Resources Article

Discover Diaries: Gemma Wright | Week Three

In partnership with Clore Social, we’re delivering our pilot ‘Discover’ programme in Spring 2019: a four week online introduction to leadership. As part of this, we invited participants to keep ‘Discover Diaries’ – thoughts, insights and ‘notes to self’ about this new learning experience.

Gemma Wright: Week Three

Week three of the Clore Leadership Discover Programme focused on how we as leaders work with and through others. My goal for this week was to consider myself as a leader within my team, and what the impact of effective leadership means for the people I work with and the aims we have.

There are 5 key things that I have taken away from this week, which became clear to me during our reflection task.

  • Social connection is key!
  • Helpfulness is a core part of successful teams;
  • A strong sense of renewal is vital;
  • Ensuring team alignment on direction and vision;
  • Understanding our collective development as a team.

Some of this is already a large part of my leadership approach (so it was good to have that approach validated!) but mainly it was important to remember that we can’t succeed in isolation, and the effectiveness of a team should come from our collective reflection and on-going evaluation.

Sometimes you find yourself enlightened by the most obvious things. This week’s TED talk Forget the Pecking Order at Work by Margaret Heffernan, spoke about the importance of social capital; of investing time in getting to know each other to ensure bonds, loyalty and trust. She states that when these things are in place a team’s energy and imagination are liberated, that conflict can exist as candour is safe. None of this is new information, but understanding the impact of a team’s social connection and collective restoration is something I will prioritise moving forwards.

This week challenged me to consider ‘smart collaboration’. In this weeks podcast resource Collaborating Better Across Silos by Heidi K. Gardner, she discusses the importance of integrating specialist expertise within a team. I realised that in our team at Camden Arts Centre this is part of our focus on partnership working; we understand our limitations and celebrate specialist knowledge and experience, and work collaboratively with external organisations to achieve our aims. The ‘team’ in these instances are broader, and not tethered to just one institution.

I was inspired by our live classroom session. It was wonderful to connect with the other cultural leaders on the programme and discuss our learning, and how we planned to apply this in our roles. In a week based on how we work with others, this connection was well timed and relevant.

I am going to share this week’s learning with my team. We have an away day next week, which is well timed after this week’s reflection and I’ll ensure those 5 points above form part of the day!

Read Gemma’s Week Two Discover Diary here.

By Gemma Wright, Head of Education, Camden Arts Centre

Themes Alumni Journeys Qualities of Leadership