team, we have people who like to kind of talk and engage. And it's other sort of things like making sure that our work environments nice to be in. So someone came along the other day and had gone out and bought some flowers, and that quite often happens.
And there's biscuits, and making sure everyone's got a cup of tea, and those little things that, if one person's making a cup of tea, everybody is asked if they want a drink every time. Those things are really, they're important to me, and making sure everyone's got their own cup, everyone's got their own particular type of tea.
I think at one point, we actually had a kind of a colour chart of this is- If you're making someone a cuppa for the first time, this is what you need to think about.
End transcript: Video 7 Clare Walton
Video 7 Clare Walton
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Discussion

Now you have heard the different ‘mundane’ practices from Ellie and Clare, do you recognise these practices in your place of work? As potential leaders, do you recognise these practices in yourself?  What is your view with regards to the limitations of these shared collective leadership practices?

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